Rethinking the Way We Teach Sight Words with Leslie Tomanovich


Click below to hear how to rethink the way we teach sight words:

Reading can be a challenge for many students and it can be especially difficult for our ELL students. That’s why it is so important to systematically work on sight words with our students. Leslie Tomanovich is joining us today to share her experience and wisdom on teaching sight words to our ELL students.

When it comes to reading, we want to find ways to reduce the cognitive load and frustration for our students. Sight words play a huge role in that. In today’s episode, Leslie and I are discussing the importance of sight words for our ELL students, the difference between sight words and high frequency words, effective techniques for teaching sight words, what orthographic mapping is and why it’s great for reading instruction, and Leslie’s routine for teaching sight words in her lessons. 

Leslie is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to teaching sight words and phonics to ELLs and she is sharing so much information with us today! Don’t forget to check out the sight word resource we’ve put together if you’re interested in seeing more of her routine and how to make sight word practice work for your students this year!

Leslie Tomanovich has been teaching ELLs for over 10 years. She lives and works in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. She works with grades K-4, but specializes in the primary grades. Leslie has developed multi-modal sight word instructional routines and materials that are used by many teachers in her school district. She lives and works in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

If you’re looking to save time with ready to use lesson plans, resources, and targeted goals with assessments PLUS monthly trainings, check out the Equipping ELLs membership! We’re here to help you be prepared for whatever this year brings!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Why teaching sight words is so important for our ELLs and how it helps to reduce the cognitive load when reading
  • The difference between sight words and high frequency words
  • Ideas and techniques for working on sight words with your ELLs in 5-10 minutes a day
  • The benefits to teaching sight words in connection with the phonics lessons they are working on 
  • What orthographic mapping is and why it is especially useful when teaching ELL students
  • Why you shouldn’t be afraid to introduce higher level phonics skills before teaching a whole lesson on that skill
  • Leslie’s sight word routine and how she uses motions and ASL, pictures, mix it and fix it, and games in her systematic sight word instruction


Related episodes and blog posts:

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More about Equipping ELLs:

We all know that teaching isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. Equipping ELLs is a podcast for both ESL specialists and homeroom teachers who are looking for effective and engaging ways to support their English Language Learners without adding to their endless to-do list. Tune in each week to hear tips, strategies, and inspirational stories that will empower you to better reach your ELL students, equip them with life-long skills, and strengthen relationships with colleagues and parents.

Your host, Beth Vaucher, is the founder of Inspiring Young Learners. She is an ESL certified homeroom teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching in the US and internationally. Her background of M.Ed in ESL and Curriculum and Instruction combined with her experience has led her to develop a bestselling newcomer curriculum that has sold in over 90 countries around the globe. She brings a different perspective to teaching ELLs from her years teaching and living abroad and working with ELLs from around the world. You will walk away from each episode with the ideas and tools you need to transform your experience as a teacher and cultivate a thriving and welcoming environment for your ELL students.


One Comment

  • This show was so helpful, especially with the heart words/sight words. I am going to share this episode with our aides and Title teachers. Something for all of us to help, especially our EB’s.

    Thank you so much 🥰


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