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3 tips for teaching your child sight words

Teaching sight words can be a challenge. Children aren’t used to focusing or memorizing, and as parents and teachers, it’s our job to keep them engaged just long enough to get it to stick.

However, we all understand the importance of sight words. They are critical to your child’s reading and writing future, so it’s equally important that we put in the effort now, so our kids can reap the rewards later.

In this article, we look at the top 3 tips for teaching your child sight words, making them effective, fun and easy for any child (and parent).

Practice daily - Rote Memorization

There are over 300 sight words, and many of them can’t be sounded out, associated with pictures, or they simply don't follow the rules of phonics. That means the only way to truly learn them is through rote memorization.

Rote memorization is a learning technique based on repetition. The strategy is to help your child quickly recall the word by sight, by repeating the material often. A recent study noted that learning sight words improve children’s overall memory - once a sight word is learnt, it is replaced by a more difficult sight word.

Every time you help your child learn sight words, you’re helping them build more capacity to retain information. We start with easy words and as they get progressively harder, your child is also getting better at “memorizing”. A critical skill for future learning.

While rote memorization is the basis of learning sight words, it is by no means the only method and should be mixed with other methods. Another recent study found that games and other “fun” learning techniques can help your child learn faster.

Make it fun

A study published in the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties revealed that children who incorporated a game-based approach to learning outperformed those who followed a traditional program. In addition, they also found games to be great for remediation in older children who were still struggling.

Games can be a great way to keep your child’s attention while still facilitating learning. It makes learning fun, but it should be used as a tool to improve the experience. It doesn’t replace repetition.

In the Sprout Words App, we have incorporated games, physical activities and rewards to keep children motivated and make the learning experience fun. One of the biggest issues in learning is knowing when to incorporate different activities, to help your child reach their full potential. The app does that for you, by taking all the different difficulty levels and durations into consideration.

Adapt to your child

In a recent article we wrote, we discussed the 3 biggest problems with how your child is taught sight words[1] . One of the biggest issues children experience in classrooms is that cookie-cutter teaching method.

Children are unique, they learn at different paces and they are all at different levels. Make sure you offer your child enough additional learning material and varying difficulty levels to keep them engaged.

The Sprout Words app has three different difficulty levels, as well as dyslexic font settings to help children with dyslexia.

By incorporating these three tips into your teaching method, you will help your child get ahead of the game. At Sprout Words it’s our goal to make learning and teaching sight words fun and effective.

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