5 Things Every Parent Should Know about Sight Words

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Every preschool parent has heard of the term "sight words" but what exactly are they, and what should you know about them?

Here are 5 things every parent should know about sight words:

1.      There are two lists of sight words commonly used Dolch and Fry.

Dolch sight words:

Dolch sight words are less current since they have not been updated.


Fry sight words:

The list contains 220 “service words” plus 95 high-frequency nouns. These words comprise 80% of the words you would find in a typical children’s book and 50% of the words found in writing for adults.

The words on the Fry list include all parts of speech.


You can use whichever list you prefer, as some words overlap. The main purpose is to teach your child words that are seen over and over.


2.      90% of all reading is sight words.

Think about it, most of the time that you are reading you aren’t sounding out words. Children’s literature is made up of a list of about 1,000 words, so if your child can recognize sight words they will be on their way to reading.


3.      Entering kindergarteners should know sight words.

Although kindergarten readiness doesn’t require students to know many sight words, it is a good idea to teach your child sight words to get ready school. This will prepare your child for school by having a few words in their belt.


4.      Learning sight words does not mean your child can read.

Knowing sight words means that your child can recognize words that are not easily decoded, or words that can be sounded out. Sight words help your child read easier, but children still need to know phonics rules in order to read fluently.



5.      Sight words are easy to learn.

There are so many ways to teach your preschooler sight words. Sight words are very easy to learn. Children as young as two can begin to learn sight words. I like to watch the Preschool Prep Meet the Sight Words DVDs for my children. They are bright, colorful, and repetitive which gives children a lot of time to practice their sight words. They also have easy readers that feature the sight words from the DVD


Here are some questions parents have about sight words:

When should you teach a child sight words?

All children are different, but even children as young as two can watch Meet the Sight Words for a few minutes. As your child gets older you can play sight word games, read sight word books, or even go over sight word flashcards.

How many sight words should you teach at a time?

It depends on the age, but I recommend no more than 3 at a time. That way you can make sure your child really understands those three words before moving on to the next words.


Need sight word resources? Don’t forget to download my FREE sight word activities.

What other questions do you have about sight words? Leave a comment below.