How to teach sight words

Getting ready to teach your little one how to read sight words? You’re in the right place!

To teach sight words, start by choosing a list of sight words such as the popular Dolch Sight Word List. Print out the list and consider additional printed resources like flashcards. Then move on to educational activities like reading together, playing sight word games, singing word songs, doing written workbooks, and using online resources like videos and apps. Lastly, keep in mind that teaching sight words takes patience, persistence, and a commitment to your own verbal annunciation.

Keep reading for some great resources that will help you teach your preschooler (or kindergartener) how to read these high-frequency words.

Note: If you’re not sure that your little one is ready to learn sight words, maybe check out my other post “When to Teach Sight Words”!

How To Teach Sight Words

Print Out The Dolch Sight Word List

The Dolch Sight Word List is a great starting point for those wanting to introduce their children to high-frequency words. Their website provides games, lessons, flash cards, and even lists by age group.

While they do list a few super cool resources on that website, I’ve compiled a helpful list of outside resources below that your children may enjoy, too! These are just a tiny sample of some of the great resources out there meant to get you thinking about all of the wonderful ways you can teach your child sight words outside of the traditional learn, memorize, repeat that many of us had growing up.

Read Books Together

There are a ton of amazing books out there to get your readers excited about high-frequency words. When looking for books to read at home, try picking ones that offer repetition and/or visual aids to reinforce learning. Many of the ones below do just that!

Here is a list of my favorite 5 kids books for teaching sight words:

Scholastic also has a great set made for parents – And it has 25 books in it for a super reasonable price!

Play Games

By turning learning sight words into a game, you can teach your little ones these important words while having tons of fun. Much like the activities that The Innovative Momma suggested, there are tons of easy DIY games you can create to play with your kids. You could make so many games into a learning opportunity, like making Go Fish, creating a memory game, or even building a fun scavenger hunt.

If you’d rather use online resources, Sight also has tons of fun games that your little one can play too!

Watch Videos

  • This former kindergarten teacher, The Innovative Momma, has a fun video that gives parents a bunch of cool activities that you can do at home! Since they’re all DIY, you can easily tailor the activities to whichever words your kids are learning now.
  • Another fun YouTube channel is Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel. Here they’re teaching kindergarten sight words!

Try Sight-Reading Apps

  • Sight Words by Montessori Preschool is a super cute interactive game that I suggest checking out
  • This Reading Mama also has an adorable Sight Word Games App that you can download!

Sing About Sight Words

  • Rock ‘N Learn has a great half-hour video teaching level one sight words. The visuals help learners put meaning to the words they’re learning, too!

Do Workbooks

If your little one enjoys working in workbooks, there are tons of great options out there for them. Take a look at this one, My Sight Words Workbook: 101 High-Frequency Words Plus Games and Activities, for example!

For individual worksheets I would suggest using Teachers Pay Teachers as there are endless resources, like this list here.

Teaching Sight Words: Tips For Parents

Here are a few little tips to keep in mind before you start trying to teach your child how to read sight words.

First: Patience is key. Learning can be pretty tough for some! By staying calm and remaining patient you will create a comfortable and safe for your child as they learn.

Second: Persistence. If your child doesn’t quite get these words on the first few tries, that is A-Okay! Don’t give up – just give them a break. Return to the topic as soon as they express interest again.

Third: Annunciate clearly & use your body to demonstrate when you can. Reading can be kind of weird at first, and English is a tricky language. Without understanding the words they’re reading, these words can just look like letters on a page! Try making it fun by encouraging them to create their own sentences with the words you’re learning or by showing actions when possible (like up and down).

There you have it, friends! Like I said at the start of this article – this resource list is just the beginning. Try to offer your child a variety of resources that they find fun and engaging. Some kids will enjoy music-based learning more than other approaches, and some will really enjoy workbooks. No resource is necessarily better than the next, because it’s all about what type of learner your child is.

Happy sight reading!

Elke Crosson

Elke Crosson has her BA in International Relations with a minor in Spanish at UBC (Okanagan). She is currently in her second year of the Master of Teaching program at the University of Toronto, with dreams of becoming an elementary-level teacher.

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