How to teach sight words

You can teach your child sight words through many methods.  Buying or making cards with pictures on them can help make the words stick better in the child’s mind.  You can have your child learn a word a day by pointing to the word and having the child say it aloud.  Repeating helps the words stick.  Many kindergarten classrooms have word walls where the sight words are posted so children can use them when writing.


You can find such words with magnetic backings (or you can make them).  Put them on your refrigerator, or in a large metallic baking pan or cookie sheet.  Then help your child move the words around to make phrases or sentences.

Games are another good way to teach sight words.

  • Make a BINGO sheet with sight words for your child to find and cover.
  • Play Concentration. Make a set of cards with two of each sight word.  Start with just a few pairs, mix them up and turn them over on a table, and then turn them, two at a time, to see who can find the most matching pairs.
  • Play Go Fish with the same set of matching cards.

Some word pairs can easily be confused, so spend extra time on them:  of and off; for and from; was and saw; on and no; their and there; them and then; and when, where, what and with.

One caution:  Children who learn sight words before they learn phonics may try to memorize all words rather than sounding them out.  They may balk at learning phonics.  They need to know it is important to be able to sound out words using certain rules so when they encounter new words they can figure them out.

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