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Multisensory Approaches to Learning Sight Words

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Multisensory approaches to early literacy creates active learning opportunities. It involves using our senses of sight, sound, touch, and kinesthetic action – and learning by doing is the most effective way to reinforce and retain learning. It also taps into a special needs child’s particular strengths and is a way of adjusting material for a child’s learning style. This approach also helps typical students who are beginning readers or those struggle with reading comprehension difficulties.

Why take a multisensory approach to sight words? By paring the visual word to the image, sight words becomes more than just seemingly arbitrary letters that represents sounds, it provides a context. A free resource from ABCteach.com provides a ABC: Dolch Nouns PDF that is easy to print and use immediately.

Store-bought sight-word flash cards and Popcorn words (words that are written on popcorn shapes) and Bingo games are fun ways to practice.

 

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Reading Rockets suggests using “manipulatives” such as sound boxes or magnetic letters help teach letter-sound relationships. Susan Jones of Resource Room/Team Prairie, LLC, has compiled a list of multisensory ways to learn sight words, using combinations of auditory, visual, tactile and kinesthetic modes that include Rhythmic Recitation; Air Writing; Closed-Eye Visualization; Blind Writing; Velvet Board; and Double Board.

Sound boxes are a visual way of isolating the phonemes in a word. It can be made with just pennies, paper and a pencil. Scholastic provides easy-to-follow instructions here. If creating your own sound box seems daunting, there are great kits, ready-to-use:

And there are many hands-on ways to learn and reinforce sight word recognition. Julie Van Alst of Make, Take & Teach, LLC packages a hands-on kit that teachers or parents can use appropriate tools to reinforce Dolch sight words.

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Included is a free sight word assessment for the Dolch 220 sight words to sight words flashcards (with categories such as “Words I Know,” “Words I Am Learning” to “Words I Will Learn”). Then providing multisensory activities, such as using Bendaroos and Play-Doh, children can “write” the sight words.

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Whether you buy your materials or make your own, teachers and parents have many tools to teach sight words…and make reading fun.

ABC Image courtesy of Maggie Smith at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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