How to Teach Sight Words To Struggling Readers

How to Teach Sight Words To Struggling Readers

Sight words are simply frequently used in English words. When a student begins to recognize these words, it can help in boosting both comprehension and reading fluency. Sight words are quite useful for struggling readers, children and people who use English as an additional language. Sight words are the most commonly used words in the English Language and once you learn to master them, it helps improve attention required for processing less frequently used words.

It is worthy of note that some words may need some added effort for one to learn them, but they can assist a student to be at par with his or her mates. Children are often introduced to sight words whilst in the first grade. Children who are strong readers may find that they acquire sight words quite easily after repeated exposure to sight words over time.

How to teach sight words to struggle, readers,

Teaching sight words to struggling readers can be quite easy especially if you know what you are doing per time. There are quite several ideas you can adopt in this regard. The first involves searching for them in books, this means catching the attention of the child to a certain word by searching for it inside a children’s book. You should repeat the exposure by choosing a certain word repeatedly to the child. You should also consider hanging them around the classroom; you can do this by creating large posters and talking about the letters. Furthermore, you should teach them using plain old spelling drills, illustrations, and repetitions on a keyboard. While doing this, make sure you repeat them as often as possible. You can then catalyze the process by introducing them to an online typing course especially when they get to the age of 6 to 7. 

What Are Sight Words?

It is worthy of note that there are two types of sight words. They include decodable words that are popular in printed English such as “like,” “and,” “get.” Such words are usually read by speaking them out. They usually appear quite often in texts that learning how one can read them should increase the reading fluency of a child. Also, such words can give a student the needed access to certain connected text in the learning of phonics.

The second type of sight words is the ones that cannot be decoded based on the fact that they do not conform to the typical sounds such as “there,” “have,” and “of.” Such words can be termed irregular words and because they can’t be identified, they are often automatically recognized.

What Are The Sight Words That Should Be Thought?

There are several lists available for teachers to use when they are planning instructions. They can also be used by families when they are working with their children at home.  One such popular lists are Edward Dolch’s list which contains about 220 sight words which are known as the Dolch words. The list came to be as a form of alternative to a list of sight words composed of 500 words. For a word to be included in the list, such a word had to appear had to make an appearance in the three popular word lists of the early part of the 1900s.

The main Dolch list went on to exclude all nouns which were seen as easily referenced in illustrations and went on to include 27 words which were not the Gotas, Wheeler and Howell’s list. Dolch made it quite clear that his list did not include contain all the sight words children may have to learn while in elementary grades. He, however, pointed out that these words represented the least which children could read automatically.

One other very popular list of sight words is the Edward Fry list of 1000 instant words.  There are several notable differences between Dolch and Fry’s list. For instance, Fry’s list started as a list of 1000 words but was compressed to 300 words and was then changed to 1000 words. On the other hand, the Dolch words have not seen any change since they first came up.

What Is The Best Way To Teach Sight Words?

There are quite several recommendations which you should have at the back of your mind before teaching sight words. Lists come in very useful especially for instructors and families especially when selecting the most important for instruction purposes. The words which a child may likely come across ought to be greatly considered alongside the listed sight words. In the case of young children, you should select a few sight words from the book which come up among the first hundred in the list. Older children are often able to learn up to seven words per time from the book.

To boost the speed of comprehension, you should consider introducing new sight words, but you should ensure that you quickly follow this up with the repeated use of these sight words in text materials and books. But ensure that you do not use two sight words which can be confused with each other. In addition to this, do well to give frequent but brief sight word instructions especially when you are dealing with strugglers. Finally, ensure that you give the students the much-needed opportunity to practice what they have learned.

Tips That Should Help You Teach Dyselxia Suffering Kids Sign Language

Children who suffer from dyslexia may find it quite difficult to learn certain sight words. More often than not, these words may not follow the standard spelling rules, hence they may not be easily decodable. Here are a few tips that may make learning sight words quite easier:

1. Focus on the details

Children who have difficulty studying often require assistance identifying the little details contained n a  new word. This is especially so when such a word has a not too popular spelling. In such a case, begin by showing your child the word after which you are to read it out loud. The next thing would be to instruct your child to call out the letters contained in the word.

2. Come up with a memory aid

Kids may sometimes find a trick that can be used to remember rather tricky words. Such memory aids are referred to as mnemonics. With this, children may develop a rhyme that is connected to the word.  Also, the kids may come up with a phrase that helps in spelling out such words.

3. Include artistic flair

Several kids find it easier to remember sight words when they can relate it to a picture.  To do this, you should write out a practice word on either part of an index card. On one of the sides, you could draw up a picture directly into the word.

4. Use a pencil

The moment the children have had enough time to practice reading the sight words, they should start writing them out on a piece of paper. In this scenario, begin by getting your child to have them copied from a word list or flashcard. You will observe that your child would soon start writing out the words without even looking. You should also encourage the kid to write out the words on a chalkboard a few times. Your child should write out the words a few times daily until they become proficient in its use.

5. Have a mental picture

This is one strategy that seems to always work. To do this, simply instruct your child to take a very good look at the word after which you remove the card. Then ask your child to tell you the letter they see in their mind. Try Finding out which letters are first, second and third in their mind when they imagine. By engaging in the art of visualization, your kids stand a better chance of retaining what they learn.

6. Word walls

You could come up with a space for displaying the words which your child may have mastered with time. You may opt to use the butcher papers which your child decorates and then hang the same in a place where your child may be able to see it. Your child may then make reference to it for their spelling practice and assignments.  You may have your child tape flashcards to the paper or write the words directly on the paper.


The evolution of education has seen different learning approaches spring up. These are all aimed at improving the learning process for children regardless of their abilities. One such processes are the adoption of sight words for kids learning to read. Teaching kids sight words shouldn’t be much of a challenge especially if the right approach is deployed in the process. The tips outlined in this article should go a long way in fast-tracking the learning process for kids.

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