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Sight Words – 4 Great Ways To Learn Them!

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at the common sight words your child should learn. If you missed these posts click here and here.
You don’t have to stick to a specific list though – just pick a few words from a book your child is reading and practise those. This is a great idea because your child will be learning words that appear in the stories they like to read.
So now that you have a list of sight words or have selected some – what should you do with them? How will your child learn them?
Some teachers like the simplicity of flashcards – they are a quick resource to grab and repetitive practise works for some children. Other teachers worry a bit about flashcards – they worry that children are just learning the shape of words and not looking at what the word is made up of. So these teachers prefer that their students see words in context (ie see words in sentences and books).
What do I like? Well, a bit of both really. Children learn things in different ways. So I like to mix it up a bit. It also keeps me interested in finding new ways to teach sight words. Try different things with your child to see what works best for them.
Here are some ideas for learning sight words.
1.Flashcards
Flashcards are a convenient way of practising sight words. You can write the words on coloured card or print them off. Click here for a good resource. You will need to think about how many flashcards you might show your child at a time – for some children one is fine whilst other children benefit from seeing five to ten at a time. If you use the Dolch words you might break the 220 words into sets of 10 and write each set on different coloured card. This will give your child a sense of achievement when they learn the ‘yellow’ set and it will also help you organise things.
2.Word Wall
There are different ways to set up a word wall:
  • Place the words your child is learning all over the house – the fridge and toilet door are winne
  •  Place the letters of the alphabet on a bit of a spare wall – then place the sight words under the appropriate letter. Read these lists as often as you can. The good thing about this type of wall is that if your child is also using these words in their writing and they know that the word is ‘somewhere’ on the word wall, they will use the word wall as a type of dictionary.
  •  Don’t have a lot of space? Create a ‘word wall’ on an A4 or A3 piece of paper – just write smaller!
  •  Your child may like to see words in a creative display – paint a wall on paper and put the words on the ‘bricks’, or make a word garden, or watch the word waves at the beach – anything your child is interested will do!
  • Write your chosen sight words in sentences and place them around the house.
3.Word Sleuths
Use graph paper or a ‘word sleuth maker’ on the internet to make up your own word sleuth to find the sight words.
4. Word Search
After choosing your sight words, encourage your child to look for them in books, magazines, junk mail, everywhere! Many children like to use a highlighter, so if you can tear a page out of a magazine let your child highlight the sight words when they find them.
Try some of these ideas and let me know how you go!

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