What are Sight Words and Should You Teach Your Pre-Schooler?

Date :
February 19, 2022

What are sight words? And should you teach your pre-schooler?

Many pre-school and kindergarten institutions begin to work with sight words during the final stages of developing and preparing children to begin formal schooling. Employing the use of sight words can be a beneficial step-up when it comes to the reading and writing program that will be followed in the first official year of school. 

Debate exists as to whether or not you should devote your time to working on sight words with your pre-school child. While some find the exercise exciting and rewarding, others can become resistant and learn to dread reading as the pressure can sap the enjoyment from the experience.  

For students already in Foundation and Prep, school will be employing sight words as part of the curriculum. Sight words are commonplace words that are somewhat difficult to sound out – hence they need to be memorised for students to be able to make meaning of texts.  

Sight Words and Your Child

Making sight words fun and engaging is key to child engagement. Traditional methods include the use of flashcards as a strategy, but this is definitely not for everyone! A more meaningful engagement with sight words is to incorporate them into your reading schedule. Your school will send home ‘readers’ that are filled with short stories based around sight words. These small texts will help your child to embrace language learning.  

Should I Teach Sight Words Before School?

Key advice here would be to speak with your child’s pre-school teacher to gain some insight into how your child is going with reading inside the classroom setting. Reading with your own child every night (and every chance you get) is going to cement this classroom learning and form the basis of the learning of sight words.  

There is nothing stopping you from giving your child the advantage of going through sight words together. Here is a useful guide to sight words. Keep in mind that it is quite the list – don’t be overwhelmed! Just choose a small selection of words to go through and stop if your child becomes frustrated or distressed. Keeping things light and fun is important. An organic way to begin is to point out sight words in picture books you read together. 

Different Levels of Sight Words

In the classroom, the readers will be broken up into colour coded categories based on your child’s comprehension and retention of sight words and how they can decode sentences and phrases based on their knowledge. Don’t consider these as ‘levels’ so much as guides. Be careful not to compare your child to others in their class. Every young learner is different and any small milestone is to be celebrated.  


Get reading on classic May Gibbs’ stories to embrace and enhance your child’s love of learning and literature.



Miss LouiseMiss Louise
Miss Louise is a qualified teacher and here to help educators and teachers bring the magic of May Gibbs works to life for young minds