The What, Why, and How of Sight Words

boy reading

by Margo Edwards, Director of Content Development for SightWords.com, a free resource for child literacy

If you are a parent of a Pre-K to 3rd grader, you have probably heard something from your child’s teacher about “practicing sight words” at home. The teacher may or may not have though to explain to you what sight words are. So, what are they?

Sight words are words that should be memorized to help a child learn to read and write. Being able to recognize such words quickly—by sight—builds a child’s speed and fluency in reading. Knowing common words by sight makes reading easier and faster, because the reader does not need to stop to try and sound out each individual word, letter by letter. When a child struggles to decode the individual words in a sentence, they don’t have any brainpower left over to absorb what the sentence is about.

Sight words fall into two categories, Frequently Used Words and Non-Phonetic Words. Frequently Used Words are those that occur most often in the English language, such as it, can, and will. Memorizing these words makes reading much easier and smoother, because the child already recognizes most of the words on the page and can then concentrate their efforts on the few unfamiliar words. For example, knowing just the words in the Dolch Sight Words List would enable you to read about 50% of a newspaper or 80% of the words in a typical children’s book.

Non-Phonetic Words are words that cannot be decoded phonetically, such as buy, talk, or come. Sight words instruction focuses on the phonetically irregular words that also show up very frequently in printed language. Memorizing such words with atypical spellings and pronunciations teaches not only these words but also helps the reader recognize similar non-phonetic words, such as guy, walk, or some.

There are multiple sight words lists out there, and your child’s teacher has probably selected a particular one to work from. The Dolch list, consisting of 315 words is the most commonly used. It was developed in the 1930s-40s by Dr. Edward William Dolch, who studied the most frequently occurring words in children’s books of that era. The Fry sight words list, developed by Dr. Edward Fry, is also popular. It is more modern (it was updated in 1980) and more extensive. It is comprised of the most common 1,000 words in reading materials used in Grades 3 through 9.

So how does a parent go about “practicing sight words” with their child? It does not have to be an ordeal of boring drills, worksheets, and tears. The key to sight words instruction is simple repetition, and this can be accomplished with just a few minutes of flashcards followed by some fun game time. Use flashcards to introduce new words, reading, spelling out, and saying each word aloud several times so it can really sink into your child’s brain.

Follow that up with about 20 minutes of a game that incorporates the same words; this will reinforce the lesson with more repetition and really drive those words into the kid’s long-term memory. There are sight words versions of a lot of classic games, such as Bingo, Go Fish, Memory, and Candy Land. You can further reinforce the sight words instruction by pointing out sight words to your child in signs, books, etc. They really are everywhere!

Hopefully this removes some of the mystery of sight words for you. Just ask your child’s teacher which words the class is working on, and if there are any your kid is struggling with. It’s not rocket science; just a few minutes a day can help your child along the road to reading fluency!

Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter / CC BY

Eight Things Remarkably Successful People Do

SuccessGraphic

I was recently in a conversation with another business owner.  We were talking about how hard it is to run your own business.  I often feel exhausted at the end of the day and wonder why- then it dawned on me- it’s hard, it’s a lot of work and we consciously or unconsciously can make or break the success of an organization which impacts everyone around you- staff, family, clients, etc.  Poor management, bad financial decisions, lack of integrity, misperceptions because of miscommunications all can erode a company and in essence jeopardized the success of the organization.  Therefore it is imperative that good decisions be made day in and day out.  This, in and of itself, can be exhausting because quick or rash decision are not feasible.  In my reflection of this I began thinking of what successful people do to create sustainability.  I started digging around for advice and happened upon an article from Jeff Haaden in Inc. magazine titled “8 things remarkably successful people do.”  It struck a chord with me and I hope it does for you.  Burnout can happen but motivation can help squelch burnout.

1. They don’t create back-up plans. Back-up plans can help you sleep easier at night. Back-up plans can also create an easy out when times get tough. You’ll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment–without a safety net–will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible. If somehow the worst does happen (and the “worst” is never as bad as you think) trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, you always will.

2. They do the work. You can be good with a little effort. You can be really good with a little more effort. But you can’t be great–at anything–unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Scratch the surface of any person with rare skills and you’ll find a person who has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills. There are no shortcuts. There are no overnight successes. Everyone has heard about the 10,000 hours principle but no one follows it… except remarkably successful people. So start doing the work now. Time is wasting.

3. …and they work a lot more. Every extremely successful entrepreneur I know works more hours than the average person–a lot more. They have long lists of things they want to get done. So they have to put in lots of time.

