Sight words are words that occur frequently in text and are most often used in reading and writing. Sight words are sometimes called core words, high-frequency words, or popcorn words. Sight words are used so often it is important that readers be able to recognize these words on sight (hence the term “sight words”). Working hard to learn these words by sight (memorizing) pays off. It allows kids to free up cognitive resources so they can focus on the tougher words when reading. Edward Dolch created a list of these high-frequency words in the 1930’s. This list is still used today and gives us a place to start. ***It is very important that your child is able to recognize and name lower-case and upper-case letters prior to learning sight words. Having a foundation in letter recognition makes teaching sight words easier and more meaningful.***
The first 40 Dolch Sight Words are:
a, and, away, big, blue, can, come, down, find, for, funny, go, help, here, I, in, is, it, jump, little, look, make, me, my, not, one, play, red, run, said, see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you
To teach your child sight words try these strategies:
1. Teach 1-3 words at a time.
2. Use a variety of techniques.
a. Create sight word cards (one word written on an index card) or print sight word cards off using your computer.
b. Show the sight word card to the child, tell them the word, and have them repeat the word to you.
c. Have your child trace over the word written on a paper with his/her finger or marker.
d. Have your child copy the word from a model.
e. Post the word (Post-it notes work well for this) so the word can be seen and reviewed daily.
f. Ask your child to point to the card that you name.
3. Once your child masters recognizing the word, gradually add more words to your list.
4. Remember to review words already learned frequently to ensure mastery.
Once your child has learned some sight words
1. Point out the words you are working on in print while you are reading or anywhere you see the word(signs, packages, etc).
2. Stop and pause during reading so your child can say the sight word.
3. Let your child read all the sight words they know while reading a favorite story.
4. Find some easy-reader books that focus on sight words to give your child practice using the sight words they have learned. I really like the Now I am Reading: Pre-Reader Series that you can find on Amazon. BOB Books are also popular for beginning reading.
Have fun challenging your child using sight words!