Sight Words

Fun Ways to teach Sight Words

What are Sight words?

Sight words (high-frequency words) are the words that are used most often in reading and writing.

Why are Sight words important?

Sight words are very important for your child to master because they account for up to 75% of the words used in printed material. Hence memorizing them is a great way to increase reading fluency.

What is the relevant age to start Sight Words?

Children’s language skills develop at different rates and thus there is no set rule. Most children will be able to master a few sight words at 4 years old. You can teach sight words earlier if your child is receptive to the material. But if your 2- or 3-year-old is uninterested and has difficulty retaining the words, then it’s probably too early, and you should wait a few months before trying again.

How many words should I teach per day?

There is no set answer to the number of words to teach a child each day.

It is recommended you start by thoroughly teaching your child three to five words in a lesson. On the first day, introduce three to five new words. In the next day’s lesson, start by reviewing the previous day’s words. If your child remembers those words, move on to introducing three to five new words. If he struggles with, let’s say, two of the previous day’s words, reinforce again and then introduce just one to three new words.

Bear in mind that each child is different. It is much better for a child to have solid knowledge of 50 words than to kind of know 300 words.

Which Sight Words List should be used?

The two most commonly used sight words/high frequency words lists are:

1. Dolch Word List

The Dolch’s list was created in the early 1900’s and is made up of the first 220 basic sight words. Between 50-75% of all words used in school books, library books, newspapers, and magazines are in the Dolch’s Basic Sight Vocabulary of 220 words. These words are “service words” (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and verbs) which cannot be learned through the use of pictures. Because they are used to hold thoughts together, these words must be recognized at a glance before a child can read with confidence.

2. Fry Word List

The Fry’s list was created as an updated list based on the changes in language and is made up of 1000 of the most commonly used words in the English language. It is ordered by frequency. These words make up about 90% of all written language.

So, it is your choice! 

Here are some fun ways mummies adopted to teach Sight Words:

1. IKEA Sight Words Flash Cards

It is clutter free to present sight words in this way. This is used to introduce NEW Sight words. Moreover, it aids in self-initiated learning.


2. Bananagrams Matching Game

The sight word is written on a white board and the child is expected to find the correct match. Sight words are reinforced in this game. Usually, games are not used to introduce new words.

banana-1  banana-2 


3. Car Wheels Matching Game

Match the ‘car wheels’. Have several sets for matching. The beauty of this game is that it is versatile. Let the pictures do the talking!

car-1  car-2  

car-3  car-4  

car-5  car-6

4. Identify and Recognise

Make it a habit to read a book daily and at the same time identify and recognise the sight words your child has learnt.


5. Learning through interactive worksheets

(a) Reveal Hidden words

Use white crayons to write down the words that you want. Then use a marker or highlighter to shade it. The words will then appear.

hidden-words  hidden-words-2

CLICK HERE to download the worksheet

(b) Dab it! Sight words worksheet

Create a table and list down all the sight words that you want. Pick a colour for each sight words by dabbing it on the top of the worksheet

Ask the child to find the sight word within the table and use dot to dot marker to dab it according to the colour that is assign.

ivy-1  ivy-2

6. I spy sight words activities

(a) In newspaper

Use a magnificent glass to find sight words in the newspaper. My child is so excited to see that words appear bigger. Magnificent glass is used to prevent him from straining to find small print in newspaper.


(b) Magazine cut out


7. Sight words games

Different themes of sight words games are created as a review. These games are good alternatives to flashcards.

(a) Egg Toss Fun

Spread the eggs face up on the table or floor. The caller will read out one of the sight words and the other player will flip the correct words and add on to his/her pile.The person with the most eggs wins the game.


(b) splat !

Paste the bubbles on the wall using blue tack. With a fly swatter/ water spray bottle/open hands to 'pop' the bubbles.



8. A good website to share for sight words review

If your child has completed learning all the 220 words in Dolch sight words list, you may want to test your child randomly by going to this website Below is the screenshot of Dolch Sight Words Tester


Never ever rush your child into learning. Do a couple of lessons and if your child has the attention span and is able to grasp, keep on going. If not, pause for a few weeks or a few months before trying again.

We welcome sharing of fun ways to teach Sight Words! You may post in our facebook group or email us! 

Content Source: Mummy Janice Ong , Tricia Lim, Ivy Heng and Jean Chen
Edited By: Preschool Resources
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Preschool Resources.

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