If you are having trouble teaching sight words, you are probably trying to introduce too many at one time. And probably, you aren’t making the lesson fun, so your pupils are not engaged. So here are some guidelines to teach sight words, the high-frequency words a child sees all the time when learning to read.
Tips to successfully teach sight words
– Use big letter flashcards in lower case. Use different colours and props, like a fly swatter, to hit the card you say.
– Teach letter sounds, not letter names. For example, teach the sound ‘a’ as in cat, not the letter’s name ‘a’ as in ape.
–Show a couple of sounds and have kids say them. Then, ask kids to guess which sound you will show next.
– Play musical flashcards with the sounds.
– Make up and sing a tune with the sight words in it and add some actions.
– Make up an action for each sound – it might be to form the letter with your body or mime a word that goes with that sound.
– Repeat, revise, play more games, and gradually feed in new sounds. Spend several lessons on the same five or six sounds or words. Repetition is the mother of skill.
– Go through the words in the same order. Start to mix up the order as the pupils become familiar with the sounds.
– Start blends like b+a=ba.
– Play sorting games, posting all one sound through the slot of a tissue box.
– Have fun with Snap, finding matching pairs of sounds. Then, find the odd one out from a pile of sounds.
– Play hide and seek and hunt out the sound the teacher calls.
Tracing around words, drawing pictures of items and labelling them, doing worksheets where you circle the matching sounds, etc., are all valuable activities.
Games to make teaching fun and effective
Sight words to teach first
These are some of the first sight words I would teach because they are so common:
I, am, see, a, can, we, in, the, and, go, to, like, said, you, is, it, here, come, up, this, my, look, at, me, on.
There are plenty of sight words lists online for kindergarten and first grade. Just type “list of sight words” into your browser to find a selection. For example, here is a list proposing the first 100 sight words.
All the best,
Shelley Ann Vernon,
Teaching English Games