Strategies To Help Children Learn Sight Words: Teaching Sight Words Kindergarten

Sight words are commonly used words in literature that young children are encouraged to remember and recognize just by looking at them, without sounding them out. Once a child learns all the sight words on Dolch's lists, she can read 75 percent of the printed words in children's literature. Do a Google search for Dolch's lists to see all the words.

This article gives fun ways to teach these sight words using research based strategies. Keep in mind, many children have the most success learning sight words when taught in a small group or practicing one on one with an adult or child with established skills.

Reading and writing sight words multiple times, helps in grain them into a child's memory. Reading or writing the same words over and over can be boring for a child. Here are some ways to make repetition fun by using turn taking or games.

1 - Pick a word, say it and spell it five times in a row, then have your child do the same. Go back and forth until you run out of words. The last person to think of a word is the winner. Help your child if she needs assistance thinking of or spelling her word. You can add to the excitement by having your child pick your word and you pick your child's word. You can even turn it into a song, adding a tune when you spell each word. For a child who can write, you can have her write the word each time she says it. It may be fun for her to write the word on a chalkboard or dry erase board, in sand in a sand tray, in shaving cream, or on paper with crayons, markers, or coloring pencils. You can join in the fun by writing your words on your turn. If your child cannot write yet, have them watch you write the words. You can also have your child spell the words using magnetic letters.

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2 - Use flash cards (which you can create yourself on index cards or purchase on Show your child the word, have her spell it three to five times while looking and then three to five times without looking. Again you can take turns to make it fun, letting your child be the teacher at times. You can also use the same strategy listed in number 1, of writing the words each time you or your child spells a word aloud from the flashcards. You can create your own flash cards at home using index cards, and ask your child or students to help if possible. To take flash cards on the go, punch a hole in them and put them on a ring.

3 - Read children's books with your child frequently. Depending on her level, you can read while she follows along, she can read to you while you follow along, or you can take turns reading to each other. Children's books have many sight words from Dolch's lists, so frequent reading will allow your child to see words over and over, helping her lock them into her memory.

Teach children to connect each sight word with a visual picture. Having learners connect what they read to a visual image of what the word represents, is shown to help with memorization. Have children draw a picture for each sight word, or have them explain what each sight word would look like. You can turn it into a game. Here are some ideas:

1) Draw a picture and ask your child to guess and spell the sight word that she thinks matches your drawing.
2) Have your child draw a picture and you guess and spell the sight word she drew.
3) Draw pictures or put images (such as the ones on Google Images) on one side of a paper and write sight words on the other. Have your child match the words to the drawings.

There are also tangible games you can create on your own, incorporating your child's or student's help if you like. You can also print materials off the internet, or purchase games to help children learn sight words. Below are some examples:

Sight Word Bingo - This game is just like regular bingo. When you call out the word, the child puts his chip on his bingo card if he has that word on his card. You can create the cards on your own or purchase a game like Zingo Sight Words off of (ready-made sight word Bingo).

Word Searches - Many word searches containing sight words are available for printing on the internet (do a Google search for "sight word word searches"). You can also purchase word search books for grades K - 1 and grades 2 - 3

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Splat! (grades k - 1 and grades 1 - 2) is another fun game that you can purchase on or make your own version at home. Splat! comes with 75 sight words and can be bought for readers on grade level k-1 or 1-2. Players lay cards out in front of them. As the caller reads each sight word aloud, players look at their cards. If a player has a matching word, he or she says "SPLAT!" and flips the card over. The first player to flip over all of his cards wins. You can easily make your own version on index cards.

Spot It! (available on - This game allows players to match pictures to words, pictures to pictures, and words to words, by spotting the match between cards. It reinforces sight word recognition, reading comprehension, and builds English vocabulary.

Side-Note *If you are a teacher you can try all of the strategies and games above with your students. You can take turns with your student if you are working one on one. If you are working with a small group, you can let the children take turns with each other while you supervise or join in. Also older siblings or peers with strong sight word recognition can also work with children who need to practice their sight words. Many children love the job of teaching other kids and would also have fun playing games like the ones in this article.

Keep in mind that every child is different. Some respond to several strategies, others respond to a few, while others may not respond to any of these strategies. If your child is significantly struggling with recognizing sight words or acquiring other academic skills, despite consistent practice and guidance, talk to your child's school and/or doctor. They should be able to refer you to the appropriate professionals to determine what might be interfering with your child's progress and what additional strategies might help.

Remember to always stay calm when working with a child or student, even if you think they should be getting something that they are not getting. If you get frustrated with them, they may start to feel anxious, angry, inferior, stupid, etc. which will lead to a less productive learning session. Keep sessions short (5 to 10 minutes for younger children or children who get easily frustrated and 10 to 15 minutes for older children or children who can work for longer periods without frustration), unless the child is eager to keep going.

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Young children, between the ages of 2 and 5, have an uncanny ability to learn. As a parent who is planning to home school or even preschool home school your child, it is in your best interests to harness this ability and use it to your child's advantage.

The optimal time for learning

According to recent scientific studies, children have a window period for optimal learning that lasts form the ages of 2 to 5. They learn the most important and also the most difficult tasks during this time. They learn to walk and talk, the range of their sight increases, hand-eye co-ordination develops and many more things.

