BlogELA for KidsHow to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarten Kids: 10 Easy Tips

    How to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarten Kids: 10 Easy Tips

    I always wonder which topic to start with when teaching my kindergartener. One thing that’s always on my mind is sight words – those little words that appear so often in books. You know, words like “the,” “and,” “is,” and “you.” They may seem tiny, but they play a huge role in helping our little ones become confident readers.

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    In this blog, we’ll explore some effective strategies on how to teach sight words to kindergarten kids. We’ll break it down into simple steps, ensuring the learning journey is enjoyable and effective. No fancy words or complicated theories here, just practical tips that parents and teachers can relate to and use.

    So, why are sight words so important? How can we introduce them at the right time? And what fun activities can we use to make learning a breeze? Let’s dive in and find out together. 

    What are Sight Words?

    Vector image of english pronouns

    So, what are sight words exactly? Well, imagine them as super important words in reading – the ones that appear everywhere in our kids’ books. They are the words we need to know because they don’t follow the usual spelling rules, making them tricky to figure out.

    Sight words are those little words that show up a lot in sentences, so our young readers should be able to recognize them instantly without sounding them out one letter at a time. These words are like building blocks for reading smoothly and understanding stories easily.

    You’ve probably seen them before – words like “and,” “the,” “it,” “is,” “he,” “she,” and “you.” They’re like the glue that holds sentences together, making sure everything makes sense.

    Now, why not just sound them out like other words? Well, some words in English don’t follow the usual rules for pronunciation. They might look simple, but saying them out loud can be tricky. That’s why we teach them sight words – words we recognize quickly.

    Think of sight words as the foundation of reading. Once our little ones learn these words, they feel more confident reading more challenging texts and diving into exciting stories.

    In a nutshell, sight word means a word that is recognized instantly without having to decode its individual letters or sounds. They are the superstar words that make reading smoother and more fun for our kindergarteners. As we go on, we’ll find the best ways of teaching sight words to kindergarten kids.

    4 Reasons Why It’s Important to Learn Sight Word For Kindergarteners

    A boy reading

    You might be wondering why it is so important for you to look up for ways on how to teach sight words to kindergarten kids. They are like the building blocks of reading!

    Think about reading a storybook with your kindergartener. Every time they come across words like “the” or “and,” they struggle because these words don’t follow the usual reading rules. They appear in almost every sentence, making it crucial for kids to memorize them. Now, let’s explore why learning sight words, such as “the” and “and,” is of paramount importance for kindergarteners:

    1. Reading Struggles

    • When kindergarteners read storybooks, they often encounter words like “the” or “and” that don’t follow standard reading rules.
    • These words are highly common in sentences, creating challenges for young readers.

    “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

    2. Importance in Early Education

    Early childhood education prioritizes the teaching of sight words. A study conducted over 15 days with kindergarten students showed significant improvement in their ability to read sight words. The students were assessed using 60 flashcards containing 2G sight words, and the results were remarkable. For example, a student named Danny was able to read 21 sight words correctly at the beginning of the study and all 60 correctly at the end. 

    Similar improvements were observed in other students as well. This increase in sight word reading ability was indicative of their mastery over these specific words and a reflection of their overall reading abilities. The study further emphasized that traditional drill and practice methods, such as flashcards, were effective in enhancing overall reading abilities.

    3. Building a Reading Foundation

    • Learning sight words serves as a cornerstone for reading proficiency.
    • The ability to quickly recognize these common words leads to smoother reading and better comprehension.
    • Mastery of sight words allows children to engage with stories without stumbling over basic vocabulary.

    4. Boosting Confidence

    • Proficiency in sight words bolsters children’s self-confidence.
    • The ability to read entire sentences or pages without hesitation is a source of pride.
    • Increased confidence motivates children to read more and explore new stories, nurturing a lifelong love for learning.

    So, teaching sight words isn’t just about those little words; it’s about empowering kids to read, explore, and experience the magic of books. It’s a crucial step in their reading journey that opens up a world of possibilities and knowledge.

    Related Reading: Reasons Why Reading is Important for Kids Development

    When Is the Right Time to Teach Sight Words?

