Learning sight words is one of the essential skills needed to become a fluent reader, and there are many sight word activities that can help early readers integrate these crucial words into their vocabulary.
With more than 200 in the English language, sight words are the words that appear most frequently in our reading and writing – words like ‘a’, ‘I’, ‘is’, ‘can’ and so on. Sight words can sometimes be difficult for children to learn as they may not be able to be pictured, with their meaning more contextual. They are also sometimes phonetically irregular, that is, their sound does not consistently match up to their letters. Therefore these words simply need to be memorised and recognised ‘at sight.’
Interestingly, the first 100 high-frequency sight words make up more than 50 per cent of primary level reading texts, so the sooner your child masters these sight words, the more confidence they will have and the faster they will progress toward reading fluency.
To help your child to effectively learn sight words, try some of the following sight words activities:
Children learn through repetition, so as your child learns a new sight word, write the word in large print on a piece of paper and hang it up where your child is likely to see it often. Every time they see this poster, it will reinforce their memory and can also be used as a handy reference point when reading with your child.
Both you and your child have a piece of paper with a list of sight words on it. Write these sight words on individual cards and place them in a box, then take turns drawing them out of the box. If you pull one out that matches your list, you will then have to read the sight word in order to keep it. If you can’t read it or it doesn’t match your list, then you have to put it back in the box. The first to bingo wins.
Have your child make sight words out of play-dough, magnets on the fridge, or building blocks. These are fun ways to keep you child interested whilst learning the construction of sight words. If you’re at the beach, let them try tracing a sight word into the sand.