Learning Sight Words Through Reading Together

Learning sight words while reading together is one of the best ways to teach sight words because it provides an opportunity for children to practice sight words in context.

Children need to hear good, fluent reading, and reading together is how they develop a love for books. It is a magical time for them because it is time spent with you and only you. Looking at the pictures and discussing them builds vocabulary, and imagining what comes next is the foundation of comprehension.

There are some things you can do to help build the child’s sight word vocabulary while you read.



  • Have her pick out and read the first and last word of sentences. Explain that words are grouped together in sentences and that each expresses a complete thought. Look for punctuation together and talk about the fact that it marks the end of each sentence.
  •  Have her find a certain word on each page: “Can you show me the word ‘cat’ on this page?” Becoming familiar with the Dolch Sight Words will help you identify them on the page for concentrated practice since they are the most commonly used words in written English.
  • Make word cards for some of the words for later practice. The next time you read together, you can practice those words and add more. Before long there will be enough for a word wall on the inside of a closet door or hallway where you can play word wall games together for even more practice.
  • Expand sight vocabulary with word families. Learning happens when the brain attaches something new to something it already knows. So adding words in the same “word family” is a solid way to expand sight word vocabulary as you read. “Look at the word ‘cat.’ What word would it be if we changed the ‘c’ to an ‘f’?” Write the new word on a word card and add it to the collection, and so on.
  • Make new words together by adding beginnings and endings to them. The word “read” could lead to the new words “reread” and “reading,” for example.

Return to Reading Together from Learning Sight Words

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Red Dot

Children often confuse similar looking words. When this happens - or when she is not sure of a word - placing a red dot in the middle can help her see the middle of the word.

The dots may be placed right on word cards and privately owned books, but for library books you will want to put a red dot on a piece of clear plastic and use that as you read together.

Red dots may also be used to improve reading fluency. Click on the red dot below for details.

Helpful Links

Word Walls - an overview

Sight Word Games

Word Adoptions

Sight Word Clapping Games