Confused about sight words.

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by melosine, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. melosine

    melosine Rookie

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    Dec 16, 2011

    I have an example of a child copying the word apple on the word wall and points to the word saying "apple". Would that no longer be considered a sight word? Since the child copies the word and knows the meaning of the word by copying, reading the word, and drawing a picture underneath. I am confused because I am reading that a sight word is automatically recognized but the child does not necessarily know the meaning of the word.
    I hope this makes sense.
    Can someone give me examples of sight words?
     
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  3. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Dec 16, 2011

    Sight words are words kids can read immediately, we call them snap words, they can be read in a snap and the kids do not sound them out. Many schools use some form of the Dolch sight words which are the most common words found in childrens books and do not include nouns. http://www.spellingcity.com/dolch-words.html It includes words like: my, the, is, at, are, ertc... that are needed to learn to read and write fluently.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 16, 2011

    Not all sight words are words that kids can read immediately. As a class, sight words are words that don't get sounded out or decoded: either the child is already very familiar with the written word ("boy", "Dad") and therefore doesn't have to decode it letter by letter any more, or the word can't really be sounded out and so must be learned visually ("sight" itself is an outstanding example of a high-frequency non-decodable sight word).
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    What do you mean 'sight' is non-decodable? Of course it is decodable. Three sounds s -igh -t. A reader just needs to know to make the long i sound there are different combinations of letters or rules to follow.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  7. melosine

    melosine Rookie

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    Dec 16, 2011

    Okay, so if the child writes out a whole word a-p-p-l-e. That is not a sight word because it shows that she decodes the letters by spelling it.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Ah, but the reader has to know that much: for the child who is still working letter by letter rather than with phonograms, the word "sight" is indeed undecodable.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 16, 2011

    melosine, the child who is writing is encoding - translating spoken or heard words INTO the written code.

    The child who is still decoding the word "apple" is the child who has to pick her way through the word letter by letter, laboriously matching each letter to a sound, every time she sees it.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Dec 17, 2011

    Just because a child is being exposed to a word beyond their instruction and ability level doesn't make it a sight word, nor does it make it a non-decodable word. Using that logic, all words and symbols in every language can be considered sight words and non-decodable. All it makes it is a word we are trying to get a child to read before they have the ability to sound it out. There is a huge difference between what you called it and what it is. The word 'sight' is decodable. It may be considered a high-frequency word for which you try to get a child to recognize before the child can sound it out.
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 17, 2011

    I think we're talking about three different concepts here: first, words that are known to a level of automaticity and don't need to be decoded, even if the child has the ability to do so. Second, "sight words" might be referring to high frequency words that are helpful to know because of their high frequency occurrence, and may or may not be decodable. Dolch words would fit into this category. Third, "sight words" might refer to words that are not able to be decoded at all because of their irregularity, and must be taught as units rather than sounded out.

    I suspect if everyone clarifies what they're referring to, a lot of consensus would be found about the points each are making about "sight words."
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Dec 17, 2011

    I'm sorry EdEd, but on this I have to disagree. Making up your own definition of a term may bring consensus but it will not be accurate. The comment I disagreed with from the previous post is, ""sight" itself is an outstanding example of a high-frequency non-decodable sight word".

    The word 'sight' is a word one can decode. It doesn't matter at what level a child's decoding abilities are at, it can still be decoded using the basic patterns in the English language.

    We can't arbitrarily label words non-decodable just because the child doesn't yet know the patterns of sounds in the English language. Once we start doing that, terms will have no meaning.

    I agree that the term 'sight word' is a completely different concept than a word that can be decoded or not.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Hm. Let me cite some sources that are generally fairly well respected:

    1.
    from Florida Center for Research on Reading, at http://www.fcrr.org/curriculum/glossary/glossaryOfReading.pdf

    2.
    National Reading Panel, at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/upload/ch2-II.pdf: the section heading is "3. Decodable Text"

    3. Several references at Reading First in Virginia's page at http://www.readingfirst.virginia.edu/index.php/elibrary/C42/, drawing from a variety of other sources including Timothy Rasinski's work, clearly use "non decodable" (sic) in the sense in which I have used it

    4.
    Patrick Groff, "Decodable Words vs. Predictable Text, http://www.nrrf.org/decodable_vs_predictable.htm (not that I endorse absolutely everything Dr. Groff has to say))

    5.
    University of Oregon, Big Ideas in Reading page at http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/au/au_what.php; it's worth pointing out that DIBELS originates from the U of O.

    I'm always willing to learn more, however. What are your sources, and what do they have to say?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  14. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 17, 2011

    a2z, I agree - I wasn't trying to redefine "sight words," but to illustrate that I think people are using it in different ways. Whether or not there is an accurate and specific definition of sight words, the point of my post was to help clarify distinctions not in denotation but in connotation. Whether accurate or not, many teachers would consider Dolch words to be sight words, yet many are decodable. I think technically they are wrong - that they are really "high frequency" words - but I can see where the OP got confused because "sight words" is tossed around. So, I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with you in technicality, and while that's important, I was trying to clarify more informally for the OP.

    TeacherGroupie & a2z - with respect to "decodable" - I think you both are referring to 2 different concepts. Yes, "decodable" can be in reference to the student, so something can be "not decodable" by one child yet "decodable" by another. Still, I agree with the point a2z is making - that some words are hypothetically decodable (assuming the reader "knows the code"), while some words are not. However, I think the concept there would be more appropriately labeled "regular" vs. "irregular" - irregular words violate common patterns of phonics, and as such the reader can't rely on phonics knowledge to decode the word, but must rely on having been taught that specific word. I think the key here is the frame of reference.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 17, 2011

    The fact is that "decodable" IS in reputable use in the sense in which I used it; that was the point of those quotes, that I'm not simply making this up. In any case, citing "sight" as a non-decodable word is by no means original with me.

    To get back to the original post, I trust we can agree on assuring the OP that whether a word is a sight word or not has rather little to do with its meaning but rather is a fact about its spelling.
     
  16. Chicago Heather

    Chicago Heather Rookie

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    Dec 17, 2011

    It is really interesting to hear everyone's take on this question. Thanks for sharing.

    My opinion on Melosine's original question is that apple is still a sight word for that child, since he/she can read it "on sight" and is not sounding it out (as it ah-puh-luh).
     

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