With all the new training and information we’ve been learning about the Science of Reading, you might wonder if your sight words centers will still work. Science of Reading and sight words can coexist in your word work centers! I’ll show you how.
Sort Words Phonetically
My first tip with making your word work centers work to be more Science of Reading friendly, is to sort your sight words phonetically. Since Science of Reading asks students to pay attention to phonics patterns, pulling your sight words by patterns will help align them better.
Having your words grouped by phonics pattern will also make it easier for students to focus on one pattern during their independent practice. I suggest sorting your words into those that are completely decodable and those that may have parts that are not decodable (words like was and the).
Map It Out
My next tip to making your centers work with the Science of Reading and sight words is to map it out. Can some of your sight word centers have a component that maps out the sounds?
Mapping out sounds looks like boxes and some way to distinguish the sounds whether it’s playdough or counters. You could even use mini erasers for this.
Simply add a small container with laminated Elkonin boxes and some counters to place with your regular word work centers. Model how to use these new tools with your students and encourage them to try it out before they complete the main activity.
Just like with traditional word study like Words Their Way, students should be sorting words independently and thinking about what they notice. When it comes to sight word centers they could sort by beginning or ending sounds and by phonics patterns.
The important thing is to get your students to recognize what the words have in common. Providing students with a recording sheet or word study notebook can add accountability into the center.
In reality, many of your current word work centers are still in alignment with the Science of Reading and will not need any tweaks. The rest of your activities might just need a small adjustment to better fit with the current best practices. The good news is that you don’t need to go out and find all new centers.