Beginning readers use a lot of different ways to become more fluent readers. One of the most important ways to do that is to be able to read and recognize sight words. These are basic words are memorized rather than sounded out.
What Are Sight Words?
Sight words refer to the words that are most frequently used and repeated in books, which is why sight words are also sometimes referred to as “high-frequency” words. The same words are also sometimes called “core words” and “popcorn words.” The phrase "popcorn words" refers to the fact that students should be able to just pop those words out every time they see them.
It’s estimated that same 100 or so words make up more than 50 percent of the text that students read. It sounds rather implausible until you consider that sight words are often the small, easily recognizable words like “a, I, or, and, the” and so forth.
A sight vocabulary is a list of words that the individual reader knows by sight, without having to decode them or do any kind of word analysis.
Activities to Learn Sight Words
You can work with your child to develop sight word recognition, and teachers also use various methods in the classroom.
Flashcards: You can print flashcards to use for the assigned sight word list or purchase sets of flashcards recommended for different grade levels.
Sight Words Games: Sight words bingo can be played with printable bingo cards or making up your own. Students will become familiar with the words while playing the game, and you can reward them to make it fun. Sight words hangman is an easy game to enjoy with one or more students. Other ideas include playing Go Fish with sets of sight word cards, memory games, bean bag toss games, and laying out sight words in a pathway to follow.
Word Catchers: This activity uses a fly-swatter with a window cut out. When you are reading with the child, race to see who can catch one of the sight words first with the word catcher. You can decide on one or more words to target, and use a favorite book or a magazine or newspaper.
Sight Word Beach Ball Toss: Mark a sight word on each section of an inflatable beach ball, then toss the ball around a circle of children to read the word that is facing them when they catch it.