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How To Read For Kids With The Word Graph
Language Arts For Kids
Reading for kids made easy when graphing words for kids with fun language arts activities, Elliot and myABCdad Learning for Kids.
In this activity, space is provided to record a meaningful message, or indeed a page or two of text from a favourite story. You can write the text for them, with them or have them copy it. Then choose from eight common sight words – the, to, you, go, of, and, we, for – to find and count from within the text. Finally, graph the results.
What are sight words?
Sight words form a collection of words that appear often and are in many cases glue words. Although short and frequent, they can sometimes be a real challenge to read, or decode with sound knowledge. Lists of sight words available online vary, but most will include the eight words used in the Word Graph available for download.
Why is context important when learning to read sight words?
Sight words, although used a lot, do not inspire much linguistic magic. Activities that simply promote recall are not enough. To help avoid puncturing language interest, I chose to use a message from an Action Leaf written to Elliot. In this way, I can celebrate fantastic action he initiated as a way to dig deeper into the world of sight words, making it really sticky learning.
There are indeed a lot of words in my message, and at a Kindergarten age, more words can be overwhelming. Including text from Elliot’s Action Leaf, describing in detail how he helped his little brother in a caring, responsible way, helps Elliot move beyond a potential word traffic jam. In fact, he is now more likely to want more. In my years as a Kindergarten teacher, working with the glue or bits and pieces within whole, or at least segments of literature always became easier when there was rich context. In the case of the classroom, it usually came from a terrific book we were focussing on within a unit of study.
How do you set up language success with text that is meaningful, but has a wheelbarrow full of words?
In this video, to help set Elliot up for success with a message that has a lot of words, I start by reading the message to him from the Action Leaf. I then reread the same message presented on the Word Graph by pointing to words and tracing my finger along as I read. We read the sight words together before choosing each word to find, count and graph.
Giving eight words from which to choose helps add an element of choice, giving Elliot some sense of control over the activity. Choosing three words, one at a time to find and count, gives us an opportunity to revisit the text several times. For Elliot’s last choice, locating the word ‘the’, I invite him to trace words as I read. This gives him a chance to reflect on the tempo of reading – not too fast, not too slow, but at a steady pace. By the end of the activity, we have read a meaningful text using slightly different approaches five times. At no stage do I expect Elliot to read, but by cultivating repetition in such a way, over time his sight word recognition becomes stronger.
What are some other ways to give language learning for kids some flare and pizzaz?
Finding and circling words, keeping track when counting and graphing amounts, all gives Language learning some friendly Maths support. Elliot first chooses to find and circle the word ‘for’. I then read the text again and stop when we hear and see the word. We circle it, so that when finished tracing and reading the text, we can easily go back to count the number of times words appear. Crossing out as we go when counting, makes it easier for Elliot to keep track of what we have and have not counted. We only find two words, so keeping track in this case is a bit silly. But we do it anyways, because Elliot gets into the habit of doing it, helping promote greater accuracy and success when words appear more frequently. He now has a practised strategy to help avoid counting confusion, or counting words more than once.
Graphing it all then provides a rich way to compare amounts, or the frequency of words, visually. And in this format, the Word Graph is an elaborate bar graph, which is a staple in any Kindergarteners’ Mathematics diet. Using a variety of graphing approaches can also help revisit a text to explore different mechanics of language development. Next, have a look at the Word Size Graph and Letter Graph.
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