    Teacher teaching kindergarteners

    You might be wondering when to teach sight words to your little one. The answer is quite simple – as early as they show interest in books and reading.

    Most kindergarteners, around the age of 5 or 6, are ready to begin their sight word journey. However, keep in mind that every child is unique, and some may show readiness earlier or later than others. Look out for signs of readiness, like showing an eagerness to read, recognizing letters, or trying to sound out simple words.

    As we mentioned earlier, sight words for beginners are those little words that appear frequently in texts, like “the,” “and,” and “is.” These words are essential for early reading because they only sometimes follow regular reading rules. So, when kids start to read simple books, that’s the perfect time to introduce sight words.

    Don’t worry if they need to grasp all the words at a time. Learning sight words is a gradual process, and patience is vital. Start with a small list of common words and build upon it as they become more confident readers.

    Remember, the aim is to make learning fun. Surround your child with books, engage in read-aloud together, and encourage their curiosity. When they see that reading is a delightful adventure, they’ll be eager to learn and explore more.

    Related Reading: What is the Right Kindergarten Age for Kids?

    How to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarten Kids?

    Teaching sight words to kindergarteners can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some effective strategies to make learning sight words enjoyable for your little one:

    1. Expose your child to sight words early on

    ​​Early exposure to sight words helps familiarize children with these familiar words and their visual appearance. Seeing sight words frequently prepares them for reading and builds recognition.


    • Surround your child with age-appropriate books and reading materials from an early age.
    • Point out sight words in the environment, such as on-road signs, cereal boxes, or storybooks.
    • Engage in conversations that involve using sight words naturally, making them a part of everyday language.

    2. Start with a Small List of Words

    List of sight words

    Beginning with a small set of sight words allows children to focus on mastering a manageable group. This approach boosts their confidence and prevents overwhelming them with too many words at once.


    • Choose four to six common sight words as a starting point, such as “the,” “and,” “is,” and “you.”
    • Introduce these words in different contexts, like in sentences, stories, or games.
    • Once they have a solid grasp of the initial set, gradually introduce new words.
    Related Reading: Sight Words for First Graders That Kids Can Easily Learn

    3. Make read-aloud more interactive

    Mother teaching daughter

    Interactive read-aloud involving sight words encourages active engagement and reinforces word recognition. It also helps children understand the terms in context.


    • Emphasize sight words while reading aloud and encourage your child to identify them.
    • Ask questions about the story to prompt responses involving sight words.
    • Repeatedly read the same story, allowing your child to become more familiar with the sight words used in the text.
    Related Reading: Benefits of Reading Aloud in Classrooms

    4. Don’t Introduce Visually Similar Words Together

    Introducing visually similar sight words simultaneously can lead to confusion and difficulty distinguishing between them. Focusing on one word at a time promotes clear learning.


    • Select sight words with distinct visual characteristics when introducing new words.
    • Use flashcards or other visual aids to reinforce the unique appearance of each sight word.
    • Once your child is confident with one word, move on to the next.

    5. Engage all of their senses

    Teacher teaching kid with multi sensory objects

    Incorporating multiple senses in sight word learning enhances memory and understanding, making it easier for children to retain the information.


    • Use tactile materials like sand, playdough, or textured cards to form sight words.
    • Encourage your child to say the letters aloud as they trace or write the words.
    • Engage in sight word activities that involve movement, such as jumping on letter cards to spell sight words.

    6. Master Essential Sight Words through Interactive and Fun Worksheets

    Interactive worksheets make sight word practice enjoyable, reinforcing learning through hands-on activities.


    7. Teach Sight Words through Interactive and Fun Games

    If you are browsing how to teach sight words to kindergarten kids, then this is where you stop. Using games to teach sight words is one of the best ways to teach sight words. Games add an element of excitement and motivation to sight word learning, making it a playful and enjoyable experience.


    • Play sight word bingo, where children mark off words as they hear them during a read-aloud.
    • Use memory match games with sight word cards to reinforce recognition.
    • Incorporate rewards or praise to encourage active participation.

