Exactly one year ago I spent these two weeks leading up to Easter introducing and practicing sight words, also known as “high frequency words” with KC that I used to write clues for our annual egg hunt that led to her basket on Easter morning. What a fun way to acquire some basic sight words and use them in the context of searching for a much anticipated treasure. So much fun that we do this every year!
Why use sight words? Sight words appear frequently in most of the text we read, but some of these words such as (the, to, are, look) cannot be sounded out. Learning to recognize these words instantly by sight help children as they learn to read and become more confident, fluent readers. The “Fry word list” is a list of sight words organized in order of high frequency, and the first 13 words (the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, was, for) are supposed to make up 25% of the words we read. The first 3 words (the, of, and) are the 3 most frequently used words in English.
You know your child best and will recognize if they are showing signs of being ready for learning to recognize some words. There are so many ways to keep it fun with games such as Concentration, Bingo, Go Fish, Word Searches, Board Games, Flash Cards, Making words with different materials, etc. If you notice any frustration, you can still write out clues and read them with your child as they hunt for Easter egg clues.
New to our Easter egg hunt or need a refresher course?
Practice your new sight words using fun exercises and games like these
Check out our Easter egg hunt in action
Is your child already familiar with those six sight words?
We invite you to Join KC and I as we work on these 2 most crucial things over the next two weeks leading up to Easter.
TODAY, MAKE 12 FLASHCARDS (Go, go, To, to, The, the, Look, look, At, at, In, in) to see which ones your child knows without hesitation and which ones he/she is a little unsure of. Then we’ll play lots of games with those words over the next two weeks! Remember, games (especially ones that involve movement) are a fun and very effective way to practice.
A child should know these so well that they can read them instantly before moving on. Repetition is key to learning sight words/high frequency words. Children do not learn new words by being exposed to them only once. Each time a child hears or says one of these words, he/she is that much closer to committing them to memory and recognizing by sight. The number of times it takes obviously depends on the child, how the word is presented, and how they are exposed to it. But I can assure you that the more one-on-one time learning and practicing sight words with an adult, the greater a child’s chances to integrating them into his/her long-term memory.
#2 Read your Alphabet Word Wall daily or nightly.
Remember our homemade ABC Word Wall? A Word Wall is a way to organize words that your child has learned to read. This is one of the first activities teachers start with daily in Kindergarten. I encourage you to make one of your own if you haven’t made one already, and suggest hanging it in your child’s room so that it can be reviewed daily or nightly. (See below for details on How to read your ABC Word Wall)
After about one to two weeks of reading your Word Wall daily, your child will almost have the pictures memorized. The pictures hold the key to moving on with decoding new words! The reason is because once your child knows for example that the picture for “Pp” is parrot and that it’s because parrot begins with the /p/ sound, then when he/she comes to a new word in a story like “party”, even if they don’t know the word, they can get their mouth ready for the /p/ sound like they hear at the beginning of parrot, and with a picture clue or the context of the other words in the sentence, they have a good chance of knowing it says “party”.
I know that this looks like a lot of work right now, but it will pay off big time! Send us pictures of your Word Wall to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to feature them all on our blog!
How to read your ABC Word Wall
- Model for your child by pointing below the letter and picture for Aa apple as you say/read what you are pointing to. Be sure to have a conversation about why each picture is in a particular box. For example, “An ‘apple’ in the Aa box because when I say ‘apple’, I feel my mouth make the ‘a’ sound like the letter Aa. A makes the ‘a’ sound.”
- Have your child try it
- Go to Bb ball and repeat steps 1 and 2
- After completing steps 1 and 2 for the 1st row of letters, you will now model the entire 2nd row at once
- Have your child try the entire 2nd row
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each row until you’ve completed the entire alphabet Tip: You will be able to tell if you can do the whole chart or 1/2 the chart in 1 sitting
- Read your Word Wall daily or nightly
- Add each new sight word to your Word Wall as they are introduced. For example, (go) goes inside the Gg box. When you come to a box with a sight word inside, point and repeat the letters again before reading the word, Gg go. Tt to. Etc.
KC’s ABC Word Wall has made a comeback and she hopes that you will join us as we prepare for our Annual Easter Egg Hunt! Details at lifeasus.com (link in profile) #lifeasus #pressplay #parentwithus #sightwords #highfrequencywords #earlyliteracy #prek #egghunt #easteregghunt #reading #preschooler #learningtoread #literacy
p.s. Let’s also continue to add new sight words IF you feel that your child is ready for more. These new words will not be used for the egg hunt. KC is ready and asking for new sight words. However you may decide that it’s important to simply reinforce the six sight words above before adding more. We will introduce 2 new sight words in the next few days: (a, i) if you choose to play along.
Please note: This version of our egg hunt is best suited for 4 and 5 year olds but can be modified for younger children. Here are some suggestions:
For age 3, Stick to only 1 word, such as “the” with a picture next to it. Practice the letters T, t, H, h, E, and e, and then the entire word “the” between now and Easter so that your child is familiar with the word “the” before your Easter egg hunt. When your child opens up their plastic egg and finds a note inside, you point and read the word “the” with them and ask, “What’s this a picture of?” Then reread it, The kitchen. And off you go!
For age 2, simply draw a picture of the location of each egg. In preparation for the whole idea of looking at a clue and going to that location, in the weeks leading up to Easter you may try drawing some pictures of some place in your house or yard. Ask your child what it’s a picture of and see if they can walk you to it. Then give them another picture.