Learning and Mastering High Frequency Words (Sight Words)
High frequency words are words that appear most frequently in texts.
-A child should recognize the whole word – children should be encouraged not to sound out sight words (as most sight words cannot be sounded out, i.e. was)
-A child has mastered a sight word when they can read it automatically
Recognizing sight words quickly and effortlessly allows students to pay more attention to the more mentally demanding task of understanding what they are reading.
According to Patricia Cunningham in Phonics They Use, “In order to read and write fluently with comprehension and meaning, children must be able to automatically read and spell the most frequent words. As the store of words they can automatically read and spell increases, so will their speed and comprehension.” (Cunningham, 2000)
Ways to Practice Sight Words at Home (Beyond flash cards…)
• Paper Plate Toss: Write sight words on paper plates and toss back and forth like a Frisbee after reading.
• Concentration or Go Fish: Make a duplicate set of word cards and play either game.
• Tic –Tac-Toe: Write words in the tic-tac-toe spaces. Take turns selecting a space to read. If read correctly, an X or O is placed on the space until someone wins.
• Word-O: This is played just like BINGO. Fill in a card with the words that you are working on. Call out the words and mark the spaces. The first one with a card covered calls out "WORDO"!
• Word Hunt: Look for high frequency words in books or in the newspaper. If using the newspaper your child can highlight or circle the sight words that he/she finds.
• Coin Toss: Put words on the floor - children toss a coin onto a word and say that word.
• Chalk: Children go outside and practice writing their words with chalk on the concrete.
• Flashlight Words: Turn off lights and practice sky writing sight words on the wall. You may want to hang a poster up of each word for your child to trace.
• Making Words: Using play dough, alphabet stamps, or magnetic letters
• Delicious Words: Write your words in whipped cream, peanut butter, or anything you can eat.
• Good Clean Words: Write your words in shaving cream on a counter or some other surface that can be cleaned safely.