Our Know & Grow Literacy Program helps children read proficiently. Reading is the most crucial academic skill because it is the foundation for learning. Through third grade children are learning to read; after third grade students read to learn. But, in the U.S., only one-in-three students read proficiently by that point. Without a strong foundation in reading, children are left behind at the beginning of their education.
Dinsmore Elementary teachers believe “sight words” to be one of the biggest hindrances to reading. Sight Words are commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight, so that they can automatically recognize them in print without attempting to sound the word out. Many of the sight words have unusual spelling patterns and can’t be sounded out using basic phonics knowledge. With these words accounting for up to 75% of all beginning reading words, recognizing by sight allows the child to concentrate on meaning and comprehension without having to stop and decode every single word. They must simply “know it when they see it.” For instance, the word “the” appears about every tenth word in children’s books!
The lists of words assigned for memorization includes common nouns such as cat, dog, house, and school, additional color words, and the days of the week. Accurate and automatic recognition of these high-frequency words enables a child to read more smoothly and at a faster rate, helping the child remember more of what he or she has just read and to make sense of it.
Mastering sight words builds a strong foundation for reading success!
Friends of Dinsmore Elementary has collaborated with teachers to help our youngest readers “Know & Grow” their sight word vocabulary. We provide kid-sized materials and activities that align directly with their kindergarten and first grade classroom curriculum. These teaching supplements give our Title One children repeated practice to become fluent in reading, spelling, and writing sight words – and put them on the road to reading success!
Students need to see the words every day. This is especially important for children who are struggling. The more often a child sees a word, the more likely he or she is to remember it. Their reading becomes more fluent – and their confidence soars!
Know & Grow is used in both the classroom and the home setting. The variety of classroom materials keeps children engaged while practicing new words over and over again. By giving each child his/her own materials, we hope to encourage reading for those without Internet connections and to promote parent involvement. Reading at home is an important factor in helping young children learn reading skills early.
Currently, only 60% of Dinsmore Elementary students read at grade level. The intent of Know & Grow is to provide teaching supplements that help the children learn to read. For children to succeed in school and beyond, we’ve got to start young.
Our current focus is on kindergarten and first grade. Our goal is to have 92% of Dinsmore Elementary students reading at grade level (and higher) by the end of the first grade. The students will then be on the road to academic success!