Children who know words by sight are able to read them automatically. A large sight word vocabulary enables children to read fluently and to focus their attention on making sense of what they are reading. A child’s sight vocabulary is composed of all of the words recognized instantly. Some words recognized on sight occur very often in books and are referred to as basic sight words. (Go to this link to find kindergarten, first, second and third grade sight words.) These words are a vital part of a child’s sight vocabulary. Here are some ways that you can help your child learn to read these very important words:
- Go to the Sight Word Charts page on this website. We use charts like these in SRP to help the children learn to recognize their sight words instantly. Be sure to read the instructions for using the charts in the introduction paragraph.
- Highlight Words in Newspapers and Magazines. As you are reading the morning newspaper, give a section of the paper to your child. Have him take a light colored crayon and highlight one or two of the sight words that he needs to learn. Can he find the word four or more times? Variation: Look for and point to these words in the books that you read together each night.
- Play Make and Break. Use magnetic letters to make one of the sight words that your child needs to learn. Read it to your child, and then break apart the word and scramble the letters. Have your child remake the word, point to it, and read it to you. Then have him break it apart. Repeat this process several times until your child is able to quickly remake the word. Variation: Use letter cards instead of magnetic letters.
- Play Tic Tac Toe. Draw a Tic Tac Toe grid on a piece of paper. Rather than playing the game with Xs and Os, choose two sight words that your child needs to learn. You might choose the word ‘of’ and your child might choose the word ‘were’. Let your child begin by spelling and writing his word in one of the squares. After writing his word, he must read it with his finger. Next, you will spell and write your word, and read it with your finger. Who will be first to get three in a row?
- Play Word Hunt. Place several sight word cards around your living room. Ask your child to hunt for the cards, reading them aloud when he finds one.
- Play Concentration. Write several sight words on cards. Each word should have at least two cards. Place several pairs of sight word cards face down on a table. Take turns with your child uncovering and reading two cards, looking for pairs. If the two cards are not a pair, turn them back over. When you or your child find a pair, read the word and take the cards. Who will have the most pairs at the end of the game?