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Teaching Sight Words

little boy on mom's lap enjoying a picture book

If you're teaching sight words, you know how important it is for beginning readers to learn them. Follow these tips, then select from our wide assortment of sight word activities to keep your students engaged in helpful practice.

Tips for Teaching Sight Words

1) Show students how a word is used orally before presenting the word in written form. Ask an easy question, such as "What can you put on?" or "What things can be turned on?"

light switch turned ONon

2) Write some of their answers on the board.

  • I can put on my shoes.
  • I put on my coat today.
  • I can turn on the light switch.

Underline the word ON in each sentence. Read the sentences aloud to your students, pausing each time you come to the word ON. Allow them to "read" the word ON. 

smiling preschool girl with pigtails

3) Look at the letters in the new sight word. If students already know OFF, ask them to notice what's the same and what's different about the words. If students know the word NO, point out that the letters are the same, but the order is different.

4) Provide lots of practice.

  • Use sight word flash cards for words students have already learned.
  • Use sight word games and worksheets.
  • Most importantly, give students short stories or sentences on the board that contain the new word.
  • Ask students to write their own sentences and stories using the new sight words.
first grade boy writing on a worksheet

5) When choosing which sight words to introduce first to your learners, think about which ones are easiest to learn. Dolch nouns often work well because students can easily understand their meaning. 

6) Teach sight words when kids are using them, or just before introducing a new story that contains them. There's no point in teaching third grade sight words to preschoolers, unless they are trying to read a story or worksheet that uses the words. When you teach new sight words, give kids practice reading them right away.

Resources for Teaching Sight Words

Sight Word Games & Activities

Swing set with the label "play"

What's Missing? - Try these games to build reading, spelling and memory skills!

Bingo Sight Word Games - Printable game cards are ready-to-go! From our sister site, Word-Game-World.com.

Sight Words Printables - Numbers

Sight Word Printables - Fun pages on which to practice writing number and color words.

Love the Letters! - Three fun activities for partners using any sight words.

Check out these sight word flash cards:

  1. Spelling Words Well
  2. Sight Words
  3. Teaching Sight Words


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