Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fun With Dolch Words

We've been working on Dolch site words around here, and while I have kids of different ages we've been working on them with both boys at the same time. One needs more work on spelling while the other needs more work on reading them so it works for us.

We only work on one list at a time, and despite the "names" given to the lists they are not actually grade specific. The idea is simply to start with List #1, which means the PrePrimer and work your way up. The names associated with the lists were based on which books those words were most often seen in.

To keep things fun around here we took down our massive wall timeline and put up a word wall instead. Anytime the kids can read a dolch word in 10 seconds or less the word gets slapped on the word wall (picture coming.) This has great incentive for the boys and they adore seeing the word wall growing. So much so, that when we first initiated this idea a few weeks back I became a tad annoyed when I couldn't find the current word wheel.

Word Wheel is the term we use for the current words were working on. They are each preprinted on a separate card, laminated, and hole punched. Then each card is slipped on a metal ring that can hang from the bottom of a bulletin board in our dinning room, a common area for our family. When I asked where they were Jayden surprised me by saying he knew. He ran upstairs and returned a matter of seconds later with the current word wheel and an explanation.. "I took them upstairs to work on while Morgan was playing Wii. I can't wait to stick all these words on the word wall!" Serious dedication and he's taken the task of learning these words incredibly seriously.

The upside was, because we started with the pre-primer list the majority of the words instantly went on the wall which was a huge chunk of instant gratification for them. To help them learn the words and practice them each day we play a variety of games. One game we play is that while we eat lunch I pull out our white board (it's on easel and sits in a corner of the dinning area so this is very easy) and I set up a hangman game. I often use the dog or a guinea pig, or the occasional stuffed animal as the "hanged" victim. Another game we play is tic-tac-toe (aka Knots & Crosses.)

The boys actually love playing the second game more then the first. What I do when they are first learning a new list of word is to have them take turns reading the cards. So, I'd show one child a card and have him read it out. If he is correct (no matter how long he takes) he gets to put a mark on the game board. Instead of X's and O's I have them use the first letter of their name. Why you ask? Ahh, because we've had too many knock down drag outs over who gets to be x's and who's o's. To avoid the problem before it starts I assign them their first initial first. Saves so much time! As they become familiar with the words I will call out words for them to spell. If they do so correctly they get to put a mark on the game board.

When we first start spelling them, I'm big on giving them help (dramatically sounding it out or giving them clues from our phonics songs like.. ow for snow, ow for owl.. etc.) in order to achieve their goal. The idea is not to overwhelm and stress them out. Then, as they get stronger I might just say something like, "You've missed a letter." or "Try one more time."

You can find the dolch lists by doing a simple google search. We printed out our cards from the Teach This site quite some time ago (requires membership). You can also find some great info and ideas for free over at CurrClick in this fun little booklet.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading your blog. It has been an inspiration! I wish I had a homeschool mom like you in my city.


Kendra said...

Thanks Debbie, your comment made me grin. :D