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#1 Ten Dolch Words a Week
Lesson Title/Subject/Grade Level/Time of Year
"Introduction to Dolch Words"
Grade level: 1
Time of Year: Weekly
This lesson may be used in kindergarten through grade 3 after appropriate modifications are made for the maturity of the students. For example, in kindergarten, you may want to introduce only two words at a time.
10 - 3" by 5" cards for each child and a few extra in case mistakes are made.
A pencil and crayons for each child.
A piece of large chart paper or tag board.
A black felt pen.
10 pieces of 9" by 12" tag board or light colored construction paper
A pointer or yardstick
The children will learn to read 10 out of 10 Dolch words (chosen by the teacher) each week.
The children are not expected to learn to spell the Dolch words, although many will learn to as you do the activities.
State Standard Addressed
In this section, the teacher cites the state standard focused on in the lesson.
Review Previous Skills
Before the new lesson begins, the teacher briefly reviews any concepts or skills previously learned that will be needed in the new lesson. For example, beginning and ending sounds of words, previously learned sight words, etc.
The teacher will need to prepare the following prior to the lesson:
- Divide the 3" by 5" cards into sets of 10, one set per child. Do not rubber-band them yet or the children will play with the rubber bands all through the lesson.
- Choose 10 Dolch words to focus on for the week. Choose words from your reading series that are being introduced, or words that go along with the spelling list for the week, or words that are commonly used at your grade level. For this sample lesson, I chose 10 Dolch words that have the sound of long i. This sound is introduced about half way through first grade. Although the Dolch words are considered "sight" words (i.e.; not easily sounded out and, therefore, needing memorization), it does not hurt to point out the regular sounds in them. The 10 words for this lesson are: like, ride, five, nine, live (as in "These are live tadpoles."), white, find, kind, light, and right.
- On each of the 10 pieces of 9" by 12" tag board or light colored construction paper, write one of the 10 Dolch words for the week in large, lowercase letters, using a black felt pen.
Inform the students early in the week that they will be learning to read 10 new sight words. I usually offer a colorful sticker each week to each student who learns all 10.
Begin the lesson by passing out the sets of 10 cards, one set to each student. Have the students get out a pencil and their crayons.
Hold up one of the week's sight words on the 9" by 12" tag board card. Tape it to the chalkboard. Ask the students to find any sounds they know in the word. Ask if anyone knows the word. Tell the students the word. Use it in several sentences. Ask some students if they can use the word in a sentence. If the word has unusual sounds, explain them, such as: the ght in light and right is silent; the e at the end of like, ride, white, five, nine, and live causes the i to be a long i instead of a short i.
Tell the students to use their pencils to write the word on one side of a 3" by 5" card as you write it on the board. Spell it as you go. Help the students draw a simple picture of the word, if possible. Look at and read the word several times, all together.
Tell the students to turn the card over and write the word three more times in their favorite colors, using their crayons.
Do this for each word in the set of 10.
Give students a rubber band to hold the cards together and have them place them in their desks or in a basket. (Have them write their names on a card or two for identification.)
Post the 10 large word cards in the classroom.
This is the section in which the teacher and the students demonstrate (i.e.; practice) the skill. This section is often skipped, which is a serious mistake on the part of the teacher. It is at this point that children really learn the skill and the teacher has an opportunity to observe them, correct mistakes, and re-explain and re-demonstrate the information to be learned. Guided practice may take place in one session or many.
Each day, have the students get out their set of cards and lay them out on their desks. The teacher says, "Show me 'find'," and the students find the word and hold it up in front of their chins. (You do not want them to wave the cards in the air; you want to be able to see them clearly so you know who recognized the word and who did not.) Do this so that they must recognize each word a couple of times.
Create a class story with the words. Using the large chart paper or tag board, the teacher writes the story as the children use the Dolch words to create it. For example, the teacher writes as she says,
"I like to..." Then she chooses a child to add a word to the sentence. A child says, "I like to ride." The teacher writes that and adds, "I like to ride a ____________ bike." She asks if anyone can put a word that makes sense in the blank. A child says, "I like to ride a white bike." The teacher fills in the word white and adds, "I will turn _________ at the corner." A child fills in the word right. The teacher writes, "I can ___________ my way." A child fills in the word find. The teacher writes, "A bike is a ____________ of transportation." A child fills in the word kind.
Read the story together.
Ask if anyone can spot another word that has the long i sound (bike). Ask if anyone knows what "transportation" means.
Post the story in the classroom. The children should read the story together every day, as the teacher uses the pointer to point to the words.
Independent practice is done by the student without the teacher's help, in school or at home. Work done independently should always be checked, either in a group or by the teacher. Mistakes made should be noted and addressed in subsequent lessons. If it becomes obvious the children did not learn the concept/skill, it should be re-taught and more guided practice should take place.
Independent practice might include: fill in the blank dittos, word searches, taking the flash cards home to practice with, etc. Make a ditto of the class story, replacing some Dolch words with blanks. Print the 10 Dolch words at the top of the ditto. The children must fill the blanks with the correct words.
Closure occurs at the end of the lesson. For closure, have the students read their 10 words to a partner.
Review occurs in subsequent lessons and routinely on a weekly and monthly basis so that students do not forget what they have learned. Homework often focuses on reviewing prior learning. Tests also are a form of review. Games and fun activities can be used for review as well.
Prior to recess or lunch, point to each Dolch word posted in the room and have the class read them aloud.
Create a Word Wall with all the words the class has learned throughout the year. You can use the wall for many activities to review the words.