A sight word is an irregular word that is not easily sounded out and not
easily identified from letter sound correspondence knowledge and
blending and segmenting skills (Carnine, Silbert, Kame’enui, & Tarver,
2004). For example, words such as “was”, “the”, and “saw”.
Further to this, words can be considered sight words if they contain a
phonic rule or letter combinations that have not yet been taught. For
example, the word “sleep” can be considered a sight word, if the
student has not yet learnt the letter combination “ee” as in “meet”,
“feet”, or “sleep”.
Words are also considered sight words when they deviate from the
typical grapheme-phoneme rules, as “ow” in the word know.
When helping your child learn sight words it is important to remember
- Encourage them not to sound it out, but rather to learn it by sight and off by heart (that is of course unless they know the particular phonics rule or letter combination)
- Encourage them to spell the word and write it down, using only names of the letters in the word, not the sound;
- And to use their sight word knowledge alongside their sounding out skills, with an emphasis on using many different strategies to decode a word.
Carnine, D., Silbert, J., Kam’enui, E.J., and Tarver, S.g. (2004). Direct
instruction reading (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice