Edward William Dolch, PhD published a book “Problems in Reading” in 1948 which contained a list of frequently used words in the English language. The Dolch Word List contained many words that cannot be phonetically sounded out. For children to learn to begin reading fluently, Dolch insisted that they need to know these words by “sight”.
Why learn sight words?
The Dolch word lists are still used all over the world today as part of programs to teach kids to read. At my children’s school they use a system called Magic 100 Words. The principle of learning these words was the same as the Dolch Sight Words. Master these high frequency words so they are known on sight, then the child can read with greater fluency as they do not have to decode every single word they are reading. Reading is very much dependent upon confidence in kids. If they see some words they know on the page, then the text does not seem so daunting.
Why not just use the word lists?
Combined with a solid instruction in phonics, the learning of sight words will certainly increase the fluency of kids reading. There are potential problems with rote learning from word lists. For example, it can become easy for the kids to memorise the words as they are ordered on the lists. The sight words may then have no currency beyond that A4 piece of paper and the kids cannot actually use them in their reading.
I have three children who have started their reading journey and with each of them to make this exercise of learning sight words more meaningful, I created a number of activities and games for the kids to play. Not only did they help them learn the sight words with greater retention, but it was also a lot more fun!
Sight Word Activities and Games Pack
I have collated these sight word activities and games and made them available to download for just $4.95.
The Planning With Kids Sight Word Activities & Games Pack
The pack contains:
- Sight Words Lists – A list of 125 sight words, broken down into 10 lists, to make learning the list much more manageable.
- Memory Card Game – Printable sheets to cut up each word list to make a memory card game.
- Sight Word Posters – An A4 poster of each word list. Each word is in a shape for the child to colour. These can be stuck on the fridge or near the child’s bed so they can look at them regularly.
- Word Search – The word searches have been created with words only going forwards and down (no diagonal). This makes the task of finding the word less complicated. The key focus is on recognising the word, not making it too hard for them to find them.
- Trace and Write – A worksheet for the kids to trace the word, then have a go at trying to write the word themselves. The aim is not for perfect writing, but using a more tactile approach to learning the word. Tracing the letters forming the words provide another way to help the child recognise them.
- Sight Words Bingo – Using the cut outs from the memory game, your child child can either call out the words as drawn out, or have to find the word on their list.
The Sight Word Games and Activities Pack is collated so you can work on one list at a time and you can print out only the materials you need and can be re-printed if more practice is needed. So for only $4.95 you have 50 useful sheets to help teach your child sight words while having fun.
The Sight Word Games and Activities Pack is a ZIP file containing all the individual PDF documents. After purchase you will be sent a link to download the document (2.54 MB) via email. You can purchase the pack via a mobile device, but the ZIP file will need to be opened on a computer.