Happy NO – vember!

I always thought that the beginning of November was a perfect time to reinforce a few simple sight words.  After doing the calendar this month almost all children recognize the word ‘no!’  Check out my post from last November if you aren’t familiar with the poem/book – No green grass, no blue sky, etc.  We usually made that book on Nov. 1st.

I introduced this activity by giving each child a small piece of paper – about 3 x 4 inches, and asking half of the class to draw one thing they liked, and the other half to draw one thing they did not like.  Then I printed the sentence ‘Do you like’ and a question mark on sentence strips.  I also made some cards saying yes and no – which were the words I was trying to emphasize and reinforce.

yes and no

Then during whole group time I put one of the children’s pictures into the pocket chart, right after the words ‘Do you like’ and before the question mark.  Then we read the question as a group, I loved hearing the children make their voices go up at the end of a question!  I called on one child to come up and choose the word ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to answer the question.  Then I put another picture into the chart and called on a different child – this time asking him/her to read the question alone, and choose the answer.  I was sure to read the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ while showing the class those words because these were newer sight words.  After repeating this several times I demonstrated a booklet we would make, but I left out the materials for children to use at the reading center.

We made a simple little fold up sight word book.  I gave each child a page of clipart and we talked about which of these things we liked and which we did not like.

I put a dotted line ring around each picture to help children cut them carefully without cutting off any of the picture.  That was a skill I worked on all year, but inevitably many kids cut off half the picture if I didn’t give them a cutting guide.

Then I printed off this sheet and made a copy for each child.

Here is a printable link.

No and Yes

I folded this in quarters and made a small 4 page book.  If you wanted to give them more practice you could cut these apart and staple 6 or 8 together – or whatever you’d like.

Each child chose 4 pictures and glued one on each page.  I instructed them to choose 2 things they did like and 2 things they did not like.  After gluing on the pictures they answered the question by writing “yes” or “no” on the line at the bottom.



If you would like to differentiate for children who are more confident with phonetic spelling you could ask them to write the name of the picture they choose on each page.


The most important key to make this a meaningful activity is to listen to each child read his/her little book before sending it home.  Sometimes I called each child over to read it to me one at a time, other times I had the children bring them to a small group guided reading time and listened to each one read it, and listen to their friend read too.  I know it takes a lot of time to listen to each child individually but I think it makes a huge difference.  It also gives you information about the children.  You might notice if the child is able to point to each word, whether they remember the sight words in the question, if they do try to make it sound like a question, and if they remember how to write yes and no.  Of course you would get some of this information if they just turned them in for you to check, but I think it is important for children to understand that the reason we write something is so we can read it, and that we read to get a message from the page.

When the children created a book or booklet it usually had meaning for them.  I often had the words to projects in a pocket chart and we read and reread them as a group which helped them gain confidence reading.  Also I could made anecdotal notes about each child’s progress as they read to me.   There are so many ways to scaffold and guide children’s emergent reading.  Reader’s workshop, small group guided reading, and one on one reading are all important.  Just like any other skill – the more children read, the better readers they become.  They always love reading with a partner too!  Simple and quick to complete booklets like this give another opportunity to practice!


More Stuff About Sight Words

In a comment to my sight word post, Debbie asked what order I teach sight words.  I don’t think there is specifically a right order, but I always tried to provide a reason for the children to want to learn new the new word.  I started the year providing the words that they could quickly read in simple sentences.

I also tried to tie the sight words into what we were studying at the time.  As I said, I started with the word ‘I” along with our ME unit.  I think I included some action clipart pictures in my other Sight Word post –  they would glue those next to the word I and they could “read” I jump, I eat, I talk, etc.

Then we learned the word ‘see’ because we were also focusing on 5 senses, and the names of classmates.  It was a great tie in.

Next we learned the word ‘the’ – now they were able to read sentences that were a little longer, and also because that word is on almost every page we read in a book!

We learned ‘CAN’ early in the year also – along with ‘I’ and the action clipart they had different sentences.  I think being able to use the words in sentences was really reinforcing for the children.

you – we could do the same sentences we had done with I – now using ‘you’

me – I introduced soon after we did the sentences “I can see ________.”  I changed it around and put a child’s name first:  Megan can see me.  Jeff can see me.  Instead of using the other children’s names I would xerox copies of their photographs.  I used photocopied pictures of the kids a lot, I had to get permission from parents to photo their children.

is – I taught when we were doing the alphabet books – A is for apple

at – I taught when I was ready to introduce the concept of word families

go – with Transportation unit

it – I integrated into our morning message, along with to, and, are, at  – I sent these home early in the year

like and we  – I introduced in January with our Winter book – We Like Winter

no – I introduced during November

on – I usually introduced that soon after NO

said – I introduced before I had to do the first DRA or running record.  We added this to the Kdg. sight word list when when we realized that many children were not able to read at a level 4 because they repeatedly missed the word ‘said.’

I used to make lists on large chart paper in front of the class writing:

Timmy said “I like blue.”  Mikey said “I like yellow.”  Anna said “I like purple.”  It was really reinforcing for the kids to see their name – the word ‘said,’ the repetition of the same sentence form, etc.  I also introduced quotation marks.  Then I would cut the list apart and let every child take home his/her own sentence.  You could write the sentences about anything – just keep them simple – after Halloween – Bobby said “I was a ghost.”  You could also turn this into a class book by having the children illustrate their page.  After Thanksgiving you could make a list or class book about their favorite Thanksgiving food – or what they want for Christmas!   This activity was good as a short time filler when I had a few minutes at the end of the day or before specials, or as a quiet activity after lunch.

