How’s My Child Doing? (Informally Assessing Sight Words)

Find out how your child is doing with sight words using these 5 easy steps!

The key is to keep the atmosphere very positive.

I always tell my children and students that these activities help me (as their teacher) know how to teach and help them. These activities help me know which activities to do and which games to play to help them keep learning!

Now for the 5 steps!

  1. Once a week or twice a month, have the children write as many sight words as they can in five minutes. 
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A 5 year old’s work

Count the words that are spelled correctly. If they write at least ONE more word than the time before, give them a sticker or whatever reward you want!

2. Once or twice a month, say the words that the children have learned. Have the children write each word down to make sure they can remember how to spell them. Continue to practice any forgotten words.

From List 2

3. Once a month, say complete sight word sentences that the children have learned and practiced.  Have the students write them down.  Continue to practice any forgotten words.

From List 3

4. Give students 30 minutes to write about a topic of his/her choice.  It can be a fictional story, non-fiction information or a free write about anything.what they eat

When my son was  5 3/4 years old, he wrote about lions.

We discussed what he knew about them:

  • what they look like
  • where they live,
  • what they can do with their legs
  • what they eat

Then, I gave him 30 minutes to write.  This was an informal assessment to find out what he was able to do all by himself.

I told him I couldn’t help him with his writing in any way.  After 17 minutes he said he was done.  He had completed the first 4 sentences but still hadn’t mentioned what the lions can do.  I simply said, “You haven’t written about what the lion can do.  You still have 13 minutes.”

He spoke a couple more things that he knew about lions then went back to writing, adding the last two sentences.

This is what he wrote:

January of his Kindergarten year

If you have trouble seeing it, it says:

“tHey ARe KARNVORS    LiiYNs are BiG CAts    tHey liv iN AFRKA    they ENT MNT.    tHey HANt for tHE MENT    tHey rAN to KRECH tHe MENT.”

Translation:They are carnivores.  Lions are big cats.  They live in Africa.  They eat meat.  They hunt for the meat.  They run to catch the meat.

Notice how he mixed correctly spelled words with phonetically spelled words.

This is our goal! We want the children to be writing the words that they’ve learned correctly. Then, any new or unknown words are spelled phonetically (using the letters/sounds that they hear.)

The lion piece that my son wrote was after he had spent a year working on letter sounds, writing sight words and sight word sentences.

5. You can also assess the children’s ability to READ the sight words. Print out the list of words that they’ve completed most recently.

Have each child highlight all the words that they can read easily and confidently.

Continue practicing any unknown words. Reward the students when they can read all of the words on their list!

Here are the lists of words that correspond with the lists of sight word sentences: