You probably have no recollection of learning how to read simple words like ‘the’, ‘is’, ‘it’, and such. You probably don’t even take note of these words it while reading full sentences. However, learning these words, often referred to say ‘sight words’, can be quite a challenge for children to learn. Children are encouraged to memorize these words by sight so they can recognize them automatically without having to sound them out.
Teaching sight words for grade 1 or any primary grade level takes time and effort, but with the right tools, children will be able to read sight words automatically. This will help them to become more fluent readers as they progress through school. As per experts, it is healthy for children to master 20 sight words by the end of kindergarten and a 100 sight words by the end of grade 1. However, achieving this goal is dependant on a number of factors such as readiness, motivation, and memory skills, to name a few.
More about sight words
Before we share some tips on how to teach sight words, let’s understand what these words really are.
- Most sight words are words that do not fit standard phonetic patterns and must be memorized
- Sight words make up a large percentage (up to 75%) of the words used in primary reading material
- Although the Dolch word list, which contains a total of 315 sight words is the most common source of sight words, there are over 1,000 sight words from various sources
- The next most common sight words list is the Fry 1,000 instant word list
- Sight words is a supplement to phonics instructions and not a substitute
So, how do you make learning sight words fun and effective for our young learners? Here’s a few tips to teaching basic sight words for grade 1 and other primary grades.
- Explain the meaning of sight words. It’s easy to just read out a few words to children, however, they need to understand what it means, especially in the context of a sentence. In addition, they should be encouraged to come up with their own sentences as examples (either written or orally) to truly grasp its meaning.
- Draw a child’s attention to sight words repeatedly. For example, while reading a book draw a child’s attention to sight words by pointing out the word and talking about it. Repeat exposure is key for sight words to be absorbed.
- Make it an activity. By involving all the senses and making it more of an activity than a task will help children retain sight words in their long-term memory. It is important to incorporate auditory, visual, and tactile activities to help reinforce sight words for different learners.
- Get the right tools and sight words programs. Essential Skills offers two interactive sight words programs for K-2 and grades 2-4. The first level Sight Words program teaches students the main 220 Dolch sight words, plus more than 100 other high-frequency words. The second level Sight Words program teaches the next 400 words that have the highest frequency in the English language.
Teaching sight words for grade 1 and other primary grades, can be fun! If you need resources for your classroom, check out Essential Skills K-2 Sights Words program, and Sight Words Level 2 for grades 2-4. These programs offers everything you need to begin an engaging, effective and successful sight words program in your classroom.