Sight words do not follow phonics rules. They are irregularly spelled words that children need to recognize on sight. High frequency words such as I, he, in, on - can be sounded out, but they occur so frequently in text that they too need to be recognized on sight. Both are taught and referred to as sight words. At the end of kindergarten, children are expected to know 30 sight words. This number increases in first -third grade ultimately requiring children to recognize 200+ sight words (11 word lists). Recognition of these words will increase your child's reading fluency.


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    Understand the importance of sight words (irregularly spelled words and high frequency words). Sight words are used repeatedly in children’s reading books. Sight word competency is a major factor in a child’s ability to read fluently. These words should be read without hesitation. If your child slows down or stops to sound them out, his/her reading will become laborious instead of fluent

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    Make or buy sight word cards

    • Make flash cards using labels and index cards or
    • Purchase pre-made sight word cards found in educational stores, Staples, Target and other department stores.
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    Introduce one list at a time. There are 11 lists of sight words that increase in difficulty. Remember these words are to be recognized on sight, not sounded out phonetically.

    • Begin by reading each word in the list to your child.
    • Next, read each word with your child.
    • Repeat this several times over a few days.
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    Practice words in isolation. Repetition is key to learning sight words. Games are a fun way to provide this repetition. Below are two fun games!

    • Sight Word Bingo
      • Select the sight words you want your child to practice. Write nine sight words on each bingo card.
      • Have your child draw the top card from a stack of sight word cards.
      • Have your child read the sight word.
      • Players who have the sight word on their bingo card will place a marker on top of that word.
      • The first player to have three words covered with markers, horizontally, vertically or diagonally wins the game.
    • Match Game
      • Select the sight words you want your child to practice. Matching cards are needed for each word.
      • Read the cards with your child and then shuffle them.
      • Place all cards face down on a flat surface.
      • Have your child turn over a card and read the sight word. Have your child turn over a second card and read the sight word. If the sight words match, your child keeps them. If they don't match, your child places them face down, and then you take your turn.
      • Continue alternating turns between players (child and parent) until all the cards are gone.
      • Players count their cards and the player with the most cards wins!
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    Practice words in content. Recognizing sight words in isolation should transfer to reading sight words in connected text. This practice will help your child make the connection between sight words and their meaning in print.

    • Highlight words in sentences. Create or find text with several of the sight words your child is practicing. With your child read each sentence, then have him/her highlight, circle, or point to each sight word read.
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    Time your child reading a list of sight words. The goal is for your child to read the entire list within 1 minute. Begin by saying each word to your child and then having your child repeat the word. Next, have your child read each word independently. As your child reads the words, put those read correctly in one stack, and those read incorrectly in a separate stack.

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    Provide additional practice with the words that your child read incorrectly.Make a list of the words your child needs extra practice with. Have your child write each word several times using an Expo pen and a white board. Erase the words and then have your child write them again.

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    Timed reading. After practicing words read incorrectly, have your child complete another timed read following the same procedure. Once your child has mastered this list continue to the next list and repeat the above steps. The video below consists of a timed sight word read using list 4 (approximately 3rd month of 1st grade).

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