“One of the most important ways for a beginner reader to become a fluent reader is to be able to read & recognize sight words”
What are sight words?
Sight words refer to the words that are most frequently used and repeated in books. Emerging readers need to be able to identify words automatically (sight words) and have effective strategies for decoding unknown words (the reading toolbox).
What are the benefits of a child learning sight words?
- Sight word recognition builds confidence
- When a child is able to recognise over half the words in a sentence their confidence starts to soar.
- Sight word recognition improves fluency
- When a child is able to recognise over half the words in a sentence their reading fluency improves.
- Sight word recognition assists the decoding process
- Once a child can recognise many sight words they can spend energy on decoding the more difficult words using their ‘reading toolbox’.
- Sight words are not easy to phonetically decode
Some sight words are not phonetically regular and it is better for a child to memorise these words to aid reading fluency and pronunciation. The following 11 sight words appear frequently in sentences and are phonetically irregular – ‘the’ ‘of’ ‘a’ ‘to’ ‘you’ ’was’ ‘on’ ‘are’ ‘they’ ‘have’ ‘from’.
Sight words benefit second language learners. The more sight words an English second language learner knows the better their reading chances.
How does a child learn sight words?
Sight word retention requires practise and repetition. The best way to achieve this without boring a young child is through games and sensory play. It’s repetition using diversity.