My 6 year old is so excited to read. With my oldest, I never really made a big deal about sight words. At 8 years old, his spelling might not be the best, but he learned all the standard sight words just through reading. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using this “organic exposure approach.” (I made that term up.) However, my 6 year old is loving this star chart.
The entire reason why I made this star chart was because I wanted to motivate my 8 year old to learn his multiplication tables. If he got to be bribed for learning, my 6 year old didn’t understand why SHE shouldn’t get a few benefits as well.
For the past several months, she’s been loving the Elephant and Piggie series. I think she’s learning a lot of sight words just from reading this series with me. (I’m the elephant, she’s Piggie.) However, while she can usually read the sight words in context, she still sometimes has trouble when she sees just a single word on a page, even if it’s something as simple as “of.”
This sight word star chart has really gotten her thinking about how words are spelled. It has cemented in her mind certain common words so that she doesn’t have to spend extra brain cycles trying to decipher them.
I still don’t love the idea of forcing kids to learn sight words if it ever starts to kill their love of learning. It’s still more important for reading to be thought of as a fun activity than for kids to be able to read words off index cards. However, if your child thinks memorizing sight words using this reward system is fun, I don’t think it does any harm.
The way the chart works is that every time my daughter completes a row of sight words, she earns the reward at the end of the row. Before she can redeem her reward, though, she needs to show that she STILL remembers all the words from the previous rows. If she forgets any of those, I write them on a little post-it note and put them in the “probation area.” Then we wait at least 15 mintues and I have her show me that she can remember those words in order to take them off probation.
My daughter just finished her first page today. We made oatmeal raison cookies for her reward. She’s already trying to see which of the sight words she knows how to read on page 2. I know she’ll be through them in no time!
Recommended Age Range: Elementary
Time Required: ~5 minutes
Cost: Free printable. Optional: A couple dollars for foil stars (with a bunch left over)
- Paper for printing sight word star charts.
- Foil Stars (optional: could also just put checks or draw happy faces)
- First, print the sight word star charts.
- Next fill out the rewards. You could use the same reward for each row or choose something different. For mine, I used a combination of food treats (such as candy and ice cream), media usage (like watching tv and playing on my tablet), and activities with a parent (like playing a board game or cooking). When my daughter completes the entire chart, I plan to give her $5 to spend on a toy. Do whatever you feel comfortable with!
In case you’re interested, I also made sight word multiplication star charts for my older child and alphabet star charts for my younger kids. Sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date. I should be posting the alphabet chart in the next few weeks!
Click here for more Sight Word activities and printables for kids.