Better yet, they want to put in lots of time. If you don’t embrace a workload others would consider crazy then your goal doesn’t mean that much to you–or it’s not particularly difficult to achieve. Either way you won’t be remarkably successful.

4. They avoid the crowds. Conventional wisdom yields conventional results. Joining the crowd–no matter how trendy the crowd or “hot” the opportunity–is a recipe for mediocrity. Remarkably successful people habitually do what other people won’t do. They go where others won’t go because there’s a lot less competition and a much greater chance for success.

5. They start at the end. Average success is often based on setting average goals. Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That is your goal. Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way. Never start small where goals are concerned. You’ll make better decisions–and find it much easier to work a lot harder–when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.

6. … and they don’t stop there. Achieving a goal–no matter how huge–isn’t the finish line for highly successful people. Achieving one huge goal just creates a launching pad for achieving another huge goal. Maybe you want to create a $100 million business; once you do you can leverage your contacts and influence to create a charitable foundation for a cause you believe in. Then your business and humanitarian success can create a platform for speaking, writing, and thought leadership. The process of becoming remarkably successful in one field will give you the skills and network to be remarkably successful in many other fields. Remarkably successful people don’t try to win just one race. They expect and plan to win a number of subsequent races.

7. They sell. I once asked a number of business owners and CEOs to name the one skill they felt contributed the most to their success. Each said the ability to sell. Keep in mind selling isn’t manipulating, pressuring, or cajoling. Selling is explaining the logic and benefits of a decision or position. Selling is convincing other people to work with you. Selling is overcoming objections and roadblocks. Selling is the foundation of business and personal success: knowing how to negotiate, to deal with “no,” to maintain confidence and self-esteem in the face of rejection, to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, to build long-term relationships. When you truly believe in your idea, or your company, or yourself then you don’t need to have a huge ego or a huge personality. You don’t need to “sell.” You just need to communicate.

8. They are never too proud. To admit they made a mistake. To say they are sorry. To have big dreams. To admit they owe their success to others. To poke fun at themselves. To ask for help. To fail. And to try again.

Carey Book PhotoCarey Baker and her husband, Brett, launched Part-Time Pros in March of 2008 aimed at giving professionals flexibility in the workplace, filling a much-needed niche in the Tulsa area. Six years later, their innovative business continues to grow and has been renamed ProRecruiters to better represent the broad range of their services.

In 2012, Carey wrote her first book “Hire a Pro/Be a Pro” to offer advice on how to hire and keep the best employees, as well as, how to be the employee that companies want to keep. In addition, Carey won a Tulsey Award in 2012 for her commitment to entrepreneurism.

Prior to opening ProRecruiters, Carey worked for Chapman Foundations Management, Advisory Board Company and The Williams Companies. Carey is currently serving as the 2014 chair of the Small Business Council for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. Carey lives in Tulsa with her husband Brett and their two daughters.

Stalker Parents Unite! Coming Together for Cyber Safety

teens on a computer

Kim Beair, MS, LPC, NCC & Dr. Kara Beair-Butler, DO Inspiring Strategies for Success by Friends and Experts You Can Trust There are positive and negative uses for social media, and this morning I saw one of the best I’ve come across in a long time. Strolling through Facebook posts, a friend inquired if she […]

[Continue reading...]

Featured JBF Franchisee: Eileen Cordero

jbf headshot

Full Name:  Eileen Cordero Franchise Location: Just Between Friends, Middletown & Dover, DE How did you get started with JBF? In the spring of 2013 My Dad saw JBF on the Today show and called me right away. He told me about it and I thought about it and said no. But I could not […]

[Continue reading...]

Freebie Friday: Winter Accessory Discounts

winter accessory

We’ve found some amazing discounts on kid’s winter accessories this week! The weather is still freezing in most parts of the country and kids are still growing.  Why not grab some gloves, hats, and boots for next year?  You can save up to 70% off this time of year if you do your research. It’s all […]

[Continue reading...]

The Real Deal: This is Why Your Ad Didn’t Work

marketing

It’s an interesting time to be a business owner. The Internet has erased many geographical boundaries that existed for our grand-parents and we’re swimming in a sea of always-increasing – many free – options to market business, thanks to social media. Yet, for many business owners, profits are down, clients and patients are being deliberately […]

[Continue reading...]

Plant a New Idea

singing boy

In my entire career as a vocal coach, I have only had one student along the way where, after our initial meeting, we mutually agreed I would not be the best teacher for him. Here’s why. He was having too good a time. After the first ten minutes of getting to know his voice, he […]

[Continue reading...]

