Sight words are frequently used in text that can be read immediately on sight, without having to spend time sounding out the word. Check out this list of common sight words for preschoolers, which should be supplemented with words familiar to an individual child’s environment, such as family members’ names and familiar logos.

The key to sight word proficiency is the speed with which a child sees a word in print and reads the word aloud. The best way to support a child’s sight word proficiency is to teach the words using strategies that promote repetition and a multi-sensory approach, like the activities found here. Combining tactile and visual input strengthens the child’s focus, helps the child remember the word later, and brings an element of fun to learning to read.

Flashcards

Flashcards are a great place to start when teaching sight words, and they can easily be made and customized at home using large index cards and a marker. Write one sight word on each card, mix up the stack, and then hold up one card at a time for the child to read. As an advanced activity, place several flashcards on a table and then say one of the words. The child then must pick up the corresponding word card.

Write a Story

Writing a simple story with the child is a creative activity that allows for the repetition of sight word reading in context (in sentences, among other words). This is also a great place to use some child-specific sight words, such as familial words or preferred locations. The story can be made into a book, which the child can read over and over again.

Tactile Word Tracing

Put a piece of construction paper in a tray or a raised-edge baking sheet. Use a glue stick to write a sight word on the paper, then add sand and shake the tray side to side so that the sand covers and gets stuck on the glue. Lift the paper, letting excess sand fall off, and let the glue dry for a short time. Have the child use their pointer finger to trace over the sand letters to spell and say each of the sight words.