Why use So Simple Sight Words?

teaching methods Sep 11, 2022
Flashcards with sight words on a desk

I created So Simple Sight Words inadvertently, to be honest. I minored in Spanish in college and taught curriculum in Spanish for a few years, and worked with many ELD students as well as print-deprived students in Title I Schools. I realized after about a decade in first grade that  I had to come at some reading and spelling learning from a more right-brained and whole-brained direction. (Reading is a primary left-brain skill.)

Because of my music background and training in various language acquisition theorists and ELD strategies, I kind of put these things together informally to help my students read and spell words that don’t always follow the rules or have meaning in sentences but will halt fluency and comprehension. (Think Asher, Dennison, Kodaly just for a basic start.) 

@sosimplesightwords Here's why I created So Simple Sight Words. #teachertok #backtoschool #sightwords #sightwordsarefun #storytime #teachertips #teacherstories ♬ original sound - Patty So, M.S.

By the end of my first year playing with this idea, my students had about 25 word cheers. The next year, as I was busy writing the manuals and copyrighting everything, I took in the other first grade classes and some special education students as well, and we worked up to 66, later years to 77, then to 90! I’d make up a short story on the board every day using the cheer words, and ask academic questions about the content on top of cheering the words. The students really enjoyed learning this way, and when we’d be reading, if they stumbled on one of the words, other students would begin humming the tune for the cheer or doing a hand motion that went with it. Because the word was “owned” by the student in more than one area of their brain, they could usually retrieve it! 

After the first formal year using the program(after filming it and writing the manuals) and the students were tested the next year in second grade, our school’s second grade reading scores rose by 27 points; the highest growth in our school district! The entire state’s growth was 7 points! 

Image from: San Diego Union Tribune August  17, 2005

At that stage, the district bought the program for all the primary grades in our district. 

So Simple Sight Words gives learners a chance to OWN these words to use in reading and writing by storing them all over their brains rather than in one small area in their left brain. 

So Simple–it’s word ownership, it helps with fluency, and it’s FUN! 

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.