In the battle of the sensory biases, researchers have shown that the eyes win out over the ears when it comes to seeing which one the brain believes more. That’s good news for teachers and educators who are tasked with teaching young students how to read and recognize words by simply seeing them. Research shows that in addition to phonemic awareness and phonics, vocabulary is a key component of teaching children to read. The best way to build vocabulary at an early level is by teaching sight words for grade 1 and kindergarten.
Why Implementing a Sight Words Program Is So Effective
Using a sight words program is common practice simply because it’s an effective way to engage with young students. Sometimes referred to as “high-frequency words,” sight words are common words students might see in multiple age-appropriate resources many times a day. Teaching sight words for grade 1 and kindergarten is a wonderful way to help students read more fluently and potentially write more efficiently. There are many different approaches for teaching with sight words. Here are some good examples that can be incorporated into any classroom.
1. Be creative in your presentation
Incorporate your primary sight words into a song or an original story. Replace the words in familiar children’s songs with sight words; the association will help students develop stronger clarity. If you create a story that weaves your students’ names or experiences into the narrative, you can also integrate sight words they can read or spell. Any time you can attach visuals to the word it helps to reinforce meaning. When singing, it’s also effective to use a sight word in place of the actual song lyric. Do this for different words throughout the song.
2. Use manipulatives in a positive manner
Regardless of your content, whether it’s story-based or song-based, try mixing up words and letters. Have students identify what’s wrong or have them rearrange sight words that are displayed wrong. End the lesson with the proper spelling to reinforce the correct way to spell and say the word.
3. Have students go hunting for words
Students need to see high frequency words in proper context. That means encouraging them to look through materials to find the words. This can be done during independent reading time or through the use of sight word strategies for the entire group. Seeing and identifying words can be a fun game that allows teachers to acknowledge success. Word search is one of several fun and engaging activities found in the Essential Skills Sight Words programs.
4. Use skywriting to engage students
In front of the entire classroom, try using giant letter strokes to have students visualize letters and words. This is a good example of a kinesthetic way of teaching how a sight word looks in print.
5. Add Essential Skills Sight Words programs to your arsenal of teaching tools. Essential Skills programs are easily integrated into any classroom and offer a fun and engaging alternative to help young students develop better reading skills.