How to teach my child sight words?

The epic adventure of teaching your child to read can be a rollercoaster. 

Sight words instruction is a fantastic way to support phonics instruction. Phonics assist students with reading in general, but English can be a tricky language to learn solely through phonics. Sight words allow a child to increase their familiarity with the high frequency words he will encounter most often when reading.

What are sight words?

Sight words are the words that appear the most in our reading and writing. These words might not have an “image” that accompanies them. They are high-frequency and must just be memorised to be understood. These words can be difficult for children to memorise if they are solely focused on phonetic awareness. 

What are common sight words?

  1. a
  2. after
  3. again
  4. and
  5. at
  6. away
  7. because
  8. been
  9. before
  10. big
  11. boy
  12. by
  13. came
  14. come
  15. could
  16. dad
  17. didn’t
  18. do
  19. down
  20. for
  21. friend
  22. from
  23. gave
  24. get
  25. girl
  26. give
  27. goes
  28. good
  29. had
  30. have
  31. he
  32. her
  33. him
  34. his
  35. how
  36. I
  37. if
  38. in
  39. into
  40. is
  41. it
  42. like
  43. little
  44. looked
  45. love
  46. made
  47. make
  48. me
  49. mum
  50. my
  51. not
  52. of
  53. off
  54. on
  55. one
  56. our
  57. out
  58. over
  59. people
  60. play
  61. run
  62. said
  63. saw
  64. say
  65. school
  66. see
  67. she
  68. should
  69. so
  70. stayed
  71. that
  72. the
  73. their
  74. them
  75. then
  76. there
  77. they
  78. this
  79. to
  80. too
  81. upon
  82. two
  83. up
  84. us
  85. use
  86. very
  87. was
  88. we
  89. went
  90. were
  91. what
  92. when
  93. where
  94. which
  95. who
  96. why
  97. will
  98. with
  99. you
  100. your

How to support your child with their sight words

Learning words is not just about reading and saying them over and over again until they are committed to memory. Getting creative with sight words helps your child’s understanding and in turn, creates more fluency when reading. 

Here are my top three activities for sight words. 

1. Create a book

Using a program like Canva, you can create a custom book with your child where they can choose pictures that they associate with the word. This creates deep engagement with the words as they learn to associate the word with their book. I like this as a creative tool to really get your child thinking about seeing these words written. 

2. Get handsy

Many children find it easier to learn kinesthetically rather than visually or through audio. A fun way to engage this sense is to have the child make the words using playdough or pipe cleaners. 

3. Read every day

It may sound like a chore, but spending five minutes a day reading is going to pay off in dividends. Try some sight words books and see how your child is beginning to use these sight words more fluently.