Sight words and ways to teach them to kids

by Kelin George

October 27th 2022, 10:54 am

You probably don’t remember learning simple words like the, in, does, their, me, and/or be, but these so-called “sight words” can sometimes be difficult for kids to learn and understand.


Before we move on to how you can teach kids sight words, let’s learn what sight words are and why they are important.


What are sight words?

Sight or high-frequency words appear repeatedly or frequently in a text and can be read with little or no effort.


Examples of sight words are:



Why are sight words important? 


  • Recognizing sight words allows kids to read a text fluently, accurately, and quickly. As kids learn sight words, they can recall and read them easily, indicating that their brain processes these words’ pronunciation and meaning without much difficulty.
  • If the reader has difficulty reading sight words, they’ll stop, decode, and analyze one word after another, disrupting the reading process and hindering their understanding of the overall text.
  • Sight words can also play a significant role in the ability of a kid to become a lifelong learner. 
  • Once kids feel confident in their abilities to recognize and read sight words, they can become better readers, which will help them throughout their adolescence and adulthood.1
  • Around 100–200 sight words make up more than 50% of text students read in school.2 


Ways to teach kids sight words


  • Use flashcards. Flashcards will allow kids to see the word numerous times in the same setting, helping them memorize it. Start with kindergarten-level sight words. Write a few sight words on paper and ask your kid to read them out loud.
  • Like flashcards, writing sight words on boards or pinning them on your kid’s study wall can also help them look at the words repeatedly and remember them. This is a simple way of making sight words “in sight” of your kids.
  • Another strategy is “see, hear, write, or chant.” Write a sight word, say it out loud, and ask your kid to write it in their book, then ask them to say it out loud and spell it.
  • Model for your kid. Whenever you read a storybook or a text, touch the word, then say it and spell it out. When you do this multiple times for the same word, your kid will soon recognize them as sight words.
  • Give them a paper-printed text, and ask them to circle sight words. After they’re done, read aloud and spell out the ones they’ve missed to let them know they, too, were sight words.
  • Another great strategy is to ask your kid to write sight words. Give them exercises with texts printed without sight words and with blank spaces. Ask your kid to write the appropriate sight words in those blank spaces.
  • Create word families. Write words on a chart and cut them up. Now, ask your kid to create different word families, for example, at, bat, cat, flat, pat, that, and: land, sand, hand, band, and so on.


A great answer to “how to teach sight words at home” is repetition, repetition, repetition.


Learning any word can be difficult for kids, so when you start teaching your little one the basic kindergarten sight words, make sure they practice every day, and as they’re growing, they can practice learning advanced sight words.


Repeated practice with sight words helps provide the needed exposure to kids. It can help them build a strong vocabulary and a foundation for reading and writing.3, 2, 1


Head on over to to learn more about our Active Learning approach to Math, Language, and Reading for children between Pre-K and Grade 3.  


1. Hayes, Colleen. The Effects of Sight Word Instruction on Students' Reading Abilities. St. John Fisher College . 2016, from cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1327&context=education_ETD_masters 

2. Johns, Jerry L., and Kristine H.Wilke. High-Frequency Words: Some Ways to Teach and Help Students Practice and Learn Them. 2018, from /?id=EJ1183980 


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