young student at desk with site word cards

It may be hard to remember a time when we didn’t know how to read, but for little ones who are just learning, it may not come so easily. One of the ways to get them started is to help them learn the basics. Teachers, parents and caregivers can do this by reading aloud to them, using songs and nursery rhymes, playing games that incorporate words and perhaps most importantly, teaching them sight words.

By keeping things fun, creative and “stress-free,” kids will look forward to learning and embracing their growing command of language as they build on their reading skills.

What Are Sight Words?

Simply put, “sight words” means words that can be and are recognized immediately upon sight. The term refers to a collective set of words that make up a large majority of those that young readers would encounter, such as “the,” “and” or “you,” as they begin to learn to read and write. 

When children can memorize such words and recognize them on sight, they don’t have to sound them out or further process them. This can be a wonderful way to help them learn to read even faster and aid in overall comprehension. So how can we help teach kids sight words?

3 Tips for Teaching Sight Words

The ideas can truly be limitless when it comes to ways to teach sight words, but here are a few tried-and-true tips that have been used to help things click for young readers: 

1. Flashcards

Flashcards can be an excellent way to help kids use memorization to recognize words. Take a set of index cards, or even up the fun factor by choosing a themed set of pre-printed flashcards with their favorite character, and help your little learner grasp those words through repetition. Remember, practice makes perfect!

As a bonus, when you use a themed set, you can give it to your student as a reward for a job well done at the end of the lesson or once the sight words are mastered.

2. Put a finger on it

As is often the case when trying to learn any new skill, it can make all the difference if you have a chance to be hands-on and act out the lesson while putting the new information into practice, rather than just listening and trying to absorb. The same is true for reading and writing. A child can only soak up so much when the teacher is sharing new information, but when the child has a chance to try it out for herself, that’s when the light bulb can really click!

For example, use magnetic letters to have kids put in order to match the sight words you’re working on. You can also use pipe cleaners to bend into the shapes of the letters needed to form the words. Another tip is to have students practice their writing at the same time as they try to spell out the words. A fun incentive could be themed pens or pencils they can keep when finished.

3. Game on

Learning tends to be more effective when it’s fun, so look for ways to teach sight words as part of a game. When kids think they’re playing, they may not even realize how much learning they’re actually doing at the same time.

You can create a game of bingo, word search or crossword puzzle based on sight words, and hand out prizes for completed work. Or set a timer and play toss with balloons or light foam balls that have the words written or taped on them for the children to read aloud when they catch it, and whoever is holding the ball when the timer goes off gets to keep the ball.

Shop Sight Word Reading Rewards

Keep your students engaged and watch both their mastery of sight words and their love of reading grow with a fun supply of student prizes. These can be both practical and whimsical, and can serve as the perfect incentives or rewards for your student’s reading goals. With GEDDES, the options are limitless and can be a creative bonus for both students and teachers. Contact us today or request a school supply catalog and learn more about all the supplies and resources from Raymond Geddes.