Differentiate Sight Words using Fry Lists


This past year I implemented a program I made using the Fry word lists.  I have used Dolch Lists, lists that come with programs we have purchased and word wall words in the past.  I never saw the progress I have seen this past year in my room. 

 Let me begin by telling you why I chose Fry.  I picked these words because there are up to 1,000 words.  I teach first grade and my students come in with a huge variety of skill levels.  I wanted to have the greatest range of words to work with because my goal was to differentiate.  I didn't want everyone doing the same sight words because they didn't need to be.  So with that being said, I began to create this program for my class. 


I decided I wanted to color code the words in sets of 100.  I didn't want the kids to know where everyone else was so this was my way of using colors versus a number.  When my students came in to first grade, I used the assessment tool provided to test the students for a starting point.  I was looking for accuracy and fluency.  Once the student began to miss words or read them slowly, this became my starting point.  I will say that I had 5 kids completely test out of all 1,000 words.  For those children, they clearly did not need a sight word program.

Once I had established a starting point for each of my students, I nominated a parent volunteer to lead this program.  This could be done by the teacher as well, but you would need your students working independently to assess them each week.  Lucky for me, I had an amazing helper come every Friday afternoon to assess.  It literally took her 45 minutes each week to pull out the students, flash the cards and fill out the charts.  She also helped me keep up on copies.  Here is how it was all set up.

On the table I had a crate I bought at Target with 5 binders and file folders inside.  The  binder contains the originals that are used to make copies as well as awards given out.  There are file folders for lists 1-10.  They contain the copies that will be given to the students.  The students get a list of the ten words they need to practice and flash cards to practice that are all stapled together. 
Here you can see how I organize the inside of each binder.






All of my student folders are kept in this cart on top.  Below, on the bottom two shelves, are the word cards used to test the students. 

For the word cards, I bought these index card holders at Office Max. They fit perfectly. 

Here is a peek inside of the holders.  You can see I made tabs that are also included in this program.

Also just a side note, I have lists for 5 words too.  It took me a lot longer to include that but I thought 5 words at a time was important for some of my students who need a smaller focus.

Inside the manilla folder is the word list.  I'm sharing this photo of 1 students file from the end of the year.  You can see that he began on yellow.  Then he moved to the green list.  On top is the blue list.  You can also see a blue basketball sheet.  The students work towards a different sports themed certificate for each 100 words they learn.  

So first a child comes out and reads the words.  Then the parent records on the recording pages included.  Finally, the student colors in their chart.

Here you can see one of my students coloring in the 70 on the hockey award.

Here is a peek at the different charts the students will color in.

Here is a peek at the awards they will earn.  They also come in black and white versions too.  I printed the black and white on heavy colored card stock.

At the end of the year, I counted their words and wrote on their folders before sending them home.  I was so pleased at how many words my students had learned.

Overall, I feel this is an easy and effective way for parents to help support their children and build their sight word list.  I noticed that my students were able to move up through the reading levels easily with their great sight word bank.  It also allowed me to differentiate to each child's specific needs.  They weren't all working on the same words but they were all achieving the same goal each week.  It was rewarding in many ways. They had confidence and showed great gains.  I plan to build on this program with the next 500 words this summer.  I did not need them this year but I want to be prepared for future classes.  If you want to check out this bundle, you can do so below.



UPDATE: Now available the MEGA BUNDLE!

Thanks for reading about my sight word program.  
As always,
Love what you do and do what you love.






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2 comments

  1. Where did you get the colored notebooks? I cannot find a yellow one like that!

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