Homeschool 101: Sight Words

I have now had the chore privilege of helping three of my children master sight words, and I still have one more. Each of my children had very different experiences and struggles, and every trick I had tried previously didn’t work with the next child.

From one child with a significant speech delay, which then caused a reading delay, to another child who’s IQ is borderline genius…and he knows it, every child has some sort of struggle when it comes to sight words.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of materials available online. My initial go-to was flashcards. Drilling the words into the amigos’ minds in constant repetition, worked well at first, but they grew tiresome over it. We tried everything with flashcards; drills, singing them to a popular tune, having them do a jumping jack or spin or another mobile move for every sight word. With sight word lists for each grade kindergarten through 3rd grade, we had to become rather creative.

There are 2 sight word lists, Fry’s Sight Word List and Dolch’s Sight Word List. In my area, Southern Nevada, Fry’s list is most common, but both lists have the commonality in attempting to kickstart reading and give children the chance to be more proficient at a quicker pace.

There are two types of sight words, frequently used words, such as it, had, an, or and. These words while can be easily sounded out as well as spelled phonetically can make reading a smoother experience if these words are memorized initially instead of constantly sounded out when learning to read.

Then the other types of words are non-phonetic words, such as the, that, buy, or come. These words cannot be sounded out because not all of the letters behave normally. These words are memorized because they are not only commonly used, but they don’t play by the phonics rules.

Arming yourself with proper tools to help your child master their sight words will not only make the whole experience more pleasant, but also a faster process. The major TIP I can give is to change up tactics every few weeks. Flashcards work, at first, singing songs, apps, all of these work at first…but younger children have short attention spans so having an arsenal of tools will keep the stress low for both you and your child.

As I have stated in other blog posts, Teacher-Pay-Teacher is a favorite site of mine. They have all sorts of tools for mastering sight words.

There are bundles for the entire 1,000 Fry’s sight words. They tend to have a variety of activities to aid the child in mastering sight words.

Then there are printables that are holiday-inspired and combine reading with art.

Another tool I use for just about everything educated is YouTube. There are a ton of videos and songs that can help children learn their sight words. Some videos focus on each word or smaller lists, others focus on the entire recommended lists for that grade level. One of my favorite YouTube channels is Have Fun Learning. They have catchy songs and use fun illustrations to catch the eye of children.

However you end up deciding to aid your child in learning their sight words, remember to make it fun. And children can easily become burned out just as you can as their parent and/or teacher. As soon as your child shows resistance or can detect your displeasure over sight words, you will be met with an uncooperative child. Have fun with it and let your child know that while learning sight words is important, it isn’t a pass/fail thing.

Have you helped your child with sight words? Do you have any tips or tricks I didn’t mention. If you’d like to share your experience please don’t hesitate to reply. We’d all love to hear your story of success, or even failures. None of us are perfect and laughing it off together while buoying each other up is always necessary in this day-and-age. Hope y’all are having an amazing week. Stay safe, and hug your loved ones.

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