While teaching phonics is my main jam, I also love teaching sight words to my Littles. Learning sight words is just as important as learning the basic foundations of phonics to help little learners become the amazing readers they are meant to be! After all, sight words do make up over 50% of the text that primary kiddos are exposed to.
As a kindergarten teacher, I am constantly looking for ways to keep learning sight words fun and exciting, as well as keeping my instruction effective and efficient. As far as the order in which I introduce sight words, I stick pretty closely to the set curriculum I follow. However, the way I go about teaching those sight words comes to life with the structure and routines I have found to be super helpful for my students.
What Are Sight Words?
Before giving you a sneak peek into my daily routine for teaching sight words, let’s talk a little bit about what they are. Sight words, not to be confused with high-frequency words, are words that students should be able to recognize and read by sight. These words do not follow the basic rules of phonics and therefore a vast majority cannot be “sounded” or stretched out, making decoding very challenging. High-frequency words are actually the words that occur the most in written language, words that students will see most frequently in the text they read – they can be sight words, but they are two different sets of words, indeed. If you have used the two terms interchangeably, that’s ok, no shame and no judgment, here… I did, too!! 🙂
Tips for Teaching Sight Words
Before learning any new sight words for the day, we do a fluency drill with all the previous sight words we have learned up to that point. My students and I L-O-V-E using Eyewords to complete these fluency drills. If you have not heard of Eyewords, they are legit the bomb dot com! They use a researched-based, multisensory approach and they were created by educators. They are a major game changer! You can check them out here.
Teacher Tip: Our Word Wall also displays Eyewords, so that students have constant and repeated exposure to their sight words throughout the school day. I will also include them in their sight word center time. We literally use them for everything and my kiddos really enjoy them!
Teaching Sight Words With Songs
Introducing sight words is my favorite part of our routine because I get to incorporate songs. I have found that songs speak to many different learners and my students are always excited to learn a new song. Songs for teaching sight words don’t have to be complicated. In fact, I just use the tune to familiar melodies to make up my songs.
Once we have learned our new sight word song, we continue to incorporate it into the day during things like clean-up time from centers and other transitions. My little teacher’s heart does cartwheels of joy when families share with me that they sing the sight word songs we learn in school while practicing at home!
Effective Strategies For Teaching Sight Words
Now that we have gone through our fluency drill and we have learned our new sight word, using Eyewords, we then move on to our sight word practice pages. We will typically start as a whole group just becoming more familiar with our new word by tracing, writing, and unscrambling the new sight word. Then, we write a sentence so students can understand the sight word in the correct context. I always let my students come up with the sentences. As we practice writing our sentences, we are also reinforcing all of those important things that it takes to build great sentences. Many times, we will use that same sentence from our song that we learned earlier in the lesson!
When we have completed our whole group practice, I allow my students to stretch their wings a bit and work with a partner to read and unscramble a simple sentence using their new sight word. Students practice other sight words we have learned as well as their one-to-one correspondence skills by using their fingers to point to each word with these worksheets. Then, to incorporate some hands-on sight word practice fun, they will cut out letter pieces and paste them in the blank spaces to correctly build their new sight word. Lastly, they get to go back to their personal work area and draw a picture to match the sentence they unscrambled.
When I have given them enough time to work on their pictures, they move on to their independent work time where they have isolated exposure to their new sight word. For this worksheet, students will simply complete a sight word search for their newly learned sight word, then rainbow color and color the consonants blue and the vowels red.
For homework, I send home a sheet where they get to practice reading, coloring, and writing the sight word we learned in class together. Once they have completed the top part of their sheet, they move to the bottom where they get to search and find their sight word, letter by letter.
Teaching Sight Words in a Fun Way
On Fridays, we review our sights words for the week and then they move into a rotation of four centers. I place some of the worksheets we have completed for the week into dry erase pockets. Because we have done many of them together, it gives my Littles confidence to complete them on their own. Other sight word centers include a combination of the Super Sight Word Spellers from Miss Kindergarten, Eyewords resources, and decodable readers, with our weekly sight words built into them – these readers go alongside our reading series. There are so many different things to choose from that my Littles never get bored with learning their sight words. We’ve started referring to our Friday sight word time as Fun Friday with Sight Words!
Sight Word Resources
I don’t always love using worksheets, but the fact of the matter is, with sight words, I have found that the key is exposure and practice… exposure and practice… and some more exposure and practice. There is so much learning going on in each one of these worksheets and the extra pizzaz within our lessons have really helped my students with learning their sight words. The routine is consistent and the activities are fun and engaging!
Check out each set of my Sight Word Practice Pages!
- Sight Word Practice Sheets – Set 1
- Sight Word Practice Sheets – Set 2
- Sight Word Practice Sheets – Set 3
- Sight Word Practice Sheets – Set 4
- Sight Word Practice Sheets – Set 5
- Sight Word Practice Sheets Bundle Set
You can also find the individual and bundle sets in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop, by clicking here.
I hope I have given you some new ideas to amp up your sight word game! Just remember… if you are having fun, your Littles will, too! 🙂