Sight Words Definition

What are sight words? “Sight words” is a term that parents of early elementary students have most likely heard before, but not many people outside of the educational community know what these important words actually are. A simple sight words definition would be common words that a reader should recognize on “sight.” These important words are also referred to as “high-frequency words” or “instant words.”

Sight words are a group of common words with a high-frequency of use that readers must know on sight, instantly, and automatically in order to develop into an efficient and smooth reader. Some examples of these important words are a, is, the, of, and, that, in, you, I, and to. The two most popular sight words lists are the Dolch word list and Fry word list.

Many sight words are “service words” (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and verbs), which cannot be learned through the use of pictures and often cannot be sounded out. Additionally, phonic analysis and decoding rules generally do not apply to sight words learning. To learn these important words a child will want to have them memorized. There are many ways effective ways of teaching these important words. Many teachers teach these important words to their students by using online word games, word lists and word activities. Learning sight words will ultimately help children develop into a smoother and more efficient readers.

Studies show sight words make up 50-75 percent of all words used in school books, library books, newspapers, and magazines. And the 25 most common sight words make up about one-third of our written material. Without question, these important words will play an important role in your child’s early childhood education and impact your child’s reading efficiency and reading development.

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