Helping Children Memorize Sight Words

Sight words make a good foundation for children on their pathway to learning how to read. There are several different methods that can be used, both at home and at school, to help children learn sight words. When children begin learning these words, it is best if they work one-on-one.

Some of the most common sight-words for children to learn are words that may not follow the simple rules that children learn and may be more difficult to sound out. These words include: have, the, he, my, was, are and could.

Sight Word Cards

Place sight words on index cards, then work on these with the child for a few minutes at a time. The words to include a, and, he, I, in, is, it, my, of, that, the, then, to, was, went and with, along with others that can be found on a Dolch world list. When presenting the words to the child, the adult should show the word, say the word, and then have the child say it. They can also write the word as they say it to help them connect with the word better.

Sight words in books

At times it is better to help a child learn sight words while reading to them. It is best to use a book that is aimed at their level. Have the child read the book aloud, offering assistance as is needed. Then ask the child to create their own sentences using the sight words that they found.

Sight words and music.

Young children usually love learning new information through music. Familiar tunes are a great way to start, but instead of using the song’s words, replace them with sight words. As the child sings the tune, the sight words will begin to stick with them.

Sight words and games

There are many games that can be played to help reinforce the learning of sight words. One of the games is a matching game. Make up two sets of identical sight words. Place the cards, word side down, on a table. Take turns with the child in turning over two cards at a time. As the cards are turned over, the words are said out loud. If a matching pair of words is found, the person who finds them collects them and then receives another turn. Another fun game to help in learning is to create cards, similar to Bingo, but replace the Bingo numbers with sight words. Make slips of paper with the words written on them, and place them in a container. Draw one paper at a time, pronounce the word, if the child has this word on their card they should repeat the word and cover it. The child can win the game by covering the words either in a row or the entire card.

Magnetic words

Purchase a set of alphabet magnetic letters and allow the child to experiment with arranging the letters on a surface to create the sight words. For the child that learns kinesthetically, this is a great way of re-enforcing the words, so they have a better chance of learning.

Many other games can be used to help children connect to the sight words. The sillier the method, the more easily the words may be memorized.