Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
We all use words in four main ways: 1.) to listen; 2.) to speak; 3.) to read; and 4.) to write.
Talking and reading to young children are methods that parents and caregivers can use to develop sounds and vocabulary. Young students need these skills for reading and writing.
Another important and often overlooked element of learning-to-read is recognizing “sight words.” Sight words are words that are commonly used yet hard to “sound out.” They are words that are difficult to decode, using letter sounds. These are words that children must know by visual recognition. For example, one of the first sight words I teach my first grade students is the word “the.” “The” cannot be phonetically decoded. A reader must simply recognize it. Knowing sight words increases reading fluency. When fluency increases, so does reading comprehension!
Here is a list of twenty common sight words to practice with your beginning reader:
Practice these words with your child as often as possible. Point them out in books, at the supermarket, on street signs, or wherever you get the opportunity. The more your child sees and uses these words, the more likely they are to become part of his “sight” vocabulary. Easily recognizing sight words can dramatically increase his reading comprehension.