    “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” – Diane Ackerman

    8. Use Sensory Items For Writing Sight Words

    Using sensory materials for writing sight words adds fun to the practice and reinforces muscle memory.


    • Allow your child to write sight words using colorful markers, gel pens, or chalk on different surfaces.
    • Encourage them to say the letters aloud as they write each word to reinforce auditory learning.

    9. Pair Reading and Writing with Sight Words

    • Encourage your child to write simple sentences or short stories using sight words they’ve learned.
    • Read their creations together, celebrating their progress and effort.

    10. Use Visual Cues (Word Wall)

    A girl writing

    Encouraging children to write their sentences or stories with sight words strengthens their understanding and application of these words.


    • Help your child write simple sentences or short stories using sight words they’ve learned.
    • Read their creations together and celebrate their efforts, building their confidence.

    Every child learns at their own pace, the key is to be patient and supportive. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, and make learning sight words a joyful and engaging experience. By incorporating these strategies, you’ll set your kindergartener on the path to becoming a confident reader!

    Related Reading: How to Teach Reading to Kids: 10 Best Strategies for Parents

    3 Apps for Kindergartens to Practice Sight Words

    Now that we know how important sight words are for kindergarteners and have learned how to sight words to kindergarteners, it’s time for the next step! In this section, we will look at some apps that make learning sight words fun. These apps are like friendly helpers that join kids on their reading journey, with games and activities to help them remember sight words better. They have bright colors, fun characters, and exciting challenges, making learning a thrilling adventure. 

    1. SplashLearn

    Sight Words Resources for Kindergarteners

    If you’re looking for an app that makes sight word practice fun and engaging, Splash Learn has you covered! It has exciting games and interactive activities that help kindergarteners master sight words.

    With colorful visuals and playful characters, SplashLearn keeps kids hooked while they learn. The app offers various sight word games where children can listen to the word, identify it, and reinforce their recognition skills. Besides games, Splash Learn also provides resources like worksheets for practicing sight words. These worksheets complement the app’s games, offering a well-rounded learning experience.

    What’s even better is that Splash Learn uses a smart algorithm to adapt to each child’s level. It tracks their progress and customizes the activities to suit their needs, ensuring they are constantly challenged but not overwhelmed. This way, kids can learn at their own pace and feel confident in their abilities. And the best part is that parents and teachers can track their child’s progress through the app’s progress-tracking feature, ensuring they are making steady improvements.

    2. Reading Ninja

    Homepage of ReadingNinja

    This app combines learning with adventure, making practicing sight words for kindergarten kids an exciting journey. In Reading Ninja, kids seek rescue from their sensei by slicing through the correct sight words. The app presents sight words in different contexts, like sentences and short stories, making learning more meaningful. As children slice through the sight words correctly, they gain points and unlock new challenges, motivating them to improve their sight word recognition skills.

    3. Reading Eggs

    Home page of Reading Eggs

    Reading Eggs is a well-loved app that offers a wide range of activities, including sight word practice, to support early literacy development. The app presents sight words in fun games and interactive exercises, allowing children to hear, read, and use the words in sentences. This immersive approach helps kids understand the context in which sight words are used, improving their reading comprehension.


    Teaching sight words to kindergarteners is a crucial step in their reading journey. Introducing these essential words early on empowers them to become confident and fluent readers. We can make learning sight words enjoyable and effective through interactive strategies like read-aloud, games, and sensory activities. Additionally, using engaging apps like SplashLearn, Reading Ninja, and Reading Eggs adds excitement to the process, keeping kids hooked while they learn. Let’s set them on the path to becoming confident readers and open up a world of possibilities through the wonders of sight words!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How to teach sight words at home?

    Read-aloud, games, and interactive activities are some of the easy ways to practice sight words.

    What is the basic sight word for kindergarten?

    The basic sight words for kindergarten include “the,” “and,” “is,” and “you.”

    Do you teach sight words before phonics?

    Yes, sight words are usually taught before phonics to help children recognize common words that don’t follow regular phonetic rules.

    Amy Gill
    Amy Gill is a Contributing Editor at SplashLearn. As a former teacher, she likes to write about education reforms, edtech and how to make learning more fun for children.

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