What are Sight Words and How do you Help Your Child Master Them?
When it comes to reading, some words are easier than others to sound out and read aloud. However, sight words can be hard to decipher and recognize, but they are critical for children to know to improve their reading skills.
What are sight words?
Sight words are words that occur frequently in written language that your child should know automatically. They sometimes don’t follow the rules of phonics, which means they aren’t spelled the way they sound. Children are encouraged to automatically recognize these words since decoding them can be challenging. That’s why helping your child build a solid foundation of sight words can help them become better readers over time.
To give you a better idea of what exactly a sight word is, some examples include: was, what, the, could, of, much, those, been, to. Oftentimes, these words cannot be illustrated through pictures which makes it even more difficult for children to understand what they mean. To learn more about the list of sight words, check out the Fry Word List and the Dolch Word List.
Why are sight words important?
Learning sight words is important because not only do they improve your child’s reading skills, knowing these words can improve their confidence. These words are so common that they are guaranteed to be found in other resources your child sees each day. As your child recognizes more sight words, they will be eager to read and understand in other academic subjects and materials found in their day-to-day life.
If your child struggles with sight words, they may become frustrated or unmotivated to continue. This can impact their learning in all subjects as they have a hard time understanding the context of different materials.
How can you help your child master these words?
If your child is struggling to learn sight words, there are a few things you can do to help support their reading progress.
Keep in mind that progress may be slow as your child begins to recognize these words with repetition. It helps to wait until words are mastered before introducing new words. This will prevent them from feeling overwhelmed and keep them motivated to continue learning. Here are some ways to help your child master sight words:
Learning sight words can be challenging. Create fun, interactive games to keep your kids motivated and engaged. These will also make it feel less intimidating and encourage them to stay motivated with learning. Some games include:
- Bingo: You can tell a short story using the words on the board or you can simply call out the word for your child to find. Make sure they read all the words they have in the line and then reward them with a prize to help them stay motivated!
- Go Fish: Create your own cards by writing two matching sets of word cards. This can help your child practice reading and speaking words by trying to get the most matches.
- Word Find: Write the words on colorful slips of paper and post these around the house. Have your child read the words aloud when they find them. Extra bonus for having them create sentences with the sight words collected.
Start a notebook to write out sight words and create a story together:
For example, if you use the word “the,” you can help finish the sentence with them. You can get creative with this by establishing a theme, having them draw pictures and build a story with the sentences you write!
Create and sing songs:
Sometimes a catchy song can drastically improve the ability to remember something. To teach five letter sight words, a common song used is B-I-N-G-O. You can find some songs online, sing words to the tunes you already know (like BINGO), or even create your own songs with your child to help them remember new words.
Read books together:
Reading books together is a great way to practice recognizing, reading and understanding how sight words are written. If your child is having trouble reading the words, it helps to read aloud to your child, read together, and then have them read it aloud on their own. For a list of books that your child might enjoy, check out the Kumon Recommended Reading List (RRL).
Kumon Reading Program:
The Kumon Reading Program is designed to help your child at their own pace. They will begin at the level they are comfortable with and new material will be introduced each day to build their reading skills. The program builds off the foundation of these words into other topics necessary to truly become a great reader! Learn more about the Kumon Reading Program and how to get started.
Sight words may be a challenge, but do not feel discouraged if your child is struggling. When it comes to learning, each child progresses at their own pace. With extra support and motivation to learn sight words, you can help them build a strong foundation of reading skills. Establishing a solid understanding of sight words will not only improve their reading capabilities but will also increase their confidence to continue learning in school and throughout their day-to-day activities.