Every year a fresh crop of Kindergarten students begin their quest for knowledge. Teachers and parents all over the country pour hours of effort into getting children to learn letters and eventually short words, and of course, later, they will sound out longer words and begin to read more. There are many ways to introduce children to letters and sight words, but short spelling tests may be one of the best ways to allow children to singularly focus on memorizing sight words.
Many educators out there seem to dislike memorization these days. However, it just makes sense that a certain amount of learning requires it, such as memorizing the multiplication table. There are certain things that can be absorbed somewhat indirectly, but many require good old fashioned memorization.
Kindergarten teachers, parents or homeschools could easily fit short spelling tests into their week. It is best to tie current books or themes into the spelling tests when possible so that learning can occur from a variety of angles. Simple words such as an, see, the, to, and the like are fairly easy to work into Kindergarten curriculum. The number of words per test can be limited to as many words as you think your students can learn in a given week.
There are a number of ways in which young learners can begin to recognize common words. One option is to have kids write words on a large whiteboard. Using their entire body to create words can often help children remember better. Instead of writing on a small piece of paper, they can write a huge “s” on a whiteboard and “feel” the letter as it is written. If the word is “see” the child can draw eyes next to the word to help them remember the word more easily.
Children can also play games to remember words. There are many kinds of games that can be played with a group of kids. For example, have all the children sit in a big half circle so everyone can see, and give a flash card to one child and ask them to hold it up. If the kids know the word, they can shout it out. Kids love any excuse to shout. This may be considered an outdoor game, however.
Another great option is to use one of the many resources online. This is great for quiet time too. Kids can login to a website to practice sight words with games or by straightforward practice. Some websites allow you to log scores by students. Teachers may be able to reward kids who practice by offering special privileges, stickers or small gifts.