Sight words are considered to be words that children must memorize instead of phonetically sounding out. Children start connecting written language to meaning when teachers and parents read books, signs and maps to them. Kids start learning sight words at a very young age. Preschool teachers can further encourage the use of sight words by using strategies that help them. Teaching sight words doesn't have to be difficult. All it requires it a few materials, some know-how and a lot of patience.
Post signs on objects around the classroom. The sign needs to spell out the word for that object. For example, put the word "Desk" on a desk, or "Light Switch" next to a light switch. Children will learn to associate the object with the written word. Go over these words if you have spare time throughout the day. You can also post signs that kids are sure to recognize. Signs like McDonald's golden arches or other logos that will help them realize that images have meaning.
Give them short stories that have a few sight words in them. Practice reading the sight words, then have them follow along as you read the story out loud. Review the sight words daily and even encourage the students to take the booklets home to read with their parents. Hubbardscupboard.org has some great printable booklets that are perfect for preschool-aged children.
Use flash cards to help them learn sight words. You can build your own set using markers and index cards, or you can purchase sets at educator supply stores. Practice with the flashcards daily to help your students learn the words. The words you need to teach should begin with some of the most common ones found in stories. Examples are: the, a, as, has, do, I, not, she, he, him, her and they.
Have old books or newspapers available for students to highlight sight words. Preschool kids love to use highlighters, plus they will jump at the chance to write in a book. Just make sure they know what books they can write in and what books they can't.
Read to your students throughout the day. When you come to a sight word, quickly point it out before you continue with the story. Not only is this good review, but students can see how often sight words are used in everyday language.
Post a word chart using some of the most common sight words. These charts are sometimes called a Dolch word list. You can make one yourself or purchase one at any educator supply store. Quiz-tree.com has the Dolch word list divided into age groups for your convince.