In order for children to become fluent readers, they must be able to read sight words. Sight words are the mostcommonly used words in the English language. These words are known on sight and recognized instantly. If children know these words by “sight,” reading becomes more fluent and your child can than work to comprehend what he/she has read.
Around 18 months to 3 years, your child is developing environmental print knowledge from the world around him. Think McDonalds, Target, Starbucks, Stop (sign), gas station names, etc. This is a precursor to learning sight words. Encourage your child to notice these words around him/her.
When you read to your pre-school age child, point out common sight words, such as “I, a, an, can, say, and, the.” After your child has become familiar with some of the common sight words, ask him or her to start pointing them out to you as you read.
Here is a list of the 100 most common sight words. I suggest noting them to yourself and pointing them out as you read aloud to your child.
When your pre-school or kindergarten age child has knowledge of five to ten sight words, begin to play sight word games with him or her. **It is important to note that the child should be familiar with the sight words prior to incorporating them in a game.**
Sight Word Games:
Sight Word-O – Played just like Bingo, use sight words as the words on the card. Call out the words one at a time, and ask your child to mark them as he hears them.
Sight Word Memory – Write sight words that your child knows on index cards. Make two sets. Mix them up and place them face down. Ask your child to find the matching sight words. When he doesn’t make a match, he must flip the cards back over again.
Sight Word Go Fish – Use the index cards that you created for Sight Word Memory. Mix them up and deal out three to five cards to your child and the same amount to yourself. Put additional cards face down in a pile between you. Play Sight Word Go Fish as you would traditional Go Fish (it may help to wait to play this game until your child is familiar with ten to fifteen sight words).
Matchbox Match-Up – Using a small car, have your child drive through the parking lot to park in the spot for the sight word you call out.
This month, at Literacy Toolbox, I’m going to focus on literacy games you can play with your children. Do you have a unique or interesting literacy game you play with your child?
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