Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Sight Word Incentive Program

I wanted to share how I use sight words in my classroom.  I briefly posted about this last year, but I never got into the specifics on how it worked in my classroom.

I have to say, most of my students come into my classroom already knowing the majority of their sight words.  Our kindergarten team does a great job making sure the students know the words and most parents really have their students practice at home. (private school problems!)

However, between summer break and those students coming from other schools, a sight word review is needed.

At the beginning of the year, I assess all students on their sight word knowledge.  Last year I took the time to make a Powerpoint presentation so the students didn't have to flip through pages or index cards.

I timed it so students had enough time to see and identify the word.  Having even set intervals helped me stay consistent in assessing all students.  It also forced those students who wanted to rush through like it was a race.

Once I gathered the information, I explained to the student about Karate Sight Words.

The first 300 Dolch sight words were divided into 5 belts.  The white belt is the pre-primer words, the yellow belt is the primer words, etc.

I wanted the students to earn their black belt in sight words, so for the green, brown and black belts I used Fry phrases.  It allows those students who already know most of their sight words to participate and keep the words fresh in their brains!

Each belt is divided into several smaller tests, so students don't have to practice the entire set.  Way too overwhelming!  

Every Friday, the students are assessed on their particular set of words.  They color in a circle when they complete a test.  You could easily add this page to a data binder if you are required to use one.  In my class, I put these sheets in the student's DOT Binder so the parents can see what level their child is working on and when the student passes a test.

Once a students earns their black belt, I announce it to the whole class and we celebrate!  It's a big accomplishment for these students.  It also motivates some students to work a little harder to get there.

There is also a tracking sheet for the teacher to easily identify what level for each child.

Sight word cards and phrases are include too!

Feedback from other teachers who have used this has been phenomenal! 

On  April 6, 2014,  Jazmyn B. said:
Has transformed my students commitment to sight words! They are sooo excited to earn a belt , and I added the belts as a tracker for the students in the classroom. Easy to implement and fun for kids!!
On  November 12, 2013,  Aimee D. said:
BEST investment I have ever spent! Thank you so much! It is absolutely useful, simple, and the kids love it! I managed to print on the corresponding colors so it's more engaging for the students. Thanks a million!
On  October 6, 2013,  Keithi C. said:
I cannot WAIT to use this :) I've been looking for a different way to display some data with my firsties, and this inspired a whole new way of doing it. Thank you so much!

Here's your chance to WIN a copy!  Pin an image from this blog post.  Leave a link in the comments and I'll pick a winner early Monday morning.


  1. What a fun way to practice sight words!!!!! I love that they earn belts! I wonder, could you have someone who does Karate come in and demonstrate at the end of the year as a celebration?! Is your blog on Facebook?

  2. Forgot to add my pin!

  3. This looks like a fantastic way to motivate students AND keep organized data... win, win! I pinned someone else's pin of this... I'm on my phone and don't know how to create a pin from here... oops!

  4. What a great find! Thanks for making this!

  5. I can't wait to use this in the classroom!!! -


    Thanks for making a cute, fun way to collect data!

  7. My first grade students would love this!!

  8. This looks fun, exciting and engaging, my boys will definitely love learning their sight words!!!!