Hello and welcome back to day 4 of our 5-day series on How to Teach Kids With Dyslexia to Read.  Click here to read the series from the beginning.

Today we’re looking at an extremely effective way to teach sight words to kids with dyslexia.

This extremely effective way to teach sight words to kids with dyslexia helped my dyslexic son learn his sight words easily. Bonus? He enjoyed learning them as well!

 

What Are Sight Words?

Sight words are words that don’t follow the usual rules and therefore need to be memorized by ‘sight’.  Other uses for this method are for teaching words that may actually  follow a particular spelling pattern or rule but that you haven’t covered yet and still the child needs to know the word for school or for some other reason.

As we’ve talked before, people with dyslexia can be taught to read with the right methods.  Rote memorization is definitely not one of those methods!  When I peruse the Internet for sight word teaching ideas, I am shocked at how few sight word study methods are really effective for the dyslexic learning style. No amount of viewing flash cards or filling in work sheets is going to help!

The method that I am about to show you is a great example of multi sensory teaching.

How to Teach Sight Words to Kids With Dyslexia

First I will explain the method in detail and then I have included a short video with my 7-year old son, Ben, demonstrating how we study sight words at home.  I should note that until we discovered this method (with many thanks to my teachers at the Dyslexia Training Institute) Ben was unable to learn any sight words even after many weeks of effort.  Once we started this method, he not only learned his sight words easily, he enjoyed learning them as well!

1.  Write the sight word on a flash card.  Have the child read the word.  Of course, if they don’t know the word yet, tell them what the card says.

2.  Trace each letter on the card with the back of a pencil or pen, saying the name of each letter as you do.  Then say the whole word while underlining it.  Do this 2 times.

3.  Trace the word on the table using two fingers.  Like step 2, say each letter as you write it and then say the whole word while underlining it.  You can have your child turn the card over as they get closer to mastery so they are tracing from memory and not from looking at the card.  Do this 2 times.

4.  Using the hand you write with, tap each letter down your opposite arm – going down the left arm or up the right arm.  Say each letter and then the whole word while sweeping your hand down the left arm or up the right arm (depending on handedness).

5.  If your child is writing, have them write the word in a notebook.

6.  Practice these sight words until they can read them by sight 5 or 6 times.  Then put them in a pile for occasional review.

Download a copy of these instructions below:

 

The following 2 minute video shows how the sight word study method looks in real life.

How to Teach Sight Words from Marianne Sunderland on Vimeo.

A couple of notes on the video:  Ideally, your child will trace the letters of the sight words with correct motions.  In this video, Ben sometimes starts his letters at the bottom or writes them backwards.  We are working on this but I don’t correct handwriting during sight word instruction.

When to Introduce Sight Words

Most reading curricula will have their own progression of how they will introduce sight words.  It is ideal, if possible, not to have your kids read books with words they have not learned yet to avoid forming a habit of guessing.  We are using both All About Reading and The Wilson Program and implement our study of sight words according to those progressions.  In this way, reading material will contain only the sight words that our kids are currently working on.

Resources for Sight Words

All About Reading

The Wilson Program

A List of the top 1000 Sight Words

 

 

Have your kids struggled with learning sight words?

Join us here tomorrow for the final day of this 5-day series when we will talk about strategies for building reading fluency.

If you are looking to get educated about dyslexia and how to educate, encourage and empower your kids with dyslexia, you have come to the right place.

For more information on getting started homeschooling your child with dyslexia, download my free ebook that covers things like understanding learning styles and teaching methods, how to create a positive learning environment and schedule, or how to set goals and get it all done.

Get Educated

If you are looking to get educated about dyslexia and how to educate, encourage and empower your kids with dyslexia, you have come to the right place.

For more information on getting started homeschooling your child with dyslexia, consider downloading my free ebook that covers things like understanding learning styles and teaching methods, how to create a positive learning environment and schedule, or how to set goals and get it all done.

For more information on specific strategies to teach your dyslexic child the way he or she learns, consider taking one of our Parent Dyslexia Classes.  Classes now available are:

Understanding Dyslexia

Teaching Them How They Learn

Teaching Reading:  Methods That Work

Teaching Spelling

Building Fluency and Comprehension
Or buy all 5 classes in our Foundation Bundle and receive a free download of my book, Dyslexia 101:  Truths, Myths and What Really Works.

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