Juggling Work and Family Life

desk

Juggling the stress of work and family life is a source of heartache for many (if not all) moms. Whether you’re off to work in the morning or stay home, there are troubling emotions to contend with. If you work outside the home you may feel guilty for not being home with your young children, […]

[Continue reading...]

Freebie Friday: Winter Coat Discounts

winter coat

We’ve found some amazing discounts on kid’s coats this week! The weather is still freezing in most parts of the country and kids are still growing.  Why not grab a coat or two for next year?  You can save up to 70% off this time of year if you do your research. It’s all about […]

[Continue reading...]

15 Tips to Helping You Find Your Dream Job

MillionDollar_HeaderImage_Jan15_706920738

The headline on Forbes.com caught my eye: “Most Americans are unhappy at work”.  What a sad statement.  Considering we spend at least one fourth of our life at work, shouldn’t being happy there be a goal for all of us? Since February is the month of love, I thought this would be a good time […]

[Continue reading...]

Romancing at Home – Is There Intimacy After Children?

happy couple

Romance is only defined by the couple enjoying, or lacking it! Here are some ways to increase intimacy and romance, while avoiding the traps that decrease them. Generally speaking, keeping romance alive involves each partner in a relationship being sensitive and respectful of the other person’s needs. That said, if your partner isn’t all that […]

[Continue reading...]

Blended Family Success Strategies for Parents & Kids

walking family

There are twenty million blended families in the United States alone. That number has doubled over the past ten years. Some project that blended families will become the norm, or at least a majority, within the next decade. Regardless of the statistics, blended families are a growing reality in our society. They also face challenges […]

[Continue reading...]

How to Find a Franchise That is Right For You

ShannonHeadshot2014

So you want to start a business? If owning a business is on your “To Do” list for 2015 and you’re contemplating purchasing a franchise, the options are nearly endless and can be overwhelming. There are more than 3000 franchises in the U.S. (including Just Between Friends Franchise Systems, Inc.). One of the best sources for […]

[Continue reading...]

A Family Playbook

family

Do you have a family playbook – a declaration of the values, attitudes and behaviors you want to instill in your children? Chances are you have well formulated ideas about the values you hope your child will embrace, the attitudes with which they will approach life’s challenges, and the behaviors your child will exhibit at […]

[Continue reading...]

Freebie Friday: Valentine’s Day Discounts

valentine's day

We’ve found some amazing discounts on cute kid’s Valentine’s Day clothes this week! You still have time to grab some bargains before the holiday. We’ve also included some discounts we found online for other products. Don’t miss our Valentine’s Day dessert ideas plus some fun Valentine’s Day crafts to do with the kids. $2.00 off […]

[Continue reading...]

Ask the Question: “What Can I Do for You?”

smiling preteen

Children and teens can sometimes be suspicious of the motives of adults toward them. Although this sometimes can apply to a person’s relationship with their own child or teen, it applies a great deal when they must work with other youngsters as a volunteer or as a child-service professional. Whether this little strategy is used […]

[Continue reading...]

The Happiest Families on Earth

happy family

Would you consider your family to be one of the happiest families on earth? You might be surprised to learn that the happiest families aren’t those with the most possessions, the greatest wealth, the smartest kids attending the finest schools or the ones who take several vacations a year.  In fact, the research is clear […]

[Continue reading...]

Worrying About Your Kids is Unavoidable

little boy

Joy and excitement await you the moment a planned pregnancy or adoption become a reality. It doesn’t take very long, though, for happiness to be laced with worry. “How will I manage? Will the baby have ten fingers and ten toes? Will the birth go as planned?” For the next nine months, the pendulum swings […]

[Continue reading...]

The Check for $3.96

sad woman

Having married a man with children, I soon learned the affects a stepfamily has on finances and child support topped the list in the Coleman household. Once the money was seized from my husband’s paycheck, his take-home earnings were $400 a month. Any increase is better than nothing, but $300 of his net pay went […]

[Continue reading...]

Problem Solving with Kids

sad girl

I just got a call from a frustrated friend. Her eight-year-old daughter Peggy refuses all her mother’s suggestions for lunch at school. Peggy doesn’t want to eat hot lunch; she hates sandwiches of all kinds, she doesn’t want to take meat rollups. Mother and daughter ended up yelling at each other, and Peggy stomped out […]

[Continue reading...]

