They are called “sight words” because children should immediately recognize them when they see them. The first step in acquiring reading skills in kindergarten and beyond will focus on sight words. Therefore, if your child is about to start pre-k, why not use this opportunity to begin teaching some sight words progressively.
What Are Sight Words?
Sight words are the most commonly used words, and most of them are short one to two syllables.
Although children will learn many different sight words during their elementary school years, 100 sight words in our language are commonly used and that you can start focusing on if you are in pre-k.
Here is an example:
These words are easily recognizable, and most of them cannot be associated with pictures and do not follow the basic phonics principles. Hence the need to memorize words the way they appear at sight. The goal is to recognize a sight word within three seconds.
Why Are Sight Words Important?
Sight words can boost self-esteem and confidence to ease into reading smoothly. When children become more comfortable with sight words, they can recognize them faster and spend less time on those once they learn to read. Hence, they can devote more time to decoding more complex words.
Therefore, learning sight words during pre-k can help prepare for kindergarten and offer a smoother transition and slight advance in the kindergarten curriculum if it emphasizes reading.
Although young children can memorize and recognize some sight words, there are ways to help this apprenticeship.
How to Learn Sight Words?
Make it fun and keep it like that.
That’s the best tip for learning sight words.
Children engage and learn better when they have fun. So, use the entire toolbox of fun activities and do not hesitate to create some of your own.
Use flashcards, blocks, cut letters, or other manipulatives, and play games. If you run out of ideas, try to browse Pinterest, there is a lot of age-appropriate content that you can use for young children.
The most important is to multiply the activities but keep them short, not more than five to ten minutes - Young children have a short attention span. Do not try to learn too many sight words at a time. Instead, focus on one sight word.
The other good advice is to practice and practice again.
As mastership comes with practice, the more you practice, the better you become. It is also true for sight words.
Therefore, creating a routine and opportunities around sight word learning is your best bet. The most important is not to overwhelm young children.
If a child struggles to remember a newly introduced sight word, continue practicing that sight word until it is mastered. By all means, refrain from introducing new sight words that will produce confusion and stress.
Young children can start learning sight words and build knowledge and skills that will help them learn to read. However, keep your objectives and expectations age-appropriate, respecting children's cognitive development.
Introduce sight words progressively in a fun and engaging manner using fun games. Keep the games short and focus on one sight word at a time until that sight word is fully mastered. You will be surprised by what young children can achieve with the proper support, and if you need help, connect with our team.
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Willowdale Children's Academy is a child care agency located in Chester County, PA, specialized in early learning with schools in Chadds Ford, Kennett Square, Avondale, and West Chester, PA. We offer programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, after school care, and summer camps.