Step 4: Memorizing Sight Words
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Your child learned the names of the alphabet letters in Step 1. In Step 2 you helped your child learn the sounds the letters make. Then in Step 3 you showed your child how to build and sound out 3 letter words. Now in Step 4 you will help your child memorize sight words.
What Are Sight Words?
Sight words are words that commonly appear on any given page of text. They are words like:
…and so on. Reading Kingdom has a list of the Top 100 Sight Words, click here to print off their free list (PDF format). These Words are meant to be memorized and read on sight (hence the name “sight words”). Some of them are not meant to be sounded out because of their difficult pronunciations.
Successful reading requires being able to sound out words and being able to recognize and recall words from memory. These two skills build on each other in a positive way. As your child breaks down how to say words learned by sight they will become more familiar with the rules and patterns of the English language. As your child memorizes sight words, their vocabulary will become more extensive and their ability and desire to read will grow. Learning both of these skills will help your child become a more confident reader.
How To Learn Sight Words
Find a fun learning tool to use for this step. This could be a game, flash cards, a workbook, or an app. Basically any learning tool that involves auditory, visual, and/or tactile exposure (for more explanation on these learning modalities see Step 1). In this step your child won’t be sounding the words out in order to read them. Tell your child what the words are and help them practice recognizing the words until they have them memorized.
The idea is to help your child create a visual memory for a word (how it looks and what it says) so that when they run into it while reading they can recall it from memory instead of needing to sound it out. The more words your child learns by sight the less they will need to sound words out.
Hint: At first your child will be frustrated with how slowly they read. The more sight words they know the better because it will help them to feel like they are reading quickly.
Once you’ve had some fun learning sight words with your child you have completed Step 4! Now you are ready to move on to Step 5.