In order to develop proficient reading and writing skills, it is important for children to learn sight words. Sometimes we call these words “Trick Words". When reading or writing a text, sight words are understood immediately based on the mere appearance of the word. Learning sight words improves reading and writing fluency and increases the student's level of comprehension.
Many of these words do not follow regular phonetic rules which make them much more difficult for students to master. Asking a child to "sound it out" with this type of word generally causes increased frustration for the reader. Students need to recognize these words as "trick words". In order to retain a difficult word, they need many opportunities to experience and manipulate it. Try some of these fun practice ideas
- Although those long days of summer have come to an end it does not mean it's time to put away all those fun outside activities. Sidewalk chalk is a fun way to practice writing and reading sight words. After you have written your words on the pavement use water squirters to “erase" the word as you read and spell each one.
- Play paper plate toss. Write words on paper plates and read each word before tossing it like a Frisbee. Spell each word as you pick it up.
- Play SNAP: Write each word that you wish to practice on an index card. Make several cards that say "snap" too. Spread cards out face down on the table or in a container. Take turns selecting and reading a card. If your child can read the word without difficulty, he or she can keep the card. If they struggle, help them read it correctly before returning the word to the pile. If a "snap" card is selected the player must return all collected cards to the pile. Another variation is to read the card, flip it over, and spell the word. If the word is read and spelled correctly, the card may be kept. The winner is the player with the most cards at the end of the game.
- Flashlight words: Write selected words on index cards. Tape the cards to the wall. Use the flashlight to shine on the word. Read the word, turn off the light, spell, and shine the light on the word to check.