Do You Know the Best Way to Teach Sight Words?

There are many ways to practice high frequency words or the even more difficult sight words. The best way to teach sight words is a technique call “Drill Sandwich.” You essentially sandwich unknow information between known information for the best way to teach sight words.

Teach Magically Do you know the best way to teach sight words

Sight words are essential to fluent reading. Repeated exposure and memorization are crucial for
students to read fluently and consistently. Students must be able to read these words quickly or decoding will take too much time and effort. When reading takes too long, readers become frustrated and comprehension suffers.

How Can You Teach Sight Words?

Drill Sandwich is the Best Way to Teach Sight Words

The drill sandwich strategy is a way learners can practice and learn any information (new sight words, math facts, vocabulary, spelling words) by mixing what they know with what they need to learn. This method is typically more motivating to any learner because the new information is next to something known so it helps alleviate frustration.

Only three new pieces of information needs to be the focus, while still reviewing learned material to help send it to long term memory. Why? because of the repetition of course! Learning information in this manner is much more manageable for students, and will help them learn quickly.

Pin Best Way to Teach Sight Words

How to Build a Drill Sandwich

1.) Make set of flashcards for the information to be learned. (sight words, math facts, letters, numbers)

2.) Go through the complete stack of cards once, separating the list into two piles – knowns and unknowns. (Hint: Cards are marked known only if the information is automatic. If the learner has to think even for a few seconds ( I usually try to count to 5), then the card should be placed in the unknown pile for more repetition of the information.)

3.) Build a “sandwich” using seven knowns and three unknowns. Be sure to follow the pattern below. (K = known; U = unknown)      (KUKKUKKUK)

4.) Have the learner practice identifying all items in the order of knowns and unknowns.

5.) As the unknown items are learned move them into a known section of the sandwich by removing well-known knowns (be sure it is automatic….no guessing!). Add new unknowns and begin the learning process again.

Some students need more time that others. Don’t move on until the words are really known!

Remember to make teaching sight words fun! 

Click here to find the 50 words needed by Kindergarten that include sight words and high frequency words.  You can cut them apart to make small words cards to help you sort. I use the cards below to make Drill Sandwich Flash Cards and games to play.
Sight Word Cards

REMEMBER: only practice 3 new words mixed up with 7 words you already know.  It can take between 25-55 times before they go to long term memory!  Click on the picture to find the words to make.

Recognizing high-frequency words by sight primarily involves memorization; and memorization comes most easily through repetition. Remember:  PRACTICE! PRACTICE!  PRACTICE!  

Read and Write Sight Words

Students need to read and write high-frequency words as often as possible. Remember you want kiddos to read/write as quickly as possible. Kiddos think it’s fun to set a timer!

We read Sight Word Emergent Readers during guided reading! I love that the kiddos can take these home to show off and practice! We also read to Ozzie, our therapy dog, and our book buddies. Check out how we read sight words with Alphabet Poems.

emergent reader sight word books teach magically

Of course kiddos LOVE to color them, too! You can find them, here!

Quick Writes to Learn Sight Words

Also check out the picture below. I gave the students 1 minute to write all the words they could spell without looking around the room. Then I record the number and the goal is to get more the next time! This is fun word work during guided reading or when we have a few extra minutes.

quick writing sight words by teach magically

Sight Word Sorting

Sort the words into words columns. First is a column of words that can be read in 5 seconds and then is a column of words to work on learning. Be sure to count and discuss the words known. After that look for an increase each day.

sight word sorting by teach magically

Play Sight Word Games

Make 2 copies of the words and play “Memory” with the cards!  But don’t forget to remind kiddos to read them as quickly as possible. If a child doesn’t know the word in 5 seconds give them the word. Because it is really hard to unlearn a word that has been learned wrong. Check out Sight Word Reading. Basically, it explains the different clues I give to help students understand sight words and high frequency words.

sight word memory by Teach Magically

Finally, here are a few resources I use to practice sight words. Click on pictures!

Sight Word Rhyming Posters for Writing Teach Magically
My Favorite
Word Finds to practice Sight Words Teach Magically
All Sight Word Resources
Emergent Readers for Sight Word Practice Teach Magically
All Emergent Readers

Certainly make sure to go check out my store, Debora Marines TeachMagically for more resources for  learners! So here’s where you can find me on social:

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Make everyday magical,
❤Debora from Teach Magically

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