Why Are Sight Words Important for Reading and Writing?

May 18, 2022

Reading and writing well from young set a core foundation for your child. Whether it’s recognising the right alphabet or pronouncing a word correctly, the literacy development your child experiences plays a vital role in how they perform later in life. When we delve into the nitty-gritty of this phase, we find various facets that help make reading and writing smooth for growing children. One of these is their ability to recognise sight words.

What Are Sight Words?

Sight words are words that children can recognise instantly. They also appear most frequently when reading and writing. Children don’t need to spend time working out the pronunciation of these words. Some of these include “of” and “the”. You’ll also hear terms like “star words” or “high-frequency words” – these are simply alternative phrases to what one would refer to as sight words.

What is the purpose of sight words? The reason sight words enable children to read more fluently and facilitate comprehension is that these words offer contextual clues to the readers. The word “but” indicates a level of contrast, while “when” denotes an event at a particular time. When children recognise these words in between phrases they may be new to, they can learn how to decipher their meanings and add more words to their vocabulary. 

Sight words are like pieces of a puzzle. When a child can recognise these pieces, they are more confident to solve the whole puzzle. 

What Are The Basic Sight Words Your Child Should Know?

There are many sight words out there. For your little one to grasp them all is a challenging feat. Learning them in stages is, therefore, a more productive move. Segmenting sight words based on their educational level can help you better monitor your child’s progress:

At preschool: this, too, that, so, like, no, but, did, do, he, she, they, be, was, all

At first grade: after, then, again, how, just, let, some

At second grade: best, both, buy, been, around, always

Quick Tips On Teaching Your Child Sight Words

Spending some time with your little ones going through sight words can help build their literacy skills. It will also set them on track to develop a love for reading and be able to write more creatively. Here are some ways to get started.

1. Read Aloud With Them

Make reading time more interactive by emphasising various sight words you come across in the children’s storybook. After reading a page, review the text again by driving your child’s focus on the sight words, reading them aloud and getting them to repeat after you. After three rounds, you can test their memory.

Some children may be able to recognise faster than others – be patient and let your child learn at their pace. Give them a thumbs up when they are correct and encourage them to try harder (and offer hints) if they struggle.

2. Involve Sensory Skills

Bring out the colourful play dough and have your child recreate these sight words. The sensory involvement in memorising these sight words can help improve long-term recall. Elevate the experience further by taking them to the beach and writing the sight words on the sand with a piece of twig. If it’s snowing, let the icy blanket be your child’s canvas for the day. Akin to our Crafted PlayTM activities, you’ll be able to create an experiential learning environment for your child and work towards a productive outcome.

3. Categorise Sight Words

Some sight words do not follow phonetic rules, like “was” and “said”. Others, such as “can” and “pot”, can be sounded out based on how they are spelt. Those that don’t are probably the tricker ones to recognise. By categorising sight words, you can determine how much time to spend on either when training your child, with the former requiring more practice. Not only will your child strengthen their reading skills, but they will also have a greater understanding and appreciation of variations in the English language.

Read & Write Creatively With Mindchamps

At MindChamps Australia, we’re all for nurturing the love for reading and writing in children. Underpinned by the S.M.I.L.E.S.™ Methodology, our curriculum empowers children to learn and explore in a safe space through a series of interactive literacy activities that make both reading and creative writing fun for children. Why not book a tour at any of our centres in Sydney today?