Using sight words for kindergarten is a bad idea?!!!
You may be shocked to hear that using sight word lists is considered a bad idea for teaching kids reading !! (if not used in the right way and at the right time).
I am not saying that sight words are completely bad but it should be taught using the right strategy.
I even included a link where you can download worksheets for sight words for free.
But I hope you read this article first……..
Using sight words to teach a child how to read is a traditional way preschool teachers use.
What is the meaning of sight words?
Sight words (service words) are words that don’t follow the general rules of spelling and can’t be decoded phonetically (some sight words are).
Many of these words are repeated frequently in our daily language and in children reading books, in this case, they are also known as high-frequency words.
Sight word lists aim to memorize the configuration and shapes of the word.
The idea is that children are taught and trained to memorize instant words
as a whole (by shape) to be identified immediately by sight and without the need to apply decoding skills.
this will save valuable effort and time
allowing children to focus on the rest of the sentence and hence reading faster.
The problem is that it-as mentioned above- depends on memorizing words by shape (it is dealing with the English language as if it was Chinese).
Its drawback is that it trains children to unconsciously treat other words the same way trying to guess only ( and that is bad ).
that’s why the timing of teaching these words is important.
Teaching service words (the wrong way) can cause serious difficulties for your kid to learn reading.
Here is an example of how it can be really confusing for a child who is learning how to read.
You have to put yourself in the shoes of your child. For them, new service words are random letters that are very hard to memorize and look something like this:
Check these fake random words…..
thyeiub, frkde, likye, bfieodf, dibyr, ….
Imagine these are really meaningful words you have to memorize not 5 but 100!!
How difficult for you as an adult to remember them????!!!!
Yet, many teachers have gone far with this and recommending lists of hundreds of words (Dolch words)
and even thousands of words (as fry words) for poor kids that they have to remember!!
It takes a lot of effort and energy to memorize many similar words with little differences which can be confusing.
Teaching these words list the wrong way trains children to recognize words as “whole pieces”.
1 ) 67% of US grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level.
2 ) 33% of Australian year 5 students don’t meet the benchmark literacy skills.
These two statistics show that something is wrong about the approach used to teach kids to read at the early stages.
Check out this Amazing reading program teaching kids even at a very early age!!!
What are examples of sight words?
Some sight words examples include: I, He, Have, Like and The. To illustrate these examples lets put some of these words in a sentence ” I like that dog”.
Notice that this simple sentence consists of 75% instant words.
Why are sight words important?
They are important because as illustrated in the example above that these words form from 50_70% of English sentences. Identifying them by sight increases reading fluency.
When should you start sight words?
There is no specific age to start teaching these words but it depends on a child’s level not grade.
The Dolch list contains a group for prekindergarten and kindergarten but it is recommended after a child has gained at least the minimal decoding skills and phonemic awareness.
How many sight words should a kindergartener know?
About 50 instant words a kindergartener should know and be familiar with (according to the Dolch list).
What is the meaning of Dolch words?
Dolch sight words “not Dolce sight words”. They are groups of sight words created by Edward William Dolch where he added the most common words in children reading books during his time.
How many Dolch sight words are there?
Dolch lists contain 220 service words and he created a separate list consisting of 95 nouns. He believed that these words made up 50-75% of children’s books.
What is the purpose of Dolch sight words?
Although most Dolch words can be decoded phonetically ( unlike the common belief) he considered recognizing these words by sight will lead to better reading fluency.
“If one can read all of those words, one can read at a third-grade level” Dolch, 1948
What are the Dolch basic sight words?
Dolch divided his sight words according to grade level to 5 groups:
The basic Dolch sight words are the Pre-primer (pre-kindergarten) : (40 words) a, and, away, big, blue, can, come, down, find, for, funny, go, help, here, I, in, is, it, jump, little, look, make, me, my, not, one, play, red, run, said, see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you
Primer (kindergarten sight words list): (52 words) all, am, are, at, ate, be, black, brown, but, came, did, do, eat, four, get, good, have, he, into, like, must, new, no, now, on, our, out, please, pretty, ran, ride, saw, say, she, so, soon, that, there, they, this, too, under, want, was, well, went, what, white, who, will, with, yes
1st Grade words list: (41 words) after, again, an, any, as, ask, by, could, every, fly, from, give, giving, had, has, her, him, his, how, just, know, let, live, may, of, old, once, open, over, put, round, some, stop, take, thank, them, then, think, walk, were, when
2nd Grade: (46 words) always, around, because, been, before, best, both, buy, call, cold, does, don’t, fast, first, five, found, gave, goes, green, its, made, many, off, or, pull, read, right, sing, sit, sleep, tell, their, these, those, upon, us, use, very, wash, which, why, wish, work, would, write, your.