Another time I used this technique was when we made a graph and analyzed it.  After completing a graph I would usually ask the children – “What do you notice about the graph?”  Then I would write down what they said – using that sentence format – Lily said “There are more sunny days than rainy days.”  Sheri said “There are less cloudy days than anything.”  I would post their comments next to the graph.

I tried to introduce the 20 sight words that my children were responsible to learn in the first half of the year, of course we kept reinforcing them all year.  Then I added new words when they came up in a book we were making – or when I saw that my children were using a certain word a lot in their writing.

Here are some ideas for sight word games:

Sight word games

For sight word Memory I ran 2 copies of something like this:

sight word memory

Other times I would print the sight words on a shape like a fish or a mitten.  It was like a whole new game!

Sight Words

In my district Kindergartners were responsible for 20 sight words by the end of the year, although we usually exposed the children to many more.  Out of those 20 words, 10 words were called “never again” words – meaning they would never again be misspelled when the children used them in their writing.  These lists were cumulative, so 1st graders were responsible for our 10, plus their own lists.

Kindergarten curriculum has changed drastically over the years, even though children really have not changed much.  When I first learned that we were expected to hold children accountable for sight words I knew I needed to find a way to help children have fun and be successful.  Of course that meant I needed to use a puppet!

This is Calvin – what I like best about this Folkmanis puppet is that you can put both of your hands into his hands.  That means he can scratch his head, wave or gesture to the kids, hold things and you can even put one of his fingers into his mouth and tip his head down.  It is really fun!

I always tried to incorporate sight words into something we were learning to help the children make meaning and connections.  For instance – I introduced the word “I” at the very beginning of the year when we were working on our “ME” unit.  Next I introduced the word SEE – along with 5 senses.  With those 2 words, and photos of the children they could read simple sentences.  I see Megan.  I see Timmy.  Or you can put a picture of apples, or cats.  Then if you add the sight word “a” they can read “I see a (and you can put a picture of almost anything!)

Calvin would visit our classroom after the children had been exposed to a new sight word and most could recognize it.  He would come to talk about whatever subject we were learning, but he always made mistakes that the children loved to correct.  He would scratch his head and asked how they knew that, or if they were sure he was wrong.  Or hold his hands palm up and say “How do you know?”  Then he would tell them that he knew something he was SURE they didn’t know.  He would reach into his (doll sized) backpack and pull out the sight word.  Right away someone would say what the word was – Calvin was always amazed.

I printed the sight words on construction paper and sent them home, one at a time.  Along with the first word – usually “I,” I also gave each child a container  to keep at home and use to collect these words.  The letter I sent home explaining sight words gave ideas for how parents could use these cards to reinforce learning.  The containers I used were from our school lunches – when kids ordered “grab and go” yogurt, graham crackers, etc. – their lunch came in a clear plastic box that was hinged on one side – similar to fast food hamburger boxes.  You could just send home a 6 x 9 manilla envelope – or anything you can find, but giving them a place to keep the words encourages parents to collect them, not just throw them away!

Here are a few examples of how I ran off the words, it was easy to make a table and write in the words.


At this point in the year I did not have a word wall up, so after Calvin gave out a word I put it into a pocket chart.

Here are our words:

20 kdg sight words

sight and never again words letter

I learned that singing makes learning about anything easier for children.  We sang every sight word as we learned them.  Here are some ideas of tunes that work for most sight words:

One of the first words we sang – and repeatedly sang it all year was for the word “the.”  I used 3 Blind Mice – T – H – E,

T – H – E

That spells THE, that spells THE

Here are a few more songs:

spelling songs

When we were learning a new sight word I used it often, in the morning note I wrote to the children, in our daily work, and we looked for it in books we read.  We also usually made one of these sight word fold up books.  I would copy and fold these for each child, then we would read the phrase together.  I would also give them a sheet of clipart pictures that would complete the short sentence.  At the beginning of the year they just added the clipart picture.  Soon they were ready to phonetically label or fill in the rest of the sentence with their own writing.   After adding the clipart, and labeling if they were ready – each child read their little book to an adult and took it home.

I folded up this paper so each child would have 4 sentences with clipart when they were done.

I would cut this sheet in half, the children would have choices of things to finish their sentences.   Sometimes I gave them pictures with labels at the beginning of the year, before they were ready for phonetic spelling.   As the year progressed the sentences became a little longer, and included some of the words they already knew.

Here are some of the fold up sight word books we made.  This is just a sampling, obviously you could make sentences to include any words you are working on.  I also included a few of the clipart sheets I gave the children.  You could ask them to draw a picture but that changes the focus away from practicing the sight word a bit.   I learned it is very helpful to provide a dotted line around each picture for cutting.

Sight word foldup

Around January I usually put up a more traditional word wall, but I really didn’t want my room to look like First Grade, so I made large alphabet letters and glued logos on them as headers for the word wall.

One of my favorite things to do at the end of the day, when we were waiting for buses was a guessing game.  I would say – “I’m thinking of a word that has 4 letters and it is in the top row of the word wall.”  The kids would guess, sometimes they would give the clues.  It is really important to use a really LARGE font so that all children can read the word wall from all around the classroom.

I also encouraged my parents to play games with the sight words – I would send home 2 sets of about 10 words for them to play Memory.  Sometimes I made a game board similar to the Homework calendars and put a sight word on each space.  By adding seasonal clipart this seemed like a new game every time!

In class the children sometimes used magnetic letters to spell sight words, they used fly swatters to slap the words they found on pocket charts or writing around the classroom.  We had reading pointers (from Dollar stores!) and special reading glasses to look for sight words around the room.  Sometimes we used a yellow marker or highlighter to find sight words in newspapers.  The ideas are endless!