How to Use Sight Words in the Classroom

How to Use Sight Words in the Classroom

  • Arya Vishwaroop
    Arya Vishwaroop

What are Sight Words?

Sight words are high-frequency words that are taught to young students so that they are instantly identified, recognized, and used in the right way. It is mostly associated with the realm of reading, and it is with this connotation that it is generally used. Even though they may seem like a complex thing to wrap oneโ€™s head around, the idea behind the concept of sight words is to make memorization and usage of the word instant and automatic.

List of the Most Used Sight Words

Given below is a list of the most common sight words in the English Language:

  • A
  • About
  • After
  • All
  • An
  • And
  • Are
  • As
  • At
  • Be
  • Been
  • But
  • By
  • Called
  • Can
  • Could
  • Did
  • Do
  • Down
  • Each
  • Find
  • First
  • For
  • from
  • Get
  • Give
  • Go
  • Had
  • Has
  • Have
  • He
  • Her
  • Him
  • His
  • How
  • I
  • If
  • In
  • Into
  • Is
  • It
  • Its
  • Just
  • Know
  • Like
  • Little
  • Long
  • Made
  • Make
  • Many
  • May
  • More
  • Most
  • My
  • No
  • Not
  • Now
  • Of
  • On
  • One
  • Only
  • Or
  • Other
  • Out
  • Over
  • People
  • Quite
  • Rain
  • Right
  • Run
  • Said
  • See
  • She
  • So
  • Some
  • Than
  • That
  • The
  • Their
  • Them
  • Then
  • There
  • These
  • They
  • This
  • Time
  • To
  • Two
  • Up
  • Use
  • Very
  • Was
  • Water
  • Way
  • We
  • Were
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Which
  • Who
  • Will
  • With
  • Words
  • Would
  • Yes
  • You
  • Your

Uses of Sight Words

From the above list, it is clear that sight words are being used by everyone in every conversation. It is just that they are unaware of the significance they pose in the process of speech and writing. Given below are some of the uses of sight words:

Improves Confidence in Students

Since the first hundred sight words comprise over 50% of English text, a child that has a fair idea of sight words can recognize sentences and frame them easily and more confidently. If they can read a book on their own and recognize the words, there is a high probability that they will not feel discouraged and would rather feel more motivated to read more.

Promotes Reading Comprehension

Since learning sight words enables readers to memorize words easily and comprehend them in an instant, it gives them the space to focus on words and phrases that they do not understand or have difficulty comprehending. So, in a way, learning sight words gives students the space to improve their reading skills and as a result, their efficacy as a speaker and learner.

Contextualization of Text

If a person has a fair idea in the context of sight words, they may be able to decode the meaning of the sentence or paragraph by taking a look at the sight words. If a picture is shown along with the text, they may be able to determine what the story is about and as a result, understand and contextually derive the meaning of previously unrecognized words under their belt.

Tips for Teaching Sight Words in the Classroom

Now that there is a fair idea of what sight words are and `how useful they can be, ย here is how to teach sight words effectively:

Start Out Early

It is common knowledge that the more involved a student is with their education, the faster they will be able to connect with the subject they are learning. So, teachers and parents can improve a studentโ€™s familiarity with sight words by starting them out with the same at an early age. This can be done by starting them off by reading along with them. The younger someone starts learning sight words, the more likely they will be confident about conversing and communicating in that language. The teacher or parent can accompany the students in their endeavor and sit with them as they read to practice with them. This is the most organic and natural way to introduce students to the concept without enforcing much cognitive load on to them.

Use Their Surroundings

Point out sight words to students whenever it is in their vicinity. This can be done by asking students to read signs on the road or at the marketplace out loud. This can seem insignificant, but it will help provide a concrete foundation for when they will receive formal sight words in preschool and kindergarten.

Make the Process of Reading Aloud More Interactive

When reading with the child, the teacher or parent can notice that the words and phrases they use in everyday life contain sight words such as a, am, and, at, in, is, it, and the. Bring attention to the words they are repeating thus and actively make them aware of it. Since sight words make up a large percentage of all the text a student may come across, conducting an interactive read-aloud session is an excellent way to practice them. One of the best ways to do this is by introducing them to text that is infused in speech bubbles. This is because the text is concise and large which makes it easy to point out sight words in each bubble as they read.

Active Learning

One of the best ways to learn anything new is by making them engage with the content. Active learning is one of the most effective ways to generate interest in a subject as well as improve engagement in a classroom environment. Active learning employs multiple sensory methods to help imbibe a concept in a way no other teaching method can - it is the ultimate all-in-one VARK amalgamation.


Sight words help students develop reading skills and bring about an active reading habit among them. They can really help in incorporating better reading and writing skills in students and bring about a complete change in classroom dynamics not only in the present but also in the future.

Suggested Read - Benefits of Reading Books - A Guide for Teachers