Stepfamily Financial Resolutions—Part II

finances

In the previous article, I covered stepfamily financial matters including individual or joint accounts, credit, disinheriting biological children and social security benefits. Now let’s probe into child support and its affect on stepfamily money. Monthly Child Support. Support Determination In Blended Families An Anthology, Sonya Visor shared her child-support drama in The Check for $3.96. […]

[Continue reading...]

Stepfamily Financial Resolutions—Part I

finances

I believe with all my heart that a man who fathers a child is responsible for the emotional and financial need of that child. From debt incurred during the previous marriage, past due child support and the IRS seizure of income tax refunds, our first year as a stepfamily was inundated with fiery financial darts […]

[Continue reading...]

Wintery, Snowy Art Activities for a Cold Day

puffing snow

It’s crazy how cold it’s been outside! The kid’s are tired of being inside, both at home and at school.  As moms, we struggle with finding things for them to do other than video games or watching TV. JBF searched Pinterest and found some fun crafts to keep your kid’s hands busy and it doesn’t […]

[Continue reading...]

International Child-Centered Divorce Month in January Features Complimentary Gifts and Resources for Parents

dreamstime_10448697_0300

January is International Child-Centered Divorce Month. The entire month is dedicated to helping parents minimize the negative effects of divorce on children – by giving them the tools and resources they need to support their kids during and long after a divorce. Throughout January divorce attorneys, mediators, therapists, financial planners, coaches, parenting experts and other […]

[Continue reading...]

Quick Cakes for Emergency Occasions

bundt

Certain events in our lives require us to take food to comfort or contribute to a life event; like a reunion, a funeral, or an illness.  My mom has a great cake that she calls her “funeral cake”.  I know it sounds tacky, but it is true. Our lives have gotten so hectic that sometimes […]

[Continue reading...]

Sensible Indulgences for a Frugal Mother

sensible indulgences

Sensible Indulgences, otherwise known as a few of my favorite things! It’s been busy around here, recently I discovered that my soon-to-be three year old poured non-dairy creamer into my Vera Bradley bag (a NICE Christmas gift from my sister), and it had dried and made a big mess.  Swim lessons start tomorrow, but when […]

[Continue reading...]

Cute January Birthday Gift Ideas

kids gifts

  The holidays are over, but many of us have children with January birthdays.  Each year we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out a birthday gift for our little ones. We found some fun items on a website called BRIKA. It features the work of authentic makers, artisans and designers. It’s an online shopping experience […]

[Continue reading...]

Organizing Winter Gear

snow

I thought today would be a great time to make a quick inventory of what you may need for next winter season.  I don’t know about your house, but almost every hat, glove and pair of boots are drying out in my laundry room from sledding this weekend.  Since the kids (most of the kids) […]

[Continue reading...]

I Love Being a Frugal Mother

frugal

As much as we would all like to believe that we live like characters in a Barbara Taylor Bradford novel where we sip champagne in one of our six country homes whilst we wait for the butler to announce lunch, I’m guessing that many of you are like me: stuck in reality.  Not that being […]

[Continue reading...]

6 Things To Do This Year

kate spade planner

With the year at an end – comes celebrations, quality time with friends and family. It’s a time that inevitably makes me reflect on the past year and think about new passions and ambitions for the New Year coming up. I thought I’d share with you some things that I feel we could all do […]

[Continue reading...]

Top 5 Sale Shopping Tips

shopping

The holidays have finished, but the chaos at the malls and boutiques haven’t slowed down – in fact, many people say that come Christmas Day, real craziness begins! After Christmas sales have begun, parking lots are full, gifts are being returned, and bargain hunters are on the prowl. So for those of you that are […]

[Continue reading...]

Giving Back at Christmas

milk and cookies

It’s Christmas Eve! Your kiddos have probably already made their elaborately long Christmas lists, asking for the world, but have you ever stopped to ask them about giving to others less fortunate than them? Instead of having an attitude of pure desire, teach them about giving back to others. They will learn that their kindness […]

[Continue reading...]

Toot Your Own Horn!

horn

Toot your own horn!  With grace. Recently a friend of mine has worked really hard to get in shape.  She has been training for a marathon, working full time and is a single mother too.  I’m still trying to figure out where she’s finding time to sleep!  I saw her recently and noticed that she […]

[Continue reading...]

Getting Creative with Jell-o

cherry jigglers

People are SO creative with Jell-o these days. The holiday season is the perfect time to experiment with fun ideas that contain Jell-o.  These desserts can be kid-friendly, or even something to take to an adults only party depending  on the ingredients. We found these beautiful desserts and wanted to share them with you. Some […]

[Continue reading...]