12 Easy Tips to Teach Kindergarten Sight Words (Free Download)

Most kindergarten classrooms include daily lessons on new vocabulary words. Part of teaching new words is introducing high frequency words, or sight words. These are words that appear often in text but can be difficult to sound out. Sight words make up a large portion of beginning readers’ vocabularies, so your little one should master them quickly.

If you can spend some time at home teaching or reinforcing these words, you will better prepare your child’s reading journey. Before embarking on this quest, be sure your child is ready. I wouldn’t recommend teaching sight words until your child is five years old and/or can adequately identify all letter-sound relationships.

I have included a list of 12 easy tips to learn sight words. This can give your child a head start in the classroom, or you can use the tips to reinforce what your child is learning in school.

There are many different ways to help young children memorize these words but you want to keep fun and simple, right?

ABC Letters

What are sight words

According to www.readingeggs.com sight words:

  • Appear often in a text.
  • Do not follow the usual spelling rules. They are phonetically irregular, that is, their sound does not consistently match up to their letters.
  • Are mostly adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and the most common verbs. They are the service words in the language. They give meaning and direction to language.
  • Are not easily represented by pictures, for example, ‘the’ and ‘or’.

Readingeggs.com explains that “sight words appear so regularly and makeup such a great amount of all text, that educators recommend students be able to instantly recognize these words so that they can spend their energy decoding the tougher words in a text.” In other words, they are common words that your child needs to memorize. But it doesn’t have to be boring memorization to teach your young ones. There are many fun ways to learn these new words and help to create strong readers.

Many different teaching methods have been developed to help kindergarten students learn sight words, but here are 10 easy tips that you can use at home to give your child a head start in the classroom.

1.Dolch Sight Word List: It is the most frequently used set of sight words. These words comprise 80% of the words you would find in a typical children’s book and 50% of the words found in writing for adults. Once a child knows this list of words, it makes reading much easier, because the child can then focus his or her attention on the remaining words. Okay, so you need the list of words. Grab a free Dolch list here. This check off list is a great tool for you to monitor your child’s progress.

Free Dolch Sight Word Check off

2. Start Small: Select a small group of words to work with daily. Write out the words on flashcards and create a word wall in your house. Make it fun. Get markers and write them out in your child’s favorite color.

Have your child read to you the individual letters to help you make the cards. They love to be a part of their learning. (This is also a great time to review individual sounds.) As the group of words becomes part of your child’s memory, then add more to the next group.

As sight words are introduced, you can add words to the wall. Kindergarten teachers often have a word wall, and it’s a great way for students to learn new words. Not only does it help them to remember the words, but it also gives them a visual cue when they see the word in print. 

3. Use sight word flashcards – Flashcards are a great way to teach and review sight words, as they allow children to see and practice the word at their own pace.

Flashcards provide a quick, easy way for early readers to learn sight words. Simple index cards do the trick. If you want to buy them, they are fairly inexpensive. You can grab them here. They can be used in a variety of ways, such as playing matching games or doing timed quizzes.

And they’re portable, so kids can take them anywhere and review them at their own pace. Best of all, flashcards are an effective way to teach sight words. Studies have shown that using flashcards is one of the most effective methods for teaching kindergarteners to read.

So if you’re looking for a way to help your child succeed in kindergarten, get some flashcards and start learning those sight words!

4. Focus on high-frequency words – Many kindergarten sight words are high-frequency words, meaning they appear frequently in text and often cannot be sounded out phonetically. Focusing on these high-priority words can help your child learn them more quickly.

Give your child a strong foundation by helping them to learn these new words.

5. Incorporate games – Remember you want this to be the BEST experience for your little one. One effective way to help early readers build fluency is to have them play sight word games.

By seeing and saying whole words on a list, they can begin to recognize them by sight, which will help them when they encounter those words in text. There are many common sight word lists available online, or you can create your own based on the words your child is struggling with.

Here are a few fun sight word activities to get you started:

– Memory: Write sight words on small cards or pieces of paper. Lay them out face down and have your child take turns flipping them over, trying to match pairs of words.

– Go Fish: Write sight words on cards and play Go Fish with them, using the words instead of numbers.

