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Anonymous
Anonymous asks:
Q:

Should a Spanish speaking 1st grader born and raised in PR be asked to memorize the Sight Vocabulary Words?

My grand daughter is in 1st grade at a private school in Puerto Rico.  Her first language is Spanish.  She is learning English now.  Her prior exposure to English was minimal.  
On her first week of school her teacher gave the students a paper with all the sight words to be memorized through the school year.  She only has had the vowel sounds introduced to her, but not the phonics.  Not to forget that this child is supposed to memorize words that she has no clue what they mean and have never heard them before.
What should I do?

In Topics: Helping my child with reading, Worldwide education issues, Learning a second language
> 60 days ago

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dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi,

When our daughter started first grade, she too was given a list of sight words, many of which she did not know at the beginning of the school year. She too came from a multi-lingual household, and had recent prior experience living outside the United States, speaking languages other than English (in her case, Bahasa Indonesia -- a national language of Indonesia -- and Sasak, an indigenous language of Lombok, Indonesia). By the end of the school year though, she not only knew how to read those sight words, she also knew how to spell them from memory and was using them in sentences she wrote herself.

Try talking with the teacher about your concerns regarding the challenge your granddaughter faces in learning her first grade, English-language sight words. The school may offer free English Language Learner programs that can support her, or the teacher may know of local community resources that help address this particular learning challenge.

I'm also including some resources below that may be helpful to your family. Good luck -- I hope your granddaughter has a wonderful school year!

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BruceDeitrickPrice
BruceDeitri... , Teacher writes:
Why is dyslexia so commonly diagnosed in American schools? Are we even sure it's real? The experts I trust say no. All the symptoms result from using sight-words to teach reading. So you are wise to be concerned.

(For the case against sight words, Google "Dyslexia, Disability, and Deception: What Five Experts Say.")
> 60 days ago

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EddaG
EddaG writes:
Hello,
I also have a daughter in first grade in my case we relocated to the States and found the hard way that sight words are exactly that.  Words that should be learned by memorization because they do not follow the phonetic rules of the english language.  The compiled list are normally the words that at that age level are most frequently used.  They are not usually random words. :-)  Understanding this for me was really hard, because as you know we have a set number of sounds in the Spanish language.  There is no exceptions.  Dieresis and acentos, take care of changes in pronunciation in Spanish.  Keep faith.  Once they know them the reading fluency will increase, and they will catch the words in context.  Even dislexic kids that use resources like Wilsons Reading Program HAVE to learn sight words in order to garner fluency.

Hope this helps.
> 60 days ago

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