A sight word is any word that is recognized automatically rather than sounded out. Identifying and knowing sight words is an important step in a child's process of learning to read. By the end of their first year of school, kindergartners are expected to know at least 100 sight words.
The concept of words that are automatically recognized rather than learned phonetically was brought forward by Dr. Edward Dolch in 1948, when he published a list of 220 "service" words that contribute to the development of fluent reading skills.
"It," "of," "to" and "the" are examples of sight words (here you can find a complete list of common sight words
and the original Dolch sight words
lists. With help, children can begin to recognize and learn these words well before they are ready to start kindergarten. Reading with your child and moving your finger below the line of text you are reading is a great place to start.
Below you will find links to other resources to help your child master sight words and learn to read.
Practicing sight words can be quite repetitive for grownups. One More Story
is a fun way to expose your child to sight words in context. An online library of classic children's books, One More Story reads aloud to you and your child while highlighting each word as it is read. Kids can even click on individual words to hear them read aloud.
This site offers sight word games
that can help your child learn to recognize the most commonly used words.
This page contains sight words in context
as an alternative to studying them in isolation.
Here are links to printable sight word flash cards
that can be used for practice or play.