Sight words sensorial tracing activities designed to promote spelling and reading fluency in preschoolers and kindergarteners through fun hands-on sensory play.
Sight Words Sensorial Tracing trays are a fun way to introduce your preschooler to “sight words” which are words that appear most frequently in reading texts. As such, a child must learn these words by SIGHT rather than by sounding out, blending or segmenting. Besides, many of these sight words defy standard phonetic conventions, meaning that they are practically impossible to sound out. Most importantly, teaching sight words early on will help your preschooler to become an efficient reader. Therefore, frequent practice through fun hands-on invitations to learn and play, such as various Montessori Sensorial Tracing Trays, will help little learners memorize and spell these words, many of which are hard to decode using conventional strategies.
WHAT You’ll need to make Sight Words Sensorial Tracing Trays:
- sight words (download the 3 Levels SIGHT-WORDS PDF here)
- a tray to contain tracing filler (we are using this wooden tray or buy a bamboo tray set here)
- sensory filler (we are using rainbow rice, salt, and millet, but you can also use flour, baking soda, sugar or any other fine grain)
- cardstock (buy white here and colorful here)
You may download for your personal use the SIGHT-WORDS PDF here. Print the PDF, laminate all the pages and then cut out each word along the dotted line. You will notice that each page is color-coded according to its level. Level 1 is blue, Level 2 is green and Level 3 is red. To determine which level your child should use, you can do either of the two things:
- have your child read Level 1: if s/he makes more than three mistakes, start with this level; otherwise proceed to the next level. Adrian (five-year-old), made five mistakes in Level 3, so it is the level I am using today
- you can also have your child read all three levels, and choose only the words which the child read incorrectly, so you will end up with various words from all three levels.
HOW TO make a Montessori Sensorial Tracing Tray:
First, line your tray with cardstock. You can use white cardstock, but I also like using colorful one to give the letters some color-pop. Then, pour the filler of your choice in the tray, just enough to cover the surface. Make sure not to pour too much as the traced letters would not be very pronounced.
Here, I am using white cardstock and rainbow rice. To dye the rice, separate dried rice into ziplock bags, and add the desired food coloring to each bag along with a few squirts of vinegar. So, you will have one bag per each color. Then, shake well until all the coloring is “absorbed” by the rice and lay rice flat to dry. If you would like to have rainbow rice, mix all the colors together and Wolla! Besides, you can use a single color rice. For example, during Holidays, we used red rice and during St. Patrick’s green rice.
HOW to PRESENT:
Offer your child one SIGHT WORD card at a time and invite him/her to read the chosen sight word. Thereafter, invite your child to spell the word in a sensory tray, by tracing each letter in a sensory filler using the index and middle fingers. You can also offer your child to spell each sight word using Montessori Movable Alphabet.
More Montessori Sensorial Tracing Tray Options:
For this Sight Words Sensorial Tracing Tray, I am using salt and blue cardstock as a lining. This time, you can choose a word and, without your child seeing it in a written form first, offer to spell each letter at a time in a tracing tray. Again, you can offer your child to spell the sight word using Montessori Movable Alphabet. For more salt-tracing, see here tracing while referencing to Montessori Lower case cursive sandpaper letters. Lastly, see here counting snowflakes and tracing the sum in salt.
Lastly, here, I am using millet and red cardstock. You may, however, use any fine grain. Please note that I am very reluctant to use “good food” so I generally use either expired food/grains or ones that fell on the floor. So, open your cupboard and look for any food that had seen its expiration date!
About the importance of learning SIGHT WORDs:
Sight Words Sensorial Tracing Trays are a fun way to reinforce the spelling of high-frequency words. These activities also promote fine-motor control and hand-eye coordination, not to mention all the sensorial fun your little will be having!
Did you know that SIGHT WORDS account for 50 to 75 percent of the words that appear in print? So, it is important for children to learn the correct spelling and to recognize the words instantly by SIGHT in order to achieve reading fluency! This allows the child to concentrate on reading comprehension without having to stop and decode each word.
FUN FACT about SIGHT WORDs:
- 12 sight words make up 25% of words your little one would encounter while reading
- 25 words make up approximately one-third of all published text
- 100 sight words make up 50% of the words we read and write
- 300 words make up approximately 65 percent of all written material