What are sight words?
Sight words, or high frequency words, are the words that many teachers recommend children memorize or recognize on sight. These words are often difficult to decode because they don’t follow the rules established for decoding English; in other words they are hard to sound out. In the 1930’s a gentleman, by the name of Edward William Dolch, created a list of the 220 most common words found in children’s literature and determined that by recognizing these words children would gain better fluency in their reading.
How will learning sight words benefit my child?
Children should begin recognizing whole words in order to achieve reading fluency. It is important to help them become comfortable with reading, and recognizing these words on sight will build that confidence and hopefully, in the end, a love of reading.
Where can I find a list of sight words?
I have found this website to be extremely helpful in providing information, lists, and activities for children Pre-k and up with sight words: Dolch Sight Words
Fun activities using sight words:
- Colored paper/card stock
- Magic/permanent marker
- Fly swatter
- Sight word circles (To make sight word circles, trace circles that are at least 2 1/2 inches in diameter onto your colored paper. Cut them out with your scissors, and write sight words on them)
Each of the following activities will use these sight word circles. Keep them in view so that your child can practice reading the sight words at any time.
- Use the circles to introduce a few sight words each week.
- Make a Word-a-pillar by taping the sight word circles to a convenient location at your child’s eye level so he or she can view and practice reading them.
- Throughout the week have your child read the sight words to you. Mix them up so your child doesn’t memorize the sight words’ position on the Word-a-pillar.
- Add new words every week or when your child is comfortable with the set on the Word-a-pillar. Keep the old ones on as a review.
- Using the sight word circles from your Word-a-pillar, position the circles on a table that is a comfortable height for your child.
- Call out the sight words that you are learning for the week and have your child swat the matching circles with the fly swatter.
- Continue to add sight words as your child learns them.
Sight word Bingo
- Create a Bingo card by using this link. Insert some of the Word-a-pillar sight words that you are working on for the week.
- Ask your child to cover each word that you call out with the matching sight word circle or some other type of marking device (bingo dabbers, markers, quarters, buttons, rocks – anything will do!)
- You can play bingo in various ways:
- In a row – horizontally, vertically, diagonally
- Four Corners – each square in the corner is covered
- Blackout – cover the entire card
- Square – four blocks are covered forming a square
- Kite – four blocks are covered forming a square and then the blocks diagonal from the square are covered forming a kite
- Outside square – all the blocks on the outside of the card are covered leaving the inner blocks empty
Sight Word Memory
- For this game you will need to double up your sight word circles so that you have two of each word.
- Place the circles face down.
- Have your child choose two circles. If they match he or she wins the pair! If they don’t match, turn them back over and play again.
- The game concludes when all the matches have been found.
Check out these great books and DVD’s at the Chesapeake Public Library
Reading together, also known as shared reading, is the most important way you can prepare your child for reading. By reading together you will increase your child’s vocabulary and general knowledge. Children learn how print looks and how to use books properly (i.e. front to back/left to right).
Engaging in simple activities that involve talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing help children get ready for school. Children who enter kindergarten with pre-reading skills have greater success throughout their school years.
Children’s Literacy Classes available at the Chesapeake Public Library are free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information about our literacy classes please visit our website at infopeake.org or check out The LOOP.