What are sight words?
Did you know that over 60% of the words your child first sees in books can’t be sounded out?
Try reading these words (go ahead…pretend like you’re a 4-year-old and sound out each letter) : the, are, said. Hmmm…not so easy right? Now imagine how your child must feel when he’s just starting out? And how frustrating it is for parents teaching their kids how to read! These are known as sight words. Words like “cat” and “dog” will be taught by sounding them out, using phonics and decoding. The thing is, most sight words don’t follow normal phonetic patterns (phonics is the relationship between letters and their sounds). Learning some sight words can speed up how quickly your child learns to read. They are important to learn so your child doesn’t get discouraged when they have to stop and sound out every. single. word.
Sight words for kindergarteners (and why it's important to introduce early)
Why should you care about teaching your child sight words before kindergarten? Because your child will start reading in kindergarten! You’ve probably heard people say “Kindergarten is the new first grade”.
I can tell you after teaching for 15 years, it’s true. Most children today attend preschool. Kids start kindergarten knowing their letter sounds. Some kids are even able to read a handful of basic words. What does this mean for you? Starting school with a solid reading foundation will make your child’s transition easier. If your child can spot a few sight words quickly, and without much effort, imagine how much easier and fun it will make learning to read!
A list of common sight words
There are HUNDREDS of sight words for your child to learn. Try googling “sight words”…it’s a bit overwhelming. They’re also called Dolch, Fry, and high frequency words. The long lists can feel daunting to kids AND parents. I like to start by introducing 10 simple sight words to my students. It’s much easier for your child to master a list of 10, then to tackle a list of 200. Learn this short list above, and your child is on their way to reading!
How to teach your child sight words
Here’s how I like to teach my kids: Point out one sight word when you read to your child. Keep pointing to that sight word every time you see it. I start with very simple sight words: I, and, the (words you see frequently). When your child has mastered one sight word, add one more. Be sure to praise and encourage your child. “You just read that!” This builds up kids’ confidence and excitement. Follow this routine, and soon your child will be reading half of the book along with you! There are many popular ways to teach sight words: Worksheets, Flashcards, Games, Books, Video.
Video is quickly becoming an exciting way to learn. Our kids are already using iPads and phones. Why not use these devices to help your child learn how to read?
Show your child this 2-minute video teaching sight words: is, the, and
Get started now
Give your kids encouragement and simple tools, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they start reading! It’s not as intimidating as you think…you just have to get started.