Sight word and high frequency words are the words that appear frequently in text. Some of these words cannot be sounded out. They do not follow phonics rules. However, many of these words can be sounded out.
Many of the words that are put on sight word lists like the Dolch sight word list or the Fry’s sight word list can be decoded using basic phonics. The list of words that cannot be sounded is relatively small. This makes the task of memorization relatively easy.
I Like Phonics
I like the fact that we can use phonics to learn words and learn how to read because it is a skill that is transferable to new situations. That means that when a child comes across a word he does not know, he has the skills to figure out what that word is. When children have phonics skills under their belt, they find the process of learning how to read a smooth adventure.
It is important to notice that there are many factors involved in learning how to read.
Sight Words Make Reading Easy
Children learn different skills and concepts at different rates. They are unique individuals with gifts and talents. Click To Tweet One child may begin to read at the age of four. That child’s sibling might not read until they are eight years old. The first child may be more of a visual learner while the sibling might be more of an auditory learner. This is what make each child special and wonderful.
There are other factors to note as well:
- Learning style
- Physical challenges at birth
These play a role in how fast children pick up reading.
Sight Words and High Frequency Words
Sight words and high frequency words can help make the process a little more fun and easy. I have held the opinion that some words that are called sight words are not true sight words. Some of the words put into this category can be sounded out and decoded. The beauty of being able to sound out words is that we can transfer that skill to many different words.
Below is an example of the using patterns in sight words to learn sight words and other words as well.
Patterns in Reading
We can teach children patterns that they will recognize with speed. The word all is a sight word on the Dolch list. I would say that this word is not a true sight word since we can apply phonics rules to read it. The rule is that when we see all we pronounce this as all like in the word ball or call.
Children understand that all sounds like /ol/ but is spelled all or awl or sometimes au like in the word haul. If we look at the first spelling we will find several other words that follow this pattern. This makes learning words like ball, call, stall, and fall easy to learn.
Reading Rate and Comprehension
Children learn sight words and high-frequency words as they are progressing through the reading process. When they recognize words quickly, they can spend most of their mental energy on understanding what it is they are reading.
If a child expends a great deal of energy sounding out every word, they will not have much energy to devote to understanding what they have read. This is the comprehension piece. Reading comprehension is the greater goal of reading. Children must engage in reading not just call out words. Learning happens when children are engaged.
Difficulty in Learning Sight Words
Some children find it difficult to memorize the list of words on the sight word lists. They are often asked to learn all the words on the list by memorizing them. The memorization process often does not help the child remember the words for a long time. Retention is often a problem. When they attach meaning to the words, they find it much easier to remember the words.
I created a PowerPoint that uses patterns of sight words. I would love to know what you think.
In the challenge of educating our children, we need to keep in mind that each child is different. You may have three children and one program works for two of them. I hope this is something you find beneficial and helpful.
If you are needing additional help with reading please check out my tutoring services and reading boot camp. I love helping children grow in their reading skills. Get unstuck in reading.
Do you use sight words in helping your child learn to read? What other challenges do you have when teaching your child to read? Please share in the comments.