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Do's and Don'ts of Sight Words

Sight words. Those two words are pretty much etched into the brains of any elementary school parent. We know they're important and we want our children to internalize them, but there's just one problem...


Sight words are critical to reading not only because they are used so frequently, but also because many of them cannot easily be sounded out or illustrated. - K12 Reader

In some cases, you've tried and tried to help your child memorize their word lists for the umpteenth time and they're struggling to remember. And in other scenarios, your work schedule or your lack of strategies prevents you from being to effectively support your child.

To get you started, I've created a quick list of behaviors I encourage and behaviors I encourage you to let go of.


  • DO set goals of words per week.

  • DO set aside dedicated time to work on sight words

  • DO try creative ways to make sight word practice fun!

  • DO find an appropriate sight word list for your child based on their level.


  • Don't pick random words.

  • Don't teach them to sound out non-phonetic words. Many sight words CAN'T be sounded out.

  • Don't get frustrated if they forget words.

  • Don't expect mastery if you aren't practicing consistently.

Here are a few resources to get you started.

  1. Visit for free resources to help your child read!

  2. Sight Words Pacing Guide: The lists are broken up to teach 5 words a week. Feel free to edit based on your child's school list, but be sure these words have been mastered.

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