As babies we learn everything simultaneously

It is not natural to learn activities one at a time. As babies we learn to walk and to judge distances; we learn the mechanics of speech as well as how to speak a language, all at the same time.

So, when it comes to learning to read and write, not only is it easy for your child to learn to do these at the same time, but it's also an advantage.

In order to start writing, your child will learn to read the letters of the alphabet as well as the numbers 0 to 9.

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Writing can then be an advantage as this can then in turn help your child with their reading and even their spelling.

Writing will also take longer to master than reading. Teaching a child to hold a pen and direct it in the way that you want it to go, takes time, especially if your child is very young.

Spend a little time with each

You should spend no more than 10 minutes per day on each activity. If you decide to read with your child in the mornings, you can write with them in the evenings.

This allows plenty of time for your child to assimilate these skills, and also leaves them with plenty of time for their other activities so that they don't get bored or frustrated.

Both reading and writing are an ongoing process, so the sooner you start teaching your child to read and write the better.

Also once your child has mastered these two vital skills you can then proceed with their "formal" schooling whichever way you prefer; be it sending your child to school, following a specified home school curriculum or doing it your own way.

So, not only will your child be able to handle both reading and writing at the same time, they will also compliment each other, each making the other stronger.

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You may have noticed the prevalence of rhyme in children's books and songs, but have you ever wondered why? There are several reasons why educators, authors, and song writers who target young children use rhyme so much.

The first and simplest reason that rhyme and song are such an important part of early childhood education is that they are fun and encourage children to be active participants in the preschool learning activity at hand. Children love rhyme and song and early childhood educators have long recognized the benefits of using these techniques based on simple anecdotal evidence but now studies show that indeed rhythm and rhyme can help children learn more effectively.

Rhyme also helps children learn important foundational skills for reading. Reading is much more involved than simply learning to recognize that the shapes and squiggles on a page actually resolve into words and meaning. Learning to read also means learning about language and understanding the elements of that language. Once children understand how language works and the basic building blocks of words and sentences then learning to read is much easier for them. Rhyme is an essential part of this process.

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Preschool songs are also a great way to increase children's vocabulary and knowledge of the world. Many preschool songs are actually informative and instructive about various aspects of culture and the world, but in addition many movement songs also teach children important aspects of relationships and direction that will aid in life as well as reading.

Rhyme is also a great memory aid and learning tool and learning new preschool songs, preschool rhymes, and preschool poems will help children improve their memory skills which can only help them when they begin their formal education.

Playing with and learning rhyme and songs also helps children improve their listening and sound discrimination skills. These will aid not only in learning to read but also becoming better students and better people in the future.

So if the simple fact that your child enjoys rhyme and song is not enough to encourage you making rhyme and song a part of your preschooler's life then you should also consider the other benefits such as setting the foundation for important reading skills, increasing vocabulary, improving memory, and teaching sound discrimination.

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The phonic approach to the teaching of reading has been used for centuries. In the 19th century. The approach was named 'phonics'. Since this time it has been developed and modified to what we have today.

Today, a phonics approach is used to varying degrees, in most reading methods. A phonic approach to reading is an which teaches the relationship between the sounds of the letters and their written form. It is a form of de-coding. The words can be de-coded by learning what the letters say.

The phonic approach is based on two assumptions. One is that the sound or phoneme of a letter has a correlation to the letter or graphemes. The second is that once children have learned the relationship between the letters and sounds they can say the printed words by blending the sounds together.

The teaching of phonics begins with the teaching of the letters of the alphabet. Beginning readers need to learn the names of the letters and the sounds of the letters. This can be done by reading alphabet books and pointing out the shapes of the letters and saying the corresponding sound and letter name. It doesn't really matter which way round they are taught. Children can learn the sound and the names at the same time with ease.

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Once the letter sounds and names have been mastered it is time to move on to the sounds that two or more letters say together. This is called 'blending'. For example. a-t, a-m, c-a-t and m-a-t.

Lots of practice is needed to make blending smooth and easy. Grouping words into families is the best way to learn to blend in a logical and sequential way.

The next stage is to learn the sounds that two letters make. For example sh, th, ph. Then the vowel combinations. For example ow, ou, oa etc. The best way to learn to blend words is by repetition.

Not all words in the English language can be decoded. There are irregular words which need to be learned as this is the only way to read them.

In summary, teaching reading using phonics as the primary method is the best way to teach reading by giving readers the ability to de-code new words and have a strategy for attacking difficult unfamiliar words.

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When reading to your child, read slowly, and point to the words that you are reading to help the child make a connection between the word your are saying and the word you are reading. Always remember that reading should be a fun and enjoyable activity for your children, and it should never feel like a "chore" for them. Click here to help your child learn to read

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The first few years of life are the most important and critical for the development of literacy skills, and having a literacy-rich environment at home will ensure your child becomes a successful reader. Aside from reading to your child, specific instructions and teaching must be used to teach your child to read. For a simple, step-by-step program that will help you teach your child to read, visit Best Way to Teach Reading

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