If you are teaching reading to your little one or have a child who is having trouble reading, then it is vital that they become proficient in sight words. Sight words are about 87% of all the words that children read in their trade books. Words like “the” “in”, “a”, “it”, and “is” are all part of this very important list. These words are phonetically irregular words, meaning you cannot use phonics to decode them so they must be learned by sight. Knowing sight words is one of the basic building blocks when learning how to read and one that should not be ignored.
What happens if the Reading or Phonics program you selected does not include the teaching of sight words? I suggest that you do it on your own and it is quite simple. Am I saying that you shouldn't teach Phonics? NO! Never! Phonics is important or just as important as teaching sight words. Many programs fail to integrate both of these in their reading programs, which is unfortunate but important for homeschooling moms to know. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on sight words.
There are two lists but most of the words overlap; Dolch Sight Words and Fry Sight Words are the two lists you can work from. In the 1940s, Dr. Edward William Dolch used 220 phonetically irregular words and 95 common nouns to create his Dolch Sight Word List. He chose words that were most often used in children’s reading books during the 1920s and 30s. In the 1990s, Dr. Edward Fry took the Dolch researched list and created 1,000 most frequently used words and put them in order of frequency. Children should be repeatedly exposed to these words so that they learn them quickly. This bolsters their reading self-esteem, which in turn makes them want to read more. You would be so surprised how your little Joseph or little Mary is going to want to start reading and selecting books at the library!