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Children learning to read need to know the sight words, which can be a challenging task for both you and your child.
Sight words are words that are recognized without having to sound them out. In other words, they are “instantly recognizable.” Sight words are those words that don’t necessarily follow the rules of phonics but are still essential for early reading and writing.
In this post, I’m sharing why sight words are important for preschoolers and some tips for teaching them. To make things a little easier, I have compiled a list of sight words at the preschool level and provided a free printable to stick up on your fridge at home. You can move on to kindergarten sight words when you are done with these.
What are Sight Words?
Sight words are common words that often appear in written text. They are also sometimes called high-frequency words. Sight words account for up to 75% of children’s printed materials.
Why are Sight Words Important for Preschoolers?
There are many reasons why sight words are important for preschoolers. Here are just a few:
Sight words help with fluency and confidence when reading. When children can quickly recognize sight words, they can focus on comprehending the story rather than decoding each word.
Sight words help with writing. Children who know common sight words can quickly and easily write sentences. This is a great confidence booster!
Sight words are a great way to supplement phonics skills. Phonics alone won’t be enough to figure out all words. That’s where sight words come into play.
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Preschool Sight Words List
Dr. Edward William Dolce, an esteemed educator, published a list of preschool sight words in his book “Problems in Reading” back in 1948. He became known as “The Father of Sight Words,” and his popular sight words list are still incorporated today.
The following are 40 sight words for pre-kindergarten students to know:
Preschool Sight Words Printables
We have created a printable PDF of all 40 Dolch sight words for your tot. The list is organized in alphabetical order. Place it somewhere you can view it easily and go through the sight words frequently with your child until they remember all of the sight words.
Download the PDF here: Preschool Sight Words PDF Download
How to Teach Sight Words to Preschool Students
Here are some tips when teaching preschool sight words:
- Start with the one and two-lettered sight words
- Add a new word each day and practice daily
- Try not to introduce words that look similar to one another at the same time
- Make sure to keep practicing and revising the keywords you’ve already learned.
- Use visual stimuli and cues to help kids learn
- Use sandboxes, shaving cream or some other fun activity to help kids spell the words
Sight Word Games and Activities for Preschool
You can play many activities and games to keep your child’s interest when learning the sight words.
Sight Words Swat
Cut out the sight words on pieces of card. Call out the word and have your child whack it with a fly swatter!
Sight Word Board Game
Create a board game with sight words on each square or find one online. Take turns rolling the dice and reading the words you land on. The first player to reach the finish line wins!
Find the Sight Words in The Text
This is a great way to help kids learn to read sight words in context. Read a short paragraph out loud and have them circle all the sight words they can find.
Write The Words in Sand
Put some sand in a lunchbox or similar. Have the child trace a sight word in the sand. Alternatively, you could try this with shaving cream, rice, paint, marker or chalk.
You can find printable bingo boards online or make your own. Call out the words and have the kids put a marker on the square if they have that word. The first person to get five in a row wins!
Wear a Sight Word Bracelet
Write one sight word on a paper wristband and wear it proudly!
Sight Word Apps
Apps can be a very effective way for children to learn new sight words. Learning experts design and optimize them to suit all reading levels.
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Is Sight Word Teaching Effective?
Some educators believe that teaching sight words is an effective way to help children learn to read, while others believe that teaching phonics is more effective. It would be best to incorporate both sight words and phonics (sounding out the words) to help kids read.
How to Teach Sight Words Effectively
For sight words to be effective, consider the following:
Consider purchasing Leapfrog Letter Factory’s DVD to teach the sounds in a fun and memorable way.
It’s important to concentrate on the letters within the word, their arrangement, and the child’s pronunciation of the term in order to teach sight words effectively.
Repetition and Feedback
Sight words should be practiced frequently, and positive feedback helps encourage the child. Preschoolers can practice sight words every day until they memorize the words.
Teaching sight words is an effective way to help children learn to read. You can help kids read more easily by incorporating sight words and phonics. Make sure to practice frequently, play games and activities, and give positive feedback so your child will be encouraged to keep learning.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.