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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.