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Learning sight words?

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My son is not a visual learner. He has trouble with his long and short term memory. He also has dysgraphia. Any suggestions for learning sight words? They are just not sticking with him. As well as his teen numbers and visual recognition.Thanks!

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My son had trouble with counting 11,12,13,14 into the first half of 1st grade, and sight words took a long time.


I happened to use Abecedarian Level b and liked it, he only worked on a few at a time, by pattern, and we did the high-frequency word lists.


But really I think a lot of things would work, it just takes time. He confused there/where/here for a long time but it is a lot better now.


Personally I would not stress those words too much if you are not also doing a reading program showing how to sound out words and use phonics. An awful lot of sight words can be learned that way.


If you are using a dyslexia program they might have some way they address sight words and maybe you like that way, or want extra practice.


My son did better with a mastery approach, but I have read that other kids like to do mixed review of 5 words a night. That is what is recommended in Overcoming Dyslexia.

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What is your boy up to currently, as far as reading with sight words goes?

(Is there a reason you chose sight-words over phonics for him) What are you using currently, how are you using whatever program you are using, etc.


What are his writing skills like? How does he do with things like letter tiles, to speed up the task of writing?


In general, I recommend doing 20 one-two minute sessions throughout the day, rather than one 20-minutue a day.

Play games with the sight words, use flash-cards of the sight words as pieces to various games. Print out letter tiles and practice spelling the words out with tiles. Do only one or two sight words at a time. Post them up where he can see them during snack time, brushing his teeth, playing with toys, when you come across his sight words during story-time, point out the sight words to him, later have him read his sight words. Write the sight-words in chalk on the sidewalk and play games on top of the sight words.


There are 101 ideas for sight words and a million ways to teach them, let him master a handful of sightwords and slowly introduce one or two more. Read his sightwords off of flashcards at bedtime between story books, in the morning during devotion. Let him fingerpaint his sight words, use fridge magnets to spell them in the kitchen. Make a few big print recipes and use his sightwords so that you guys can read a recipe and bake or cook together.

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I've just been reading WRTR and the Logic of English and was shocked to discover that expecting a dyslexic to memorize sight words is not recommended. I had no Idea that 98% of DOLCH words can be read when the students are taught phonics rules. Perhaps consider looking at a phonics based spelling program.

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I like that too, if you are using decodable text or only expecting words that they can decode (with reading together) then you don't have to worry about the sight words as much, you can do them as they come.


They are still important, but it is a different order where you don't try to just learn sight words as an extra or separate thing.


A lot of the words do follow a pattern, but not one kids learn early in phonics, and it can be really confusing to have a lot of words that don't follow the patterns kids are being taught.


I can say at one point I did math to figure out how long it would take my son if he could learn 3 sight words every two weeks, and it turned out he picked them up faster later on as he was getting more patterns, but at the time that was the speed he was going, with hard work. I had to say -- okay, better he learns them slow but really knows them so many months from now, than try to rush and have him not retain anything. (That was with learning them by pattern and coordinated with phonics.)


Anyway -- he does know them now!

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We never taught "sight words" as a PP mentioned 98% of all "sight words" are decodable with phonics training. We use Phonics Pathways. I liked the original version better as they did not suggest writing be attatched to the reading process. If you use the newer version then just ignore the writing prompts. We used Phonics Pathways, Reading Pathways and Bob Books only for my older two. Using that program they are now 13 and 11 reading at college level. With my younger two (less time to spend reading with them) we also do online reading after finishing the Bob Books Series (www.starfall.com and morestarfall.com). Just to show you that phonics is all that you'll need I just had my 6yo, who is just over half way though Phonics Pathways, do the Dolch Sight Words list for Pre-Primer, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. She missed 6 words total. My 8yo second grader, who is two thirds of the way though Phonics Pathways, didn't miss any.

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Use Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld. We finally started making some progress with that (my autistic son has a 3 year delay in reading caused by his PS's use of sight words/look-say method.) In fact, I would recommend all of Mr. Blumenfeld's books, several of which are addressed directly to homeschool parents or tutors who are helping kids with special needs. Whatever you do... DO NOT USE SIGHT WORDS! (Unless your aim is to make the dsylexia and dysgraphia worse)


Teaching cursive and phasing out printed handwriting (by requiring them to do work in cursive) helps with dysgraphia. If you have a kid just starting in handwiriting, go straight to cursive and skip the printing altogether.


try using a 3/8 or 1/4 inch graph paper for math work (helps align numbers, space correctly and teaches good writing/sizing of digits (1 digit per box) . Get an actual textbook for math so they have to write out the problems, that helps with memorization. Also consider math copywork.

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