It can be daunting to learn all the buzzwords for your children to learn as they learn different words.
There are also a lot of literary concepts that you can apply to make your lessons easier. One of these concepts that you can introduce is “sight words.”
But, what are these sight words? How can you teach them?
Here below is a short primer about what sight words are and how you can help your child to learn how to read with it:
What is the definition of sight words?
Words such as “who”, “come” and “does” are examples of sight words. These words don’t come in six syllables and you cannot apply spelling rules on them.
They are also words you cannot easily break down which is why you need to memorize them at an early age.
The words are presented to children through “sight” so they can immediately spot it and read them without the need to decode how the word is pronounced.
Are high-frequency words and sight words the same?
Sometimes, it is easy to confuse high-frequency words with sight words. While there are similarities to these word groups, one major difference comes to mind.
Sight words don’t follow the usual phonetic and spelling rules other words follow.
As a result, you need to memorize them. Meanwhile, high-frequency words are usually found in any written text. Not all of these words follow phonetic patterns, but a majority does follow it.
If you are going to teach your child how to read, sight and high-frequency words can be taught as the same. They are both used in both verbal and written language, appearing in stories and books. However, you may want to avoid these mistakes when teaching your child to read.
When your child starts picking up these words, they can learn how to ready more quickly.
Which word lists can I use?
If you want to familiarize yourself with the word list for sight words, two are commonly used: Fry Sight Words and Dolch Sight Words.
The Dolch Sight Words List was developed in the 30s and 40s by Dr Edward Dolch for PreK to third-grade students.
He analyzed children’s books which were popular in these eras to find the most commonly used words in them. He found 95 high-frequency nouns and 200 “service” words.
If you checked the list, 80% of these words are in every children’s book, while 50% are words used in adult writings and text.
Meanwhile, the Fry Sight Words list is by Dr Edward Fry.
He developed the list in the ‘50s (and later updated it in the 1980s) and it includes words for first-grade to tenth-grade students. He checked the books used for third-grade to ninth-grade students to complete his list.
Around 1,000 different words are in his list and 90% of these words are used in books, websites, and newspapers.
What tips can I use to teach sight words?
Several methods are available which can help you teach children to learn sight words. If you don’t know where to start, here are some tips you can try out:
Your little ones will definitely love it when you sing for them and they learn the tune easily if it is catchy.
Look for songs where they spell words and sing them to your child regularly. These songs will not only make them laugh, but also inspire them to learn new words.
Children learn things easily the more they see it being done.
In the case of sight words, the more they see and hear it used, the better they can grasp it. You can use word boards that you can place around their room and put all the sight words they are learning so far.
When they are trying to read on their own, they can look at the board and distinguish the sight words. You can also try to use Post-It notes to increase active reading.
If you want children to learn, you can also turn to games to help you out. Some games can help your child understand each word they learn and how they can be used.
Here are some examples of games you can try out and how to get it started:
- Go Fish
Instead of asking paired playing cards, you can use word cards to help your students familiarize themselves with these words.
Write the words in cards, shuffle the cards and lay them with their face down. Ask the child to find the words and find their pair.
- Word searches
You can invent your very own word search by including sight words in them. If you can’t work on one, check some examples online.
Each time you teach a new word to your child, have them write it down.
This will give them the confidence to practice and start learning how to make simple sentences using sight words.
Using manipulatives can transform your child’s learning time into a fun one. Manipulatives are hands-on tools that can help your child practice concepts like math and spelling.
In this case, you can use manipulatives like Gamenote Classroom Magnetic Alphabet Letters Kit to get your child to spell words by moving letter tiles across the board. You can also use stamps to stamp each word or letter.
If you want to be creative and add some excitement, you can even get alphabet cookie cutters or stamps so your children can enjoy learning the letters in a delicious way.
Reading is also a good way to teach sight words to your little ones. There are unique sight word books available in the market like the Bob Books Sight Words where you can teach each word to your child and let them understand how they are used.
These books even come with worksheets to help your child master the word, as well as teaching masters to give you ideas on how to improve your child’s literacy.
Sight words are a great start in getting your young child to grow to love reading among other techniques.
Teaching your child how to read is an experience and a challenge altogether. You have to give them tips on how to catch keywords by sight, which can help them learn words better.
When you teach your child how to read sight words, take into consideration their preferred way to learn. When you do that, you will make it much easier for your child to learn and make them fluent readers in no time.
If you don’t have time to teach your child, consider engaging a private English tutor who can guide your child step-by-step to master Sight Reading.
Here is further reading for you if you want your child to improve on his reading: