Teaching Sight Words to Your Child

Teaching sight words to your child at an early age helps improve reading ability, fluency, and writing skills too! In kindergarten, your child will start learning beginning level sight words to build reading skills. Learning sight words helps your child find ways to sound out unknown words and expand their vocabulary.

What are sight words?

Sight words are usually words that kindergarteners will see repeatedly—sometimes called popcorn words, since they pop up all the time!  Here are some of the most common sight words for an early reader to learn: I, it, we, she, he, you a, and, is, the, that, in, not, go, can, like, see, and so on.

How can I teach sight words to my child?

There are various techniques you can use to help your child learn sight words at home or on the go. Here are five ways you can work with a beginning reader, reluctant reader, or a child with special needs to learn sight words.

  1. Sing a familiar tune together and sound out the sight words as you sing. For example, you can sing “Happy Birthday” but sing-spell “y-o-u” at the end. “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “I’m a Little Teapot” also make great rhyming songs to practice sight words.


  1. Engage all your child’s senses with a sight word activity that involves cool whip and a cooking sheet! Spread a thick layer of cool whip on the cooking sheet. Help your preschooler write sight words in the cool whip using her fingers. Any mistakes are easily erased, and you can lick your fingers to enjoy a rewarding treat afterward! By using her fingers, your child will feel how words are formed and be able to recognize the shapes more easily.


  1. As you read aloud together, ask your child to sound out some of the simpler words. You can also read books that are designed to help children learn sight words, like See Me Read! Books like these include a list of sight words at the back of the book, so you can keep track of the words your child has learned.
  1. Play a sight word guessing game by drawing a letter or word on your child’s back, and have her guess which letter or word it is. Then have her do the same to you. By using feel and touch, your child will remember the shapes of words and learn how to write them.


  1. Using magnet letters, put one letter up and ask your child to make a word with that letter. Now remove a letter from that word and see if your child can make a different word with those letters. The activity becomes a sight word game you can play at any hour!