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How to Teach Kindergarten Sight Words

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Learning sight words is an important building block of your child’s ability to read in kindergarten. So how to teach kindergarten sight words? How many words and in which order should you introduce in kindergarten? There are several proven strategies that you can use teaching sight words.

how to teach kindergarten sight words

Photo: Kris Tan,

The Dolch sight word list includes 220 words from preschool to grade 3 and covers up to 75% of words you can find in children’s books. In this article, you find a kindergarten sight word list (you can download it) in alphabetical order.

Order to teach sight words

We recommend the following order to introduce sight words. However, you can build our own order. Build the sight words list based on the leveled books you choose for your child reading. Start with the first book and write down words in the order they appear in books. In this way, you can be sure, your child learned all required words to read this book.

Order to teach sight words

list 1

he, was, that, she, on, they, but, at, with, all

list 2

here, out, be, have, am, do, did, what, so, get, like

list 3

this, will, yes, went, are, now, no, came, ride, into

list 4

good, want, too, pretty, four, saw, well, ran, brown, eat, who

list 5

new, must, black, white, soon, our, ate, say, under, please

How many words to introduce?

Be consistent teaching sight words. Use the same techniques for each word, so your child will not get confused with a new word and will be familiar with all activities, games, and worksheets you preparing for her. The introduction of sight words depends on your child developmental stage. Before you start to teach sight words, make sure your child know and recognize all letters of the alphabet, both uppercase, and lowercase. Depending on your child readiness, teach 1-4 words every week.

Teaching sight words with flashcards

Visualization helps students to fix the information in their memories. Presenting students a print version (flashcards, wall words, or posters) of sight words helps make an important connection. Also, teachers or parents can ask kids to draw and print this word.

Real world connection

It is important for the young learner to be able to recognize and read sight word in the context. Use leveled books and reading passages to practice sight words. Find and circle sight words in the context, color the picture by sight word and other activities will be great to make a real life connection between sight word and the world. Challenge your kindergartener to create a sentence using the sight word. On the other hand, build the sentence with two, three or more sight word she learned.

Hands-on activities

Practicing fine motor skills stimulate the brain and give an ability to better absorb the information. Consider to add more hands-on activities to your lesson.

Learning sight words through games

At this age, the lesson should not take a long time. Kids are getting tired very fast. Playing games add lots of fun and turn the lesson into a fun game every child would love to participate!

Tips to teach kindergarten sight words

  • Introduce the word with flashcard. Show it, say it and ask your child to repeat.
  • Prepare tracing and writing practice. On the other hand, use sensory play bins. That will help your child to memorize the spelling of each word.
  • Bring some hands-on activities on a table. That can be word search or bingo games. Pick one or more you child likes.
  • Add games for two or more players. Playing in pairs build social skills and teach children how to communicate with each other. Another important skill to learn in kindergarten (make sure every child is involved in the game). Games are great to fix or reinforce the knowledge, but they are not a good idea to introduce the new word.
  • Do not forget to review sight words your child already learned. Moreover, remember: stable knowledge of a few words is better than a thin knowledge of the whole list.