I am not a great speller, I am not even a good speller, but I love to read. I am currently teaching my kids to read with sight words, starting with some great books that use this same idea, and with books that we already love. I do not rely just on sight words and flashcards, of course, we also use phonics.
Teaching My Kids to Read with Sight Words
*This post contains affiliate links, see my disclosure policy for more information.*
This started back when Austin was in Kindergarten (public school), the class was only learning about half of the letter sounds – that was the requirement set by the education board (as I was told by her teacher when I questioned it).
Knowing she already knew her letter sounds we started working on small words on index cards. Simple words such as: and, the, she, etc. We practiced them on and off, not forcing her. We also have some great flashcards that came with some curriculum I purchased.
What are Sight Words?
Sight words are common words kids have to recognize instantly without sounding them out. Recognizing words by sight helps kids become faster, more fluent readers. Many sight words are tricky to read and spell — they aren’t spelled the way they sound.
Memorization can be very difficult for young children, but without it, reading frustration levels will be much higher. Their confidence as a reader grows first by reading a full sentence and then a whole page without having to stop and search for context clues to read the sight/high-frequency word.
Great Books to Check Out
Some of the great books we love are the Phonics Step into Reading Books boxed sets.
We have these boxed sets:
They are simple to read, just a sentence per page, nothing to overwhelm. These books have lists of words printed on the first page for your child to practice and which they will see throughout the book.
Keep other books around for your kids to look at and “read” too. The more books around the better the chance of finding the book that is going to spark their interest in books and their interest in learning to read.
We have used flashcards quite often in our homeschool. Ones that we have bought, and we have made them as well. I do not use them to drill my kids on words, but rather I use to for simple practicing of their words.
Flashcards are going that you can take outside to work on without worrying about ruining a book. You can take them on vacation to keep things fresh for your child and they don’t take up a lot of room.
As Austin has moved through the sight words, she has become much more confident in her ability to read. After 2 years of her claiming to be unable to read and hating the idea of it, she informed me that she loves reading now, in fact, she is reading chapter books without any prompting from me.
We’re repeating this process with Brookland and will again when Gauge is ready to learn to read. After a recommendation from a family member I bought Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy Lessons, but we honestly haven’t used it yet. My kids have been learning to read from being read to, and from sight words and flashcards that they enjoy using.