Increase Your Child\\\'s Reading Proficiency Through Sight Words
May 10, 2010 Reading 2724 Views
You may have heard educators mention the phrase "sight words" or "high frequency words". Do you know what they are or how they can help your child with reading? If not, you're not alone.
Sight words, sometimes referred to as high frequency words, occur frequently in the English language. They can comprise between 50-75% of text, making them important to learn. They are often exceptions to phonetic analysis and many are service words that do not provide a visual image. For example, can you picture an image for the words "of" or "the"?
Learning sight words can help your child become a better reader. Studies show that children who have a good grasp of sight words can increase their reading fluency (the rate at which they read), and reading comprehension. When your child spends less time sounding words out, he or she will have a better understanding of the material read.
Typically, children are taught a list of sight words at school that coordinate with their grade-level, or language arts program. If your child is school-age, ask for the list that the teacher is using. Otherwise, you can refer to commonly used lists such as Dolch Sight Words or Fry's Instant Word List.
You can begin teaching your child sight words before mastery of letter sounds, or alongside the learning of letter sounds. Knowing a few will allow your child to read simple and predictable stories, allowing him or her to practice and build confidence in reading.
Games and activities can promote sight word knowledge in a fun, easy way. Start with 2-3 basic words. You don't have to teach them in order. It's actually more helpful to choose ones that form a simple sentence such as, "I", "like" and "the" or "I", "see" and "my". Introduce additional words after your child has mastered the previous ones.
15 Fun Games & Activities
1. Read sight word stories.
2. Label common objects in your home, or child's bedroom, such as bed, door, lamp, dresser, etc. This is easily accomplished using index cards and a black marker.
3. Play a sight word bingo game. As a variation, use a wet erase marker to trace the words, instead of using plastic makers when it is called out. This works best on laminated bingo cards.
4. Use Sight Word & Picture Cards to build sentences.
5. Create a picture dictionary that contains familiar items, objects, animals, or colors and label the words. This can be a great reference for future writing activities.
6. Practice spelling with magnets on your refrigerator, or metal cookie sheet.
7. Lay out an array of familiar word cards. Instruct your child to point to the words as you say them
aloud. This is a great way to assess your child's mastery.
8. Play a word search game after reading a story. Ex. Point to the word "for". Can you find the word "like" on this page? How many times can you find the word "blue" on this page?
9. Turn dead-time into a learning-time. Car games such as I Spy can help your child practice sight word recognition on the road.
10. Write stories and illustrate them. Ex. I love my mom. I love my dad. I love my cat. I love my grandma. Wouldn't Grandma love to receive that in the mail?
11. Create puzzles on tag board or blank puzzles from the craft store.
12. Play a game of concentration. Print two sets of sight word cards on your computer to create a matching pair. Laminate or cover with clear Contact paper for durability.
13. Play a game of Sight Word Snowman (a friendlier version than its Hangman predecessor). Guess the correct word, by guessing the letters, before the snowman is complete!
14. Develop fill-in-the-blank game. I like ___ dog. (the, or, to) or ___ can go play. (We, Have) It may seem simple, but helps children analyze which word makes sense in the sentence.
15. Find or develop easy sight word search games to reinforce learning.
Games and activities can make learning fun and enjoyable for your child. Use flash card drills sparing and your child will thank you with cooperation and smiles!