3rd Grade: (41 words) about, better, bring, carry, clean, cut, done, draw, drink, eight, fall, far, full, got, grow, hold, hot, hurt, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, myself, never, only, own, pick, seven, shall, show, six, small, start, ten, today, together, try, warm.
Dolch list: Nouns (95 words) apple, baby, back, ball, bear, bed, bell, bird, birthday, boat, box, boy, bread, brother, cake, car, cat, chair, chicken, children, Christmas, coat, corn, cow, day, dog, doll, door, duck, egg, eye, farm, farmer, father, feet, fire, fish, floor, flower, game, garden, girl, good-bye, grass, ground, hand, head, hill, home, horse, house, kitty, leg, letter, man, men, milk, money, morning, mother, name, nest, night, paper, party, picture, pig, rabbit, rain, ring, robin, Santa Claus, school, seed, sheep, shoe, sister, snow, song, squirrel, stick, street, sun, table, thing, time, top, toy, tree, watch, water, way, wind, window, wood
PRO TIP: start teaching the non-phonetically decoded Dolch words as kids can already decode the rest of Dolch words phonetically.
Examples of non-phonetically decoded words: (a, any, could, laugh, where, does, once, two, said, these, one
What is Fry sight words?
After Dolch had created his list came Dr. Edward Fry who introduced his list of instant service words.
Fry Words are the most common words used in English ranked in order of frequency.
He published a book named “Fry 1000 Instant Words.” In his research, Dr. Fry found the following results:
25 words make up about 1/3 of all children’s books published.
100 words comprise about 1/2 of all of the words found in publications.
300 words make up about 65% of all written material.
What is Fry 1st 100 words?
Fry first 100 words are:
a, about, all, an, and, are, as, at, be, been, but, by, called, can, come, could, day, did, do, down, each, find, first, for, from, get, go, had, has, have, he, her, him, his, how, I, if, in, into, is, it, like, long, look, made, make, many, may, more, my, no, not, now, number, of, oil, on, one, or, other, out, part, people, said, see, she, sit, so, some, than, that, the, their, them, then, there, these, they, this, time, to, two, up, use, was, water, way, we, were, what, when, which, who, will, with, words, would, write, you, your
How to teach sight words?
- Use fun and engaging sight words songs.
- Use sight words apps
I prefer sight words sentence builder
- Use sight words colored stories
- Sight words interactive games
- Use sight words flashcards
run a competition on identifying sight words using flashcards
How sight words can lead to reading problems?
English is an alphabet based language where words are consisting of individual letters, each letter has a specific sound and by combing these sounds we make up the whole word.
English words were never designed to be memorized by shapes.
So many words with similar shapes that can be difficult for a child to memorize.
If teaching instant word lists and more lists was the best way to teach reading then a child would have to memorize thousands of different words.
The Oxford dictionary alone contains over 170,000 English words.
So, what is the correct way to teach reading?
Easy, First step: instead of teaching your child to memorize hundreds of words you need to teach the “44 sounds of English“.
Second step: teach your child how to connect those sounds together to pronounce the whole word.
A question for you>>>
Which is easier teaching the 44 sounds or teaching hundreds and thousands of words?
Yes, CLAAAPP… you guessed it right.
THE MAGIC FORMULA = Synthetic phonics+ phonemic awareness+ some sight words =any child can read any word even if it is the first time for him or her to see that word and don’t know its meaning.
According to a study by the National reading panel, teaching phonics and phonemic awareness produces better results than whole long reading programs.
Teaching phonemic awareness improves reading and spelling abilities for children.