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Sight Words Teaching Activities in Pre-K

by Erica Loop

Preschool children may be able to recognize certain simple words by sight, even if it's unlikely they could read a complex sentence unassisted. According to the child development pros at PBS Parents, young children can "read" familiar words during the preschool years. You can improve your preschool students' literacy levels with sight-word activities that include book-centered lessons as well as those that include environmental print, such as reading a stop sign.

Creating Context

Instead of relying on flash card after flash card during sight-word lessons, put the letters into the context of a real reading experience. While it's not likely that your preschoolers can read an entire book yet, they can pick out specific sight words from the text. Turn the pages of the book outward, making sure the children can see what you are reading. Point to certain sight words as you read them out loud. Ask the children to repeat them back to you. Go back to the book later on, asking the preschoolers to tell you what those words are.

Seeing the Signs

The National Association for the Education of Young Children notes that preschool students can recognize signs in the environment around them. This includes actual signs -- such as stop signs -- as well as labels on foods, toys and other packaging. Go on a sight-word walk around the school or outside in the neighborhood. Point out words that are familiar to the children -- such as "stop" -- and ask them to read them to you.

Label Lesson

Use packaging labels as mini-signs to create another sight-word lesson. Gather together familiar labels the children easily recognize. These labels may include a child's favorite cereal brand, a well-known toy box or even an electronics product manufacturer. Have the children tell you the names that they read on the labels. As the children grow more adept at providing the sight-word names, ask them to get more in-depth and tell you the first letter in the word to extend the activity.

Traditional Texts

If you want to go the traditional route and use a Dolch high-frequency word activity, a flash-card lesson is an easy-to-use option. The Dolch word list includes simple words that find their way into between 50 and 70 percent of most texts, according to educational experts at Chestatee Elementary School. Include the most basic of these sight words -- the full list runs more than 200 in number -- that the preschool students can easily recognize. Make your own flash cards out of index cards, with one word on each card. For example, use sight words such as any, to, ask, be, car, did, fly and he to make your own reading cards.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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