This is a roundup post all about using the Heart Word Method to teach high-frequency sight words in kindergarten, first and second-grade classrooms. It is a place to easily find all of the information, tips, and resources I have shared about Heart Words.
The science of reading has brought about a shift in the ways we teach our students their sight words. No longer are we relying on flashcards and rote memorization. Instead, we are listening to what science tells us about how students learn to read. We are integrating irregularly spelled, high-frequency words into our phonics lessons using the Heart Word Method.
The Heart Word Method requires students to use their phoneme knowledge to map the regular part of the words. They then only have to “learn by heart” the sounds that are irregular in the word, thus the name Heart Words.
You may be considering making this instructional switch or have already done so! I know this because each day I receive smart, thoughtful questions from teachers just like you. Those who want to better understand the benefits of the Heart Word Method and better understand how to bring this type of instruction to their students.
To help answer some of these questions, I decided to create a roundup post all about Heart Words. This will be a one-stop-shop! A place where you can find all the information I have written and shared about teaching high-frequency words using the Heart Word Method.
What is the Heart Word Method?
Are you beginning to learn about the Heart Word method? Do you want to better understand why experts say it is a better way to teach sight words? If so, I recommend you check out the post Heart Words: A Better Way to Teach Sight Words.
There I explain the mental process we use to permanently store words for immediate retrieval. This process is called Orthographic Mapping. It is how we take an unfamiliar word and immediately turn it into a sight word.
I also answer the question, “what are heart words?” and explain the difference between Heart words and Flash words. It’s a great post to check out if you are just beginning to learn about heart words!
How to Teach Heart Words
The post, How to Teach Sight Words Using the Heart Word Method lays out clear steps for teaching heart words to your students.
It also introduces you to my Heart Words Resource. This is a no-prep resource that makes it simple to integrate high-frequency words into your phonics lessons. The post outlines all that is included in the resource and leaves you with the FREE sample Heart Word Lessons that you can download.
Heart Word Teaching Tips
Tips for Teaching Heart Words provides you with recommendations to help ensure your sight word instruction is systematic and explicit. As you begin to plan your instruction, be sure to first download the FREE high-frequency word list scope and sequence that is offered in this post!
Finally, this Heart Words video is worth a watch! I share valuable information about heart words and then walk you through exactly how to teach your students high-frequency words using the Heart Word Method.
Heart Word Activities and Centers
In order for instruction to be fully effective, students must be given extensive opportunities for practice and cumulative review. In the post, Heart Word Center Activities, I share the details about my Heart Words Word Mapping Centers and Activities resource. It is a NO PREP bundle of activities that offer your students a variety of engaging ways to practice the heart words you teach them.
These activities were designed to be used after you have explicitly and systematically introduced heart words to your students. They offer students the repeated exposure they need to commit the words to memory.
The activities in the bundle include:
I know that switching to the heart word method to teach high-frequency words requires a lot of new learning. I hope the information and resources I’ve shared today will help answer some of your questions and bring more effective sight word instruction to your classroom!
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