Just like the other concepts, the sight word program has DVDs and flashcards, and little readers that you can purchase. There are 3 DVDs each with 16 sight words presented on each DVD. The sight words are chosen from Fry and Dolch sight word lists (research-based most frequently read sight words). We started by watching the first 4 sight words on the DVD and using the flashcards to practice during the DVD and after and in between watching the DVD. When she mastered those 4 words, we moved on to the next 4 and so on. As you can see the flashcards have a black-print word on one side and then a "character" word on the other side. Zoya starts by becoming familiar with the "character" whose name is "play" for example, and then transfers it to the black-print word. I love that way of teaching it to her! Once we got through the first DVD, I used only the words presented on the DVD to start pairing 2 and 3 words into phrases. For example, I'd put 2 word cards side by side to make it say "I play." Very simple. Then I'd add another word to make it say "I play that." The little readers that came with the program have all the sight words from the first DVD as well as other words. I made flashcards for the words that were not on the DVD or in the flashcard pack to teach those as well.
Slowly I started adding more and more words to make the sentences more complex. I pair word cards and picture cards to vary the difficulty of the sentence. As Zoya masters the words, she no longer needs the picture side of the cards. In some of the videos you can see she still flips the word over to remind herself of the picture on the other side. This is a great strategy because it teaches her to use picture cues to decode and recall words, which is a great reading strategy for young readers. I took sentences right out of the little reader books and formed them using word cards. After Zoya got better at this, I transferred her to the actual book, reading the same sentences. She is so proud of herself and I'm so proud of her! My sweet girl is newly 4 and already beginning to read!
In my experience teaching children with special needs, I find children with Down Syndrome do very well with sight-word based programs to use as a foundation, and then, if they're able, to progress to a phonics-based approach.
I love letting Zoya use different "pointers" to read her sentences, such as the princess star wand you'll see in one of the videos.
Here are some videos of my big girl READING!!
(My favorite one)
I can't wait to hear Zoya read to me more! I just love her sweet voice!