Before my son entered kindergarten, he had to take an assessment test that included shapes, colors, numbers and letters. Because I had home-schooled him from the age of 3, I wasn’t too worried about his performance. Based on the test results, it turned out that he had the option of skipping kindergarten and going straight into 1st grade. Although we declined to do this, I was and still am proud of him for doing so well. He knew all his 50 kindergarten sight words before entering kindergarten, and he also knows all the 1st – grade sight words that he’s suppose to learn next year. Here are some of the tricks I used to get him to learn the sight words.
Practice and Reward
Every day I would sit down with my son and show him the first 10 sight words. I would ask him to tell me which ones he recognized and set these aside. I focused on the ones that he didn’t know. I would tell him each word and also make a sentence with it. I found that it’s easier for my son to remember and understand the meaning of words when they’re incorporated into a sentence. This is especially useful for similar-sounding words, such as “to” “too” and “two.” After a few days of going over the words, he would remember them and I would ask him to make a sentence. I also rewarded him for doing a good job to motivate him to keep up the good work. Playing a game with him, a small new toy or a trip to the park was well worth it.
Make it Fun
Kids learn easier when you make it fun for them. The moment they get bored, their attention wanders, and it might be better to take a break and continue later. To make learning sight words fun for my son, I wrote each word on a separate piece of paper and turned it upside down on the table. I then asked him to turn over each paper one by one to see how many words in a row he would know, and of course there was a small reward at the end of the game for extra motivation. Although challenging, he enjoyed the game and enjoyed winning the rewards at the end.
Learning isn’t always going to be fun, and some words might be harder to learn. Whenever I came across a word that my son would struggle with, I would write it in big letters and hang it on the fridge. Each time I was near the fridge, it would remind me to show him the word, and eventually he learned it. I had him write down some of the harder words several times in a row. I would ask him to use different colored crayons to write the words, just to add a fun aspect in there for him. Learning sight words requires consistency and patience. Even after your child knows all the words, continue to go over them with him so he doesn’t forget them. Also, progress slowly and make sure your child masters the first 10 words before you go to the next 10 words.