Tips for Constructing Life-long Readers
- take some tape and stick some high frequency/sight words to a wall
- use a flashlight and read in the dark
- practice some letters and sounds using flashcards made out of index cards
- make two sets of the index cards and play a game of memory
- read a book with your child and discuss the beginning, middle and end of the story
- read a book with your child and discuss the characters and setting
- visit the public library and book stores with your child to get them excited about reading
- read aloud to your children (students never outgrow being read too)
- have your children read out loud to you
- have your child try some nonfiction books and create a poster about the facts they learn in the book
Building Automaticity in Reading
The terms high frequency words and sights words are often used as synonyms but a sight word is thought of differently when it comes to reading research.
A high frequency word, is a word that is commonly used in speaking, writing, and reading every day. Students come into contact with these words countless times a day and are often the “glue” for young readers to be able to read and write stories. High frequency words are often taught before they are phonetically taught because young readers need to be able to automatically recognize them in books that they read (e.g. the, all, from). These words help stories to “make sense.”
A sight word is any word that can be automatically pulled from a child’s lexicon (a person’s vocabulary). Whether it is seen on a flashcard or in context of a story. Once a word is stored in a child’s lexicon, it is known as a sight word. Young readers are building words every day to store in their lexicons, and once these words are automatically stored in their lexicons, then they become known as a sight word. For example, if your child can read the word “dinosaur” automatically while reading a story aloud to you, then “dinosaur” is a sight word to him or her.
But whether you call it a high frequency word or a sight word, the purpose of learning these words is to build automaticity of recognizing these “glue” words in reading and writing. When you practice these high frequency words (sight words), please keep the following tips in mind:
1) Look for high frequency words in books, magazines, or any other print and read that word within the context of the sentence.
2) Practice high frequency words by using your entire body (sky write, sidewalk chalk, arm tapping, singing, dancing, etc.)
3) Always see, spell, write the word, and use it in a sentence to build context of the word.