Sight Words Training

by | Aug 18, 2018 | 0 comments

What Are Sight Words?

Sight Words are whole words that appear frequently in most of the texts kids read, but cannot be easily sounded out. Like you, your student runs into Sight Words over and over, and may see them in print dozens of times in a single day. So, learning to recognize Sight Words — you guessed it, by sight — helps your student progress and become a confident reader. The words become etched in their memory, and your student can flow through the sentences without stopping to figure out the meaning of each word. (To better understand how Sight Words help us flow through text, read the passage at the end of this module.)

Hundreds of Sight Words are embedded in the adult memory; but, your student is just getting started. Here are some ways to help your student recall basic sight words to improve reading!

How to Teach Sight Words

Lead to Read volunteers use three, easy, research-based techniques to help students learn this fundamental component of reading — Sight Words. Each student will have a set of Sight Word flashcards to practice for about five minutes, at the start of each session. Choose three to five words to focus on each week.

1. The “See and Say” Method

Repetition is key to helping your student memorize the sight word. Ask your student to say the word out loud while simultaneously underlining it, with his/her finger, for visual reinforcement. This will help your child to focus on the word and memorize it.

  • Hold the card at your student’s eye level and ask him/her to repeat and underline the word, with their finger, several times.
  • Have your child spell the word out loud with the sight card. Repeat spelling the word several times; this will allow him/her to memorize how it is constructed.
  • Use the word in a sentence to deepen their comprehension of it.
  • Occasionally, you can review previous sets to ensure your child remembers the words.
2. Practice Sight Words In Context

Young readers need to see the word in actual print, surrounded by other words, separated by spaces. When you come to a word, in the book you are reading, that contains one of the sight words for that week, make sure your student recognizes the sight word.*

  • When your finger lands on one of the sight words as you or s/he is reading, have your student snap his fingers or high-five you. (something kinesthetic).
  • When your student spots a sight word, ask him to use his finger to draw an imaginary box around the sight word and repeat saying it aloud.
  • Praise your student for finding the word in print.

*If your student does not recognize the sight word, give clues, like “Ah! Look here! Is this one of your sight words for today? Let’s find out. Can you match this word to one of your flash cards?”

3. Make Learning Sight Words Fun!

Research suggests that children actually learn better by making mistakes than by not making them! Because you want your student to enjoy reading, when s/he makes a mistake strive to keep it light and positive. We achieve this by emphasizing the right answer, as opposed to criticizing the error.

  • Use expressions like, “You’re very close! The word is ‘away’; a-w-a-y.”
  • Or, “Hey, Buddy, no big deal. Let’s try this one again.”
  • Let them know that you approve of them no matter what.
  • Praise them for accepting their mistake and trying to learn from it.
  • Give them examples of some of your own mistakes, and how you learned from them.
  • Don’t bring up their past mistakes; focus on their improvement and resiliency.
Example: How Sight Words Help Us Flow Through Text

“It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”

That’s right, we read memorized words as whole words. Our minds do not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole!


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