I love the Fall, the time of year full of vibrant colors, cool breezes and an angle of the sun that seems to make everything glisten. I thought it’d be fun for kids to practice sight words with a Fall themed coloring activity. Click the following link for a free printable common sight words activity:
The apples contain common sight words for first graders. In this free printable, kids can read common sight words, spell each sight word out-loud and then color in the apples.
What are common sight words?
Sight words break phonetic rules. For example, they should really be spelled thay, there thair and would wood. The list of sight words goes on. There are about 120 sight words worth memorizing. With these common sight words, kids can break about 60% of the written code. According to linguist John McWhorter, most (nearly all) sight words are descended from Old English. Their pronunciations have changed, but their spellings haven’t. Thus, they are relics of the past.
Contrary to popular myth, even sight words contain pieces of the phonetic code. In fact, most common sight words only have one or two sound irregularities. For example, in the words above they is not totally irregular. The th is perfectly phonetic. The w and d in would are also phonetic. Since nearly all sight words have phonetic components, kids with learning disabilities can use their phonics knowledge to break these words too.
Teaching sight words to struggling readers
Thus, if you have a struggling reader who rapidly forgets sight words, I’d recommend diligently teaching phonics. With phonics sounds, struggling readers can learn to break the regular phonetic pieces of sight words. In this way, they can obtain clues to these seemingly erratic words.
In addition, if your students struggle with sight words, I’d also recommend using blocking and interleaving, something I discussed in my last post. These terms come from Cognitive Science. Blocking means introducing one skill at a time. With sight words, only introduce 2 to 4 new sight words at a time. Interleaving means weaving old content into new content. In this way, kids never become weak with old sight words.
Apple tree sight word activity
Since this common sight words activity involves an apple tree, it might be fun to talk about the history of apple trees with your students. Apple trees originated in Central Asia in Kazakhstan. They’ve been cultivated for thousands of years.
Did you know apples were once bitter? They were so bitter that colonists used them for apple cider, the only thing that was actually palatable. Settlers brought the first apples to North America in the 17th century. Eventually, people grew sweet apples, like honey crisp and pink lady, through a process called grafting.
Apple trees are a bit botanically strange. Their seeds are often so unlike their parents, farmers could never predict what sort of apple tree would come from a seed. This presented some problems. If a farmer wanted a sweet apple, he couldn’t simply plant a seed from a sweet apple. Instead, he’d have to cut a small bud off of an already mature sweet apple tree. Then he’d put the bud into a different apple tree, one that was very young. This young tree would then turn into a sweet apple tree.
I hope your first graders enjoy the free common sight words activity! I intentionally chose words that struggling readers often find challenging. Hopefully, this additional practice will help your students!
Reading Elephant phonics books
Reading Elephant offers systematic phonics books that teach kids decoding skills.