– Slapjack: Write sight words on cards and play Slapjack, slapping the card whenever a word is called out that matches one in your hand.

-Sight Word Bingo: This can be fun for the whole family. You can find the game right here.

Look at this cute game!

With a little creativity, you can come up with all sorts of games to help your child master those tricky sight words. Playing any of these games daily is sure to improve their sight word recognition.

6. Read Regularly to Your Child. This not only helps with their fluency and this not only helps with their fluency and comprehension but also exposes them to new vocabulary. Try reading 20 minutes each day.

Research shows that reading 20 minutes per day can greatly improve reading comprehension. According to ELIZABETH BARNES, CHILDREN’S READING FOUNDATION OF THE MID-COLUMBIA.“Reading a minimum of 20 minutes a day allows children’s vocabulary to grow and expand, exposing them to 1.8 million vocabulary words a year.

If you struggle to motivate your child to read, check out my other blog post entitled, “10 Tips to Get Your Child to Put Down their Electronics and Get into A Book.” There are many ways to get your children excited about reading.

Girl Reading

7. Magnetic Words or Shaving Cream to explore sight words. Try a hands-on approach. Use those magnetic letters for the refrigerator and build sight words. Or want to do something really fun? Use shaving cream for kids to write their sight words. Not only it is great fun, your child can practice fine motor skills.

Check out this blog post which contains step by step instructions. This will sure be a hit at home. My kids loved to do this activity. It is easy and fun.

8. Help them identify sight words in the books you read aloud. Build their confidence. When they identify a sight word, praise generously. According to www. iowareadingresearch.org/blog/teaching-sight-words, “The sight words themselves should be drawn from research-based lists and be applied immediately to reading connected text. It is important to remember that sight word drills are not the route to skilled reading ability. Rather, most words become sight words when a reader is able to efficiently process the sound-symbol correspondences of the printed forms (Ehri, 2014). When implementing effective reading instruction, only a small set of words need be taught as sight words. Reading most words should be an effortless act.”

9. Invest in sight word readers to make connections. When shopping stick to Guided Reading Level A. These books are written specifically for young readers focusing on Dolch or Fry Sight word lists I have included a few of my favorites here.

10. Encourage them to echo read. With an easy reader, you read a sentence. Then your child echos you. This is a fun way to get your child engaged.

11. Repeated readings. Reading is an incredibly important skill that is critical for success in school and beyond. At the kindergarten level, repeated reading can be a powerful tool for helping students to become fluent readers.

Fluent readers rely on sight words, which they recognize automatically rather than sounding out one letter at a time. This allows fluent readers to focus on comprehension and engaging with the text, rather than struggling with decoding and word recognition.

In addition to building fluent reading skills, repeated reading can also help students to build their vocabulary and master different genres of writing. Through modeling by the teacher or other fluent readers, students can learn how texts are structured and how different types of sentences are used.

Additionally, through repeated reading, students will have many opportunities to engage with language in new ways, creating original sentences and adding their own ideas to familiar stories. Overall, then, repeated reading provides numerous benefits at the kindergarten level, making it an essential part of any early literacy curriculum.

12. Be patient and keep it fun! They love to learn and talk at this age. The rapid rate in which they will acquire words and language will amaze you. Enjoy the journey. If your child is in preschool and you are on the fence about next year, check out my other post: What Skills Does My Child Need to Start Kindergarten in the Fall?

By following these simple tips, you can help your child master new sight words in no time. Do not spend a lot of time in one day on sight word instruction. Remember, you want to keep it brief (10 minutes) and MAKE connections. Sight words are an important part of a child’s education, and these 10 tips will help your child learn them quickly and easily.

Do you have any other tips to share? Do you have a sight word routine that works? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. I did a lot of these techniques with my youngest son who had some delays. He loved it and I had him reading comfortably well before kindergarten. One of the things we learned in our program was to write the letters really BIG – like 2″ high or more and also to use words that have a lot of visual interest – Elephant or refrigerator is actually easier for a kid to recognize than ball or bat or little short words and that builds their confidence. We had them all over the house and I always kept some cards in my purse for when we were stuck waiting somewhere. That was a fun time for both of us. Now he’s 24 – less fun, but I still love him!

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