What are sight words?
The term “sight words” is used to describe a set of frequently occurring words that children are encouraged to recognize by sight, rather than decode using other word identification strategies. Also called high frequency words, these terms make up 50-75% of the words included in reading material published for young learners. When a child truly knows a sight word, he or she can recall it within three seconds and will not need to sound it out. This level of immediate recall is essential in developing a usable sight word vocabulary.
Why is it so important that children memorize sight words?
Learning to recognize sight words quickly and accurately leads to greater oral reading fluency and allows young readers to save their mental energy for the more challenging words they encounter while reading. Developing a sight word vocabulary can also boost children’s confidence in their own reading abilities, resulting in an increased motivation to engage in independent reading endeavors.
Which words should my child be practicing? What are Power Words?
This year, we are utilizing a new reading framework called IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment), which refers to sight words as “Powers Words” due to their importance to early readers. There are four lists of IRLA Power Words that we will cover in first grade that span the various levels of the IRLA system: 1 Green, 2 Green, 1 Blue, and 2 Blue. To help make practice more manageable for you and your child, I have broken each of these lists down into chunks of 10 words. At the beginning of each week, your child will receive a list of 10 words and a page of flashcards to cut and use for practice throughout the week. Your child will also be bringing home brief activity sheets that can be used to reinforce his or her recognition of these terms. Please plan to set aside five to ten minutes for practicing these words on a nightly basis, or as often as possible. *Please note: Your child does not have to return/hand in the activity sheets or flashcards; they are provided as resource for home practice so that your child has the tools needed for effective practice.
First grade is truly a pivotal year when it comes to developing a sight word bank and by doing so your child is building a foundation for further literacy development.
Thank you in advance for your support with these endeavors!