How to Spark It

Mon, 27 Sep, 2021

Why Sight Words are Important & 7 Ways to Help Your Child Learn Them

Sight Words

One of your most important responsibilities as a parent is making sure your child does well in school, and for this, you need to make sure your child has the right tools for learning well and understanding their lessons.

To learn well and communicate well, your child needs to build a good vocabulary and to do this, your child needs to learn new words.

While most words can be pronounced correctly when children know the phonetic sound of each letter of the alphabet, this doesn’t hold true for sight words.

What are sight words?

Sight words are words with unusual pronunciations that don’t follow the conventional rule book of phonics, so children are encouraged to memorize them as a whole.

When is it the right time to learn sight words?

The ideal time to teach sight words to your child is after they’ve learned how to use phonics knowledge to sound out words. Your child should understand that words are made up of sounds in a row and that letters or a combination of letters can represent an individual speech sound.

When your child is just starting out at preschool, the teacher will have a list of sight words for your child to learn, the most common ones being the ones in the list below.

List of sight words

  • A
  • Am
  • And
  • At
  • Big
  • Can
  • Down
  • For
  • Go
  • Have
  • He
  • I
  • In
  • Is
  • It
  • Like
  • Little
  • Look
  • My
  • Not
  • On
  • Said
  • See
  • She
  • That
  • The
  • To
  • Up
  • We
  • You
  • Up
  • We
  • You

Along with this list, you should include words that your child might need to use often, like names of siblings, pets, or friends.

Why are sight words important?

A study pointed out how more than 50% of the words used in children’s printed material were sight words. So, it’s important for children because if they learn to recognize sight words so that they can concentrate on understanding what they are reading instead of trying to break down each word they come across.

Sight words inspire confidence in children since memorizing them means recognizing the words and understanding their meaning, which helps them grasp the sentences when they’re reading.

Another research study also indicates that phonics, learned through sight words, is the best way to teach your child how to read.

This will make them more enthusiastic about reading and even communicating in sentences effectively.

What are the best ways to teach sight words to children?

Teaching sight words to children should be a fun activity that doesn’t seem intimidating or boring.

Instead of making it seem like homework, here are a few fun ways to teach your child basic sight words:

  1. Sight word games

    Is your child very active?

    You can introduce sight words to them via sight word hide and seek, where you hide sight words written on index cards around the house and ask your child to find them and read them out to you.

    You can also try and look for commercial sight word bingo games.

  2. Dinner time sight words

    Make a word light of sight words that your child can read aloud at dinner time. Start with two words, and add one to the list daily. This is not only a great word-building activity, but it will also give you time to bond with your child.

  3. Build the sight word

    Use simple block letters and sight cards to help your child build sight words and help enunciate them properly. You can use magnetic letters or small flashcards to build sight words instead of using block letters.

  4. Make a collage out of sight words

    Ask your child to cut out sight words that your child knows from old magazines and newspapers — this helps your child understand the importance of sight words in the context of actual sentences.

  5. Sight word matching with favourite toys

    Put a post-it note of sight words on your child’s favourite toys and ask them to write the exact sight words on paper. Associating sight words with their favourite toys will help your child remember better.

  6. Read aloud

    Read aloud to your child every day. For beginners, start with picture books that pair words with depictions of each other to help your child associate words with visual memory.

    For toddlers, choose books that have short sentences and illustrations or pictures. Both infants and toddlers will benefit from reading the same books repeatedly to build recognition of concepts.

  7. Label objects in your home

    Label each object in your home with index cards. You can also glue pictures of the objects as reinforcement. For example, when your child uses in the house like a chair, ask them to show you the name of the object.

    Sight words are essential to learn because they help children become more confident in their communication skills and help them read and grasp the meaning of what they’re reading better. This in turn, will encourage your child to read more!