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The Importance of Sight Words

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Whether you’re a parent who has just sent their first child to primary school or you’re a veteran and have children in primary school, the term “Sight Words” will become (or is) very familiar.

As an adult, reading is something you’ve learnt to do and utilise in everyday life, the mechanics of learning to read you may not remember, but I assure you it would have begun with high-frequency, core words that are used most often in reading and writing. According to Study to Identify High-Frequency Words in Printed Materials, by D.J. Kear& M.A. Gladhart, “sight words account for up to 75% of the words used in beginning children’s printed material”.Furthermore, 50% of texts are made up of the same frequently used 100 words. So mastering sight words is hugely beneficial in creating fluent readers.

The whole principle around sight words, is that children learn to recognise and say the word within 3 seconds without having to utilise any decoding strategies. Most sight words are easily recognised and small, but there are several sight words that don’t follow the basic phonics principles and cannot be easily sounded out or illustrated within a text (was, like, what, where), therefore children need to learn these words by “sight”, hence the term “sight words”.

Teaching sight words not only enables a child to read more fluently, it also assists them to write more efficiently as well.


Don’t just read from their sight words book, this will become a chore for your child and for you (trust me…so monotonous).Utilise games online and offline. Try our Sprout Words app then print our free sight word games or make Pinterest your friend.When your child loses interest, give them a break or wrap it up. This time may vary depending upon the child’s age, motivation and memory skills but remembering they are only young, so short stints will work best.

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