Perhaps you have been given a long list of sight words by your child’s teacher with simple instructions as to help your child to learn them.
Firstly, don’t try to learn lots of words at the same time. Try to break the list down into 3-4 words a week. This way the words can be focussed on and learnt properly.
Secondly – give meaning to the words. There is no point just learning a word if your child cannot comprehend the word. Comprehension is key when learning to read. Give your child a sentence with the sight word within that sentence. Help your child to make there own sentence with this word too. Read books that have the weekly sight words in them.
Thirdly – encourage sounding out. Your child isn’t going to sound out the word forever so by helping them to understand the sounds that are in that word you are giving them skills to read more words. Some ‘sight’ words do have different sounds but by allowing your child to attempt sounding out you can then teach them how some letters have a variety of sounds.
Fourth – Don’t rush learning sight words. You need your child to understand what they are reading. You need your child to understand how they are decoding. There is no point just learning a word as this will not help them to be able to read in the future.
Fifth – Find the whole sight word list and reorganise how you introduce them to your child. So you can:
- Rearrange the words into similar sounds (but, by, big etc.)
- Words that rhyme (be/me/he/she/we)
- Group words that are the same base word but with different suffixes (play, played, plays) If one of these words does not appear on the list there is no harm alerting your child to it.
If you have more time, check out some more ideas on this fantastic resource: http://www.spelfabet.com.au/2015/08/reorganising-high-frequency-word-lists/ . It breaks down the sight word list into seven stages of learning words and also different ways you can group the new words.
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I’m sure many new kindergarten children are very eager to learn to read but what if that eagerness fades with sight words?
Play snap. Talk about the word when a pair matches up.
Mix up the sounds in the words and put the words together. Do this for words that are decodable. (easily broken down into phonemes)
Find the words in a book! This makes links to what the word means in context. Read the sentence the words is in.
Find other words that rhyme with that word and use the same spelling.
Play sight word soccer for those children that can’t sit still!