Coloured Sight Word Cards – advertisement of your child’s reading level or a helpful learning tool?
I have noticed that during my school readiness talks when we come to the subject of learning to read, those coloured sight word cards are a topic often received with moans and groans from parents in the audience. For those that are not aware, when your child learns to read in kinder they are given a coloured card with a number of sight words on it. When your child is comfortable with these they then move on to the next colour, distributed in a certain order.
These parents already having experienced an older child go through kinder learning to read using this system complained that these coloured cards simply advertised to other children and parents where their child sat with reading. One mum told me that her child moved through the colours at what she thought was a good rate, but still found it uncomfortable when other mums would ask or comment about what colour her child was on.
With one of my children, learning to read did not come easily, and I would see the look on his face when one of his friends would proudly share what colour they were on or heaven forbid, ask him what he was on.
I have met some mums however who liked the coloured cards saying that they have motivated their child to move to the next colour and believe that the coloured paper had actually helped their child to learn the words faster. Some may also argue that it’s inevitable that once you start school, competition is unavoidable, not that this IS a competition to learn to read of course, but have we unintentionally made it so?
Is there really a need for the obvious colour? Perhaps it’s time to relook at this system and how it’s impacting on kids, especially those that don’t learn to read as easily as their peers, or should we be focusing on simply building self esteem and resilience in our children?
By Danielle Mantakoul