Learning how to read is a dedicated, multistep process and remembering sight words is one of the first things introduced to young readers. Whether your child is struggling with sight word mastery or you’d just like to approach teaching effectively, take a look at the following tips for encouraging sight word learning.
Beginning sight words with your child in their preschool years is a great way to get them interested in expanding their reading skills. Start early with small sight words that they’ll encounter in most of their reading, like: I, me, and, the, cat, dog, mom, dad, etc.
Make Spelling Physical
Children learn in a variety of ways, and if you want to encourage sight word retention, try to incorporate physical learning tools into practice sessions. Make a game out of composing sight words with letter cards, blocks, or magnets so your child can create words even if his or her handwriting skills are not well-developed.
Practice makes perfect. Like any skill, if you want your child to continuously master new sight words, dedicating time to practice is essential. For small children, start with 15-30 minutes a day set aside for practicing sight words. You can scale the time up to one hour if the child is still engaged and eager to learn after 30 minutes.
Try not to overdo practice sessions, though. Demanding too much time can be counterproductive, as the child might mentally check out after a session progresses beyond their attention threshold.
Reward Hard Work
Children respond to praise. Not only will they strive to remember sight words more when they’re being encouraged by people they love and respect, they’ll also be more dedicated to mastering words when there’s a benefit to it.
When your child has put forth the effort needed to remember sight words, reward their hard work. It can be something simple like letting them get a snack at the grocery store or giving them an extra hour of TV during the evening.
Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t do well with sight words at first, even if your other children excelled at that age. Every child is different, as are their retention rates and learning styles. Keep at it and continue to encourage your child to do their best by being a reliable source of support for them.