Sight Word games

Everything You Need to Know about Sight Words for Kids

Every kindergarten student receives a pack of flash cards that they are supposed to practice at home containing single words. These are sight words to master on their own time because they require additional practice.

There is no way to phonetically sound out a sight word when teaching reading. Students must learn to simply look and recognize these words as being pronounced in a unique way.

Sight words exist because so many words in the English language are borrowed from other languages. We also have coined a lot of our own words - thank you, William Shakespeare.

Over time, words from Middle English have changed in spelling and pronunciation, so what once made sense is now different in the modern linguistic world.

What exactly are sight words?

Examples of sight words include who or the or two. You cannot simply sound them out with basic spelling rules or by knowing the types of syllables. In fact, no amount of phonetic practice will enable you to guess their pronunciation. They simply must be memorized at first for easy recognition and recall.

How are sight words and high-frequency words different?

There is a difference between the two, but the confusion exists because some high-frequency words can also be sight words. High-frequency words are simply those that appear a lot in common speech like number words or articles.

Many fit standard phonetic pronunciation, but some do not. That is where the overlap occurs.

Sight words must be memorized. Many sight words appear frequently in texts that students read, but not all sight words are high-frequency words. The word rhythm is a sight word, but doesn’t necessarily appear a lot unless you’re a musician.

Are there word lists I can use with my child?

There are two well-respected word lists used by educators in the classroom: the Dolch list and the Fry list. Both were developed out of research and interest, and both are great additions to our educational paradigm.

Dolch Word List
Dr. Edward William Dolch developed his list when he became curious about frequently used words in children’s books for kids pre-K through 3rd grade. He realized that the more words occurred, the easier they were for students to learn if they focused on those exclusively.

Fry Word List
Dr. Edward Fry expanded this idea of recurring common words by developing a list for older students in grades 3 through 9. He composed his list of 1,000 words that commonly appear in reading material in the English language.

Typical speech includes these words so often that 90% of them appear in our everyday reading materials.

What is the best way to teach sight words?

Flashcards used to be the old standard, but in today’s modern world there are amazing online games that can help kids have fun while mastering their sight words.

Tablet learning enables kids to practice on-the-go, so sites like Turtle Diary have amazing games that will entertain kids with colorful graphics and engaging sounds while they practice. The fun quotient is high as they practice again and again to master these skills in a variety of different settings.

Practice is really the only way kids can learn sight words, so do what works best for your kids. Turtle Diary offers award-winning sight word games that enable kids to practice with a variety of characters and settings. Learning will never be dull for students who engage while having fun.

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