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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start using Rainbow Words?

Is Rainbow Words compatible with Open Court Reading, Four Blocks,  or other programs?

Which grade levels are appropriate for Rainbow Words?

Does Rainbow align to my state's objectives or standards?

What are High Frequency Sight Words?

Most words in English are decodable.  Why teach sight words?

How do I know which words to teach?

How do I start using Rainbow Words?

Designed by elementary school educators, Rainbow Words is teacher friendly with minimal materials preparation involved.  Each kit comes with a complete set of instructions and materials that will make using Rainbow Words a success in your classroom.  

Many teachers choose to start by posting only a few words at a time.  Teachers using the Open Court Reading Program may use Rainbow Words in conjunction with the decodable books, introducing and then posting  the words on the chart after they have been introduced in a decodable book.

 Is Rainbow Words compatible with Open Court Reading, Four Blocks,  or other programs?

Yes. It is compatible with any reading program that teaches high frequency or sight words. I  The 88 high frequency sight words included have every word taught with the decodable books in the Kindergarten level of the Open Court Reading program and most of the words taught during the first half of First Grade.

 Which grade levels are appropriate for Rainbow Words?

Several.  Primarily used in Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms,  Rainbow Words is available for any teacher interested in motivating emerging readers to master high frequency sight words.   Both special education and ESL teachers have experienced success using Rainbow Words with students reading at or below 2nd grade.

 Does Rainbow Words align to my state's objectives or standards?

More than likely, yes.  You need to check your state standards standards or curriculum objectives to be sure.  Rainbow Words is sold throughout the United States and Canada and feedback indicates that Rainbow Words likely meets all states' standards for the early grades. 

Compare to the California Language Arts Content Standards in Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development:

Kindergarten Decoding and Word Recognition

1.15 Read simple one-syllable and high-frequency words (i.e., sight words).
1.16 Understand that as letters of words change, so do the sounds (i.e., the alphabetic principle).

Grade One

1.11 Read common, irregular sight words (e.g., the, have, said, come, give, of).


What are High Frequency Sight Words?
The terms "High Frequency Words" and "Sight Words" are often used interchangeably.  However, some High Frequency Words are Sight Words, but not all Sight Words are High Frequency Words.
 

"Sight Words" are words recognized very quickly without conscious decoding. Typically, they are very common words that sound differently than their spellings suggest, i.e. the, was, come, of.  

"High Frequency Words" are the most common words in the English language and may or may not be decodable by their spellings.  They include non-decodable words such as the, does, of  as well as decodable words like at, it, and did.  

RainbowWords.com uses the term "High Frequency Sight Words" to include both high frequency words and sight words.  

 
Most words in English are decodable.  Why teach high frequency sight words?
Developing a large bank of sight words is important as the 100 most common words make up about 50% of what children read.  Therefore, there are two main reasons to teach high frequency sight words.
First, many high frequency sight words  do not sound like their spellings might suggest, so "sounding them out" is not an effective strategy.  

Second,  emerging  readers that dwell on too many words will not have the speed or fluency needed for comprehension of the text being decoded.  

Remember that important words that follow common spelling patterns may also be taught initially as sight words if they are beyond the learners' current level of decoding ability. 

How do I know which words to teach? 
There is no one "right" set of words to teach.  Some teachers choose to use as little as 35 words, other choose to use all 88. 

Choosing the words that you teach should be based on the literature or reading program  that you are using with your students. For schools where an entire grade level is using Rainbow Words, collaborating with one another  is an excellent way to decide which words will placed on each color arc of the rainbow. 

Many teachers choose to use the words that will be in the texts that they read to their students, other choose the words based upon their frequency, using the Dolch or Fry lists.

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Site Last Updated 6/16/2011 Copyright RainbowWords ©2011