75 words comprise half of all the words that appear in books written in English. Mastery of these 75 words as sightwords allows a child to recognize approximately 50% of the words in almost any book.
In a child's first years of reading, 100 words make up 65% of all the words he or she will encounter.
The Sightword Worksheets teach each child this basic vocabulary.
Instantly on Sight
The “sight” in sightword refers to the ability of the child to recognize the word instantly on sight, without the need to sound it out. The child who reaches this level can already sound out each word and, in fact, must do so to learn the word. The Sightword Worksheets are not surrogate flash cards whose purpose is to cause the child to memorize words for instant parroting on demand. Rather, they have as their purpose allowing the child to internalize a basic vocabulary of words that he or she can read and write quickly and with ease.
A Writing Vocabulary
Knowledge of—as opposed to memorization of—a basic set of words gives the child an extensive writing vocabulary for use in his or her creative writing activities. A child who can already spell words like “the”, “is”, “and”, “we”, “they”, “with”, “on”, “can”, “down”, “all”, “from”, and so on, without having to stop and think about spellings, finds it much easier to write out what he or she wants to say. Conversely, a child who must ask for assistance with even the most basic words spends so much time thinking about how to write and spell the words in the story that he or she can quickly lose track of what it was he or she wanted to write.
The Sightword Worksheets are introduced after the child has completed all of the Writing Worksheets at both the two and three-sound levels. This means that as the Sightword Worksheets are introduced, the child is already well practiced in use of the decoding chart.
A B C D
The Sightword Worksheets present 161 different words over four different levels of activity. The four levels are given letter designations from A to D. The A level worksheets contain words that make use of only the first or white spellings for the sounds on the decoding chart. The B level uses all of the spellings including the double-star spellings. The C level adds silent letters and their spelling codes. The C level also introduces “outlaw” words – words for which the decoding chart cannot produce a spelling.
For an explanation of outlaw words and how the child learns to spell them, click on the Outlaw Words button in the menu bar above.
The D level combines the A, B and C levels, mixing words made up of just first spellings with words using any spellings and words containing silent letters.
The children complete the worksheets by using their decoding charts to write in the correct spellings for the sounds that make up each word. Since the children can simply write the spellings without bothering to read the words for which these spellings are being written, they could become very good spellers of words they cannot actually read. To insure the children to read the words they are writing, a series of tests accompany the worksheets.
A-1 Level - Part One and Part Two
The individual worksheets provide repetitive practice in writing words. The A-1 level parts one and two worksheets each have 12 words on them, but these 24 words are actually only 5 unique words repeated again and again.
Each time a child completes 4 worksheets - for example, A-1 level part one, A-1 level part two, and A-2 level part one, A-2 level part two, the child is tested on the ten words just learned. To take the test, the child selects the test that matches the completed worksheet levels - for example, the child selects A level tests and then chooses the A level 1 and 2 test.
The test page contains 10 buttons numbered appropriately 1 through 10. Pressing each button plays one of the 10 words presented in the just completed levels of the Sightword Worksheets. The child presses each numbered button in turn and writes the spellings for each word beneath its numbered button.
When the test is complete, the child shows the ten written words to his or her parent or teacher to be checked. A score of 100% means that child may begin the next two levels of the worksheets. Anything less than 100%, even if the child misses only one word, means the child must repeat the worksheets just finished and try the test again on another day.
The parent or teacher can check the child’s test either by listening along with the child during the test or by using the answers provided on the downloadable test pages.
Click here to download page 1 of the Sightword Test pages
Click here to download page 2 of the Sightword Test pages
Click here to download page 3 of the Sightword Test pages
The words in red on the answer pages are ones that are spelled more than one way: to and two, no and know, their and there, here and hear and so on. The child must know which word is which for the test being taken. In addition, “don’t” is in red, so the parent knows to teach the child that an apostrophe is to be added to this special word. The Sightword Worksheets are not set up to teach apostrophes.
A Lesson Learned Quickly
A child who does not pass a test the first time learns quickly that there is more to completing the worksheets than simply writing out the spellings for the sounds. The child must also use the sounds to read the word that he or she is writing, to know what the words are for the test.
B Level - Two New Instructions
By the time children reach the B level of the Sightword Worksheets they have learned quite well to read what they are writing. The only additional instructions they need for this new and slightly more advanced level relate to how to use the numbers that appear beneath some of the sounds.
There are two new instructions to be given. First, the numbers beneath the sound images indicate how far down to count on the decoding chart to see which spelling to use. Second, counting starts at the white spelling. Some children initially think that the yellow spelling on the decoding chart is number one because it's the first color that they notice, even though the color codings for the Writing Worksheets have numbers in them.
C Level - Silent Letters - Outlaw Words
The C level adds words with silent letters. The children will already have learned how to write letters for the silent letter stamp from the Writing Worksheets. The only difference now is that the color coded hint is no longer provided. The symbol must be found in the bottom row of the decoding chart by its shape alone.
The C level also adds in Outlaw Words. Before a child can write the spelling of an outlaw word, the child's parent will have to download the Outlaw Words beginning list.
Click here to download a beginning list of Outlaw Words
Because there are only three C levels, the 10 buttons on C level 3 test play that level's words two times each.
D Level - No New Rules
The D level assumes the rules for levels A, B and C have been learned. No new rules are needed. D level is just many more sight words to learn.