Kindergarten is not the place it used to be–kids are doing a lot more and why not? They want to and they’re capable. One of the ways that we’ve stepped it up for K kids is to have them learn lots of sight words. Not just in reading, but in writing as well. One of the best tools for this is the sight word notebook. Some teachers start it early in the year, some wait until January. I suggest starting it when most kids know most of their letters.
You can use any kind of notebook, a composition book works well. Start out having kids write their first names in the notebook. They take the notebook home and write their name five times. Make sure their names are posted and visible in the classroom in at least one place. Once the name is mastered, start with easy words that they need to use a lot (I, my, me, etc.) Write the word and have them copy it into the notebook, then write it five times for homework.
When you introduce a new word, immerse your students in the word. Use it during interactive writing, have them hunt for it when they read independently, point it out during read aloud or shared reading time. Use it when you model your own writing. Teach a few words a week. Check in to make sure students are retaining the words. Go back to words that need more work.
My son’s K teacher, Brianne Falisi, used the sight word notebook last year. He learned how to write 80 words by the end of June.
Never underestimate what little kids can do with a little bit of instruction!