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What every parent should know about sight words

Most parents know that sight words are important because it’s something teachers send them to do daily for homework. There is, however, method to the madness. In fact, sight words are critical to the intellectual development of your child.

Sight words are words that need to be memorized in order to help your child learn to read and write. The idea is to help your child recognise the top 300 English words by sight and not by breaking them down into individual letters or sounds. Strong readers recognize words.[1]

So, let’s have a look at the most important facts every parent should know about sight words. You’ll never look at those flashcards in the same way again.


Sight words are the cornerstone of reading

Believe it or not, these 300 sight words make up about two-thirds of all written material. By teaching your child to identify these words, the rest is a breeze.

Recognizing words is what we all do eventually, as you’re reading this post, you’re not actively breaking down each word to make sense of it all, you’re just skimming over and making sense of the words by the context around them.

Your brain recognizes whole words, take for instance the word ‘mother’, you don’t break it down into m/o/t/h/e/r when reading (and, by the way, ‘mother’ is a sight word). This helps you read faster and helps you make sense of what you’re reading.


Your child needs your help - make sight words fun and rewarding

One of the biggest mistakes parents make when teaching their children sight words[2] is not making it fun and rewarding. Not only will making it fun help your child to learn, it will also help them excel.

A recent study found that teaching that incorporated a game-based approach actually outperformed traditional teaching. Your child will do better when they’re having fun. And, I understand the conundrum, how do we make something as repetitive as sight words fun? Luckily, technology has come a long way and apps are changing the way we teach. Not only are teachers incorporating technology in the classrooms, but parents can also utilize this technology to help their children at home.

The Sprout Words App is interactive and was designed to feel like a game where children can “sprout” their own little word monster by winning coins to help them grow! With the right technology, we can also track the intensity of the work that’s being done and incorporate a fun “get up and move” task when they really need a break.

In addition, we’re creating a fun lesson pack that compliments the app and helps make interactive teaching easy for parents. It includes flashcards, worksheets, a schedule and a lesson plan to keep things easy for parents and fun for kids[3] ... no need to think about when to do what.

Sight words boost reading comprehension, helping your child learn everything elsefaster

Sight words use rote memorisation. That means by teaching your child sight words you're helping them build their capacity to retain information. As teachers, we start the process of teaching sight words with the easiest and simplest list of words, as our children learn and progress, the words get progressively more difficult. Every step of the way your child is getting better at “memorising”. A critical skill for all future learning.

This is inevitable, and by helping your child learn faster, and getting it right, you’re also boosting their confidence.

With the Sprout Words App, we aim to help every parent teach their children sight words in a fun, engaging and smart way. Make sure you give your child the best support in their journey to becoming great readers.

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