Literacy is one of the most important foundational skills that is developed during the preschool ages. After all, learning to read becomes one of the most important activities in our adult lives, and most of us do it without even thinking about it. So, exactly how does a preschool-aged child begin to read?
Along with letter recognition and phonics, preschool-aged children who are beginning to learn to read should begin to learn sight words. Sight words are words that appear frequently in books and other texts but that may be a little bit complicated to sound out using phonetic skills. Sight words can be memorized so that the child easily recognizes the word as they come across it within a text.
As your child moves through various grades, he or she will be expected to learn a certain number of sight words each year. By the time your child is in third grade, he or she will know an average of 300 words based solely on the number of sight words he/she has learned. The common preschool appropriate sight words are:
This sample list is a good place to start, but you may also add in other words that your child may frequently see or hear. His/her name, for example, the dog’s name, any names of siblings. You might choose to include the name of your city or the place you vacation. In general, any word that your child is frequently exposed to can and should be included in his/her sight words.
Having the list of sight words to cover is really only part of the battle. You may be wondering how on earth you should tackle the massive list of sight words you have compiled. Begin by choosing just two or three sight words to work on at first. As time progresses, simply add more words to your list. You should never allow sight words to fall of your list, rather continue adding new words to list over time.
Any time that you are reading a book with your child, stop to point out his/her sight words as you encounter them. You might even ask you child to read the sight word aloud to strengthen his/her understanding of the word.
Using flash cards is a great way to practice sight words. Kids enjoy flash cards and they are a great resource for preparing kids for kindergarten. You may also consider sensory bin play or even creating a game out of sight word recognition.
Sight words are a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to teaching a child to read. Take it slow. At preschool age, many kids are still in a pre-reading phase. Do not feel the need to rush a child who is not getting it.