Practise sight words in a fun and musical way using the classic song from The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun! A great way to get school aged kids involved and engaged in learning their sight words without too much pressure or formality.
This wonderfully fun literacy idea is a guest post from Amanda Morgan, educator and mother to 4 boys, who blogs over at the fantastic Not Just Cute. She writes about parenting, education and current issues in teaching and pedagogy and is very well worth a follow!
I loved the routine of singing in the first grade classroom where I taught. It gave the day structure, it was awesome for transitioning, but most of all it was a fantastic way to practice sight words in a meaningful way.
I stumbled on one song that was perfect for my classroom. Well, to say I stumbled on it may not put things in the right light. The song had already been well discovered.
Ever heard of the Beatles?
Yeah. Those guys. Slightly famous, right? Well, I don’t know if George was teaching a little early childhood ed on the side, but when he penned the song, Here Comes the Song, he filled the song to the brim with basic sight words.
In fact, “here”, “come”, “the”, and “sun” are all on the Dolsch Preprimer list. And they each appear in the song 16 or more times! Along with the four titular words, we find the preprimer words “and”, “little”, “it”, “to”, and “I”. Up one level on the Dolsch lists, we find the words “like”, “say”, “that”, and “all”. And for the advanced readers, there are still a few challenge words like “since”, “right”, and “melting”.
When I added this song to my stash of song charts, I laminated the chart so that we could use the lyrics for more than just remembering the words. As we sang, one child would use a pointer stick to follow each word. This reinforced the basic concepts of print (one written word for each spoken word, following left to right with the return sweep, etc.) while also reinforcing those sight words as we sang them.
We’d also take a few minutes to mark all over the song chart with dry erase markers (which delights kiddos, but then easily wipes right off of laminated surfaces — which delights teachers). Some days I’d challenge kids to find a particular sight word, several children taking turns circling the same word in several places. Now and then, we’d take a word and play with it. What happens when we add an “s”? What about “-ing”? Can we take a challenging word and stretch it out?
Sometimes I’d invite individual children to circle any word they knew. This was a great way to invite kids to work on their own level. Every child could tell me the first word was “here”. Advanced readers would gravitate toward words like “returning” or “since”. There’s something for every level in this song! From the basic phonological concepts that are reinforced while singing, to simple sight word practice, all the way up to those reading every single word.
The kids, their parents, and several staff members thought our Beatles ritual was “cool” or “cute”, but the root of it was much more nerdy.
It was sight word practice.
And when I’m given a choice between practicing sight words by drilling flashcards or sharing meaningful activities, I’ll take the latter every time. Because the first thing kids should learn about words, is that they have meaning.
So sing a little sunshine into your day, and build a little literacy at the same time.
Tell George I sent you.
See our full archive of PLAYFUL LITERACY activities here, for plenty more ideas to get your little ones engaged and learning!