If the goal is to help our children become successful readers, then sight words are a HUGE key in achieving that goal!
Sight words, also called high frequency words, are commonly used words that must be recognized by sight, rather than using decoding strategies to “sound them out.” These words have unusual spelling patterns and cannot be represented using pictures; therefore, young readers can’t rely on some of the core reading strategies that they commonly use to read the text. So what’s a reader to do??
It sounds crazy, but I can distinctly remember being in my first grade classroom during reading time and getting stuck on the word, “the.” It was the very first word of the text and I couldn’t remember how to “sound it out.” While the other students around me were well into their books, I was feeling frustrated and embarrassed!
“The” is a sight word! The astounding thing is that sight words account for up to 75% of the words used in beginning children’s print materials! One can quickly see the great advantage a beginning reader has in being able to recognize sight words automatically. They will be able to identify the majority of the words in the text without having to stop and decode every single word!
So where can I find these sight words!?!
The truth is, there are a number of lists out there, but the most common are the Dolch sight word lists, and the Fry lists. Dr. Fry expanded on the Dolch lists and research and published a book titled “Dr. Fry’s 1000 Instant Words.” Now, before you hyperventilate, you don’t need to teach your Kindergarten student 1000 words before school starts! What Dr. Fry found is that,
- 25 words make up approximately 1/3 of all items published
- 100 words make up approximately 1/2 of all the words found in publications
In our school district, “Fry’s List” of 100 sight words was the standard for 1st grade readers to learn by the end of the year. If you’d like to get in some practice with these words, download the list for free!
If you’d just like a “Top 20,” more like a “Top 30,” to work on this summer with a little one heading to Kindergarten, here is a Kindergarten Sight Word List:
Here are a few ideas for teaching sight words!
1. Create a Sight Word Sticker Book
(Earn a sticker for each sight word mastered)
2. Sight Word Bingo!
3. Colorful Flash Cards
4. Word Search
5. Pudding Art
(Write sight words into chocolate pudding spread on paper – YUM!)
REMEMBER: The aim is to help your child learn in a way that is fun! Use these ideas and think of some of your own! You’ve just been given a BIG KEY to reading success: SIGHT WORDS!