Sight Words: Everything You Need to Know
These are words easily identified as soon as a child sees them. Words such as the, and, and it appear so frequently that beginning readers don’t need to try to sound them out anymore. Sight words are crucial for a child to master because they’re believed to represent 50 to 75 percent of all vocabulary utilized at a grade school level.
There’re two most popular sets of sight words: The Dolch Sight Words list developed by educator Dr. Edward William Dolch and the Fry Sight Words list developed by Dr. Edward Fry.
Developing a large base of sight words helps students in many different ways.
The first 100 sight words make up around 50 percent of English text. Therefore, a child who has already developed a strong list of sight words can easily recognize at least half of a sentence. If the child starts to read a book and can readily recognize lots of words, chances are they won’t feel discouraged and put it down.
Sight words help to promote reading comprehension. When a child opens their book for the first time, they can shift the attention to focus on the words they aren’t familiar with instead of trying to decipher the meaning of all the words. As they already know at least half of the words, focusing on the other half aids in bolstering their understanding of the text.
Sight words help students get clues to the text’s context. If a child is familiar with the sight words, they might decode the meaning of the sentence or paragraph by reading the sight words.
Some sight words don’t follow phonics rules, so students need to learn to recognize them automatically. Therefore, teachers need to explicitly teach sight words and encourage students to repeatedly practice with sight words to develop their sight words base. This is particularly true for words with irregular spellings that children need to memorize. Some children may need additional support to make progress, particularly with sight words. Parents can help by designating a place to display the words their children have mastered. They can also use multisensory techniques to help the kids master sight words. Game playing is another effective way to help children learn sight words. Games are fun and engaging, and kids often don’t realize how much they’re learning when they’re having fun playing a game with a family member or friend.