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JennBeisel
JennBeisel , Parent asks:
Q:

Is four too early to begin with sight words?

I am considering beginning to work with sight words with my son. Is four too early? He won't start kindergarden until he is almost six(due to cut off date). He knows most of the alphabet already.
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness, Helping my child with reading
> 60 days ago

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Expert

childpsychmom
Mar 1, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

First of all, pat yourself on the back for doing all you can to get your son ready for kindergarten!  Great job!  When to start working with sight words is different for every child.  

Before getting started on words, make sure he knows his upper case and lower case letters.  While you're at it, you could work on identifying numbers 1 to 10, too.  

Then, you'll want to start teaching him the sounds that each letter makes.  Jumping right in to sight words can be confusing if your child doesn't understand the sounds that go along with each letter.  You can practice that skill easily with the same alphabet flashcards you've probably been practicing with. Just hold one up and say, "What sound does this letter make?"  Same flashcards, just a different question!  

After you feel that he's gotten a good handle on the sounds, then it's probably time to start with some easy sight words.  I'm attaching a link to some of the words that are most used in kindergarten.  The link even has a printable sheet that you can cut for flashcards.  

And of course, throughout it all keep reading to him his favorite stories, so he can see those words in action!

Best of luck and again, great job on giving him the head start he needs!  

Polly Blake Dunn, Ph.D.

www.ChildPsychMom.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/childpsychmom
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andreavarani
Mar 7, 2011
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
I would like to answer this from a different viewpoint than the professional that answered before me. I am a mom of three and would say YOU, and this holds true after your child enters school, and only YOU are responsible to keep your child learning how to read first. Teachers are great; however, you keep your child moving beyond the expectation and most kids without dyslexia or other language learning issues are able to read and comprehend well beyond their peers.

Before kindergarten your child should be able to identify all lower and uppercase letters and their sounds. Sight words come with exposure to reading. With respect to vowels, your child should know the short sounds first. From this, your child should be able to start blending.  

There are many educational enrichments out there to help your child to read. I would encourage you, for not much money to buy the abeka home school program and continue to use this as your child enters school. It's the most comprehensive phonics program out there. For not much money you will have blessed your child to the exposure to classics and a phonics approached untouched by the current public/public school approaches.

A second to abeka is hooked on phonics. If your child knows their letter sounds start using the first program, even if it's too easy, and keep moving forward after your child enters school as this will get your child over the hump of the 1st month of school when most teachers are assessing rather than teaching. Thus, your child is still learning and having exposure to daily reading. Keep this up over the summer!

I can't understate the importance of parental involvement. My first is dyslexic. I bought the hooked on phonics deluxe version in 1998. I still use this on my second and third child. It works!!! My first took a great deal of effort from me; however, my two others without dyslexia used this program to keep them learning those letter sounds , sight words and word families. My youngest will enter K next year and she reads. Naturally a part of reading is learning those words that don't follow phonic rules and she knows this and has learned may sight words.

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Additional Answers (24)

Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi JennBeisel,

No, it's not too early to begin working with sight words.  If he recognizes the alphabet and is showing signs of reading readiness, sits with books and looks through the pages pretending to read, or makes up his own story from the pictures, he is ready to read.

I saved the list from when my daughter was in Kindergarten to use with my son, who will begin Kindergarten this upcoming year.  I'm going to share the list with you here:

a
all
am
and
are
at
be
big
by
can
for
from
go
got
have
he
I
in
is
it
like
look
love
me
my
not
no
of
on
out
play
said
see
she
that
the
they
to
up
was
we
went
will
with
yes
you

Write these words on the back of index cards to make yourself a set of flashcards.

You may also want to use emergent readers, links included, these are free printable mini books, print in black so he can color the pictures.  Read the books with him, repeat several times, he will become familiar and you'll be surprised how many words he will be able to remember and read.

Don't forget to include the sounds that letters make.  This will help him greatly when he starts school.  Just keep it all fun and enjoy your time with him.

Hope this helps!  Best Wishes!

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rsap
rsap writes:
He needs to have a firm knowledge of capital and lowercase letters (out of order). Along with that, he needs to know what sound the letters make (start with short vowel sounds first and make sure you are teaching the correct way the sound is made). I teach my Kindergartners how to read using this same method. When a child reads, they should know the letters that they are looking at (teaching them out of order) along with the letter sounds so they eventually take those sounds and begin to blend them to read words. We use the Dolch word lists plus words from our pre-decodable and decodable books (part of our Reading series). Its great to see when your child grasps a concept that is so important. Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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zyanasia
zyanasia writes:
no.the early education the smarter he'll be i started sight words at 4 and can read 204 words a minute
> 60 days ago

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meveronica21
meveronica21 writes:
I started my son at (late)4 but what I would recommend is, if he doesn't already know, the letter sounds. I started with S, M, T. The way I decided to help him with the sounds was; S= I found socks, a sun object, scissors, etc. So that when he saw the letter S he would hold the objects. Once he learned 90% of his letter sounds I moved on to site words. Just a thought.
> 60 days ago

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jmamable
jmamable , Caregiver writes:
not at all too early! This site has some great sight word offerings that will ease your child into it. Check the selection out at the link below.

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Mimi02
Mimi02 writes:
No,it's ''never'' too early really!
> 60 days ago

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salfam
salfam writes:
I see there are a lot of great answers, but I just wanted to share that I started teaching my son around 4 years old  -- sight words on a "word wall", refrigerator magnets of the words (homemade), and by pointing to the words in books. He's 5.5 and a great reader now. Good luck and have fun with it!
> 60 days ago

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Loreann
Loreann writes:
I am curriculum coordinator for a day care/Preschool in Wisconsin. We have a preschool group of 3 1/2.4.&5 year olds. Since "class" began we have worked with the children and sight words. Not only do they love it , but they are great at it even the younger ones. If children are ready at 4 to learn sight words, what is the harm? I can see that it will only help in the long run.
> 60 days ago

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specoly
specoly writes:
Coming from the perspective of a teacher, it is NEVER too early to start with your son/daughter's education.  I am a veteran Special Education teacher (30+ years) and I have found that students advance better when their parents and other caregivers have taken an interest and exposed them to learning opportunities.  Good luck with the future of your son's education!
Laura Spears
> 60 days ago

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sanchezmomof4
sanchezmomof4 writes:
absolutely not I think the earlier the better, however keep in mind that the attention span of a 4 year old is not going to be the greatest so I would start off with a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time as the child gets better. Good luck and good for you for starting the learning earlier.
> 60 days ago

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BeaReader
BeaReader , Teacher writes:
The first thing I would do is work with them on the alphabet letters singly, period. Once they can recognize each letter and say the sound of it without struggle, then you can help them sound out simple words such as "at" and add a c: c-a-t, etc....sight words then may be added when they are pretty good at what does make a proper short vowel and consonant sound. (you can make out cards for them)
This is the method taught in the book "Why Johnny Can't Read" and in the game, "My Phonics Bingo". When they can recognize what is consistent with first, short vowels and regular consonants, then the sight words come easy, as well as the next stage of long vowels when you for instance take a word like M-A-T and add an e; thus changing it to a long vowel. A great method!

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mfbama
mfbama , Parent writes:
I wondered the same thing and did a bunch of research on the topic. I basically concluded that if your child seems interested, go for it. If not, don't sweat it. I actually came on to the site just now to print off more sight words for my four-year-old daughter. I tested them out for the first time last night. I taped six words to the floor, and had her run to the words as I called them out. She had a lot of fun with it; however, some of the sight words they include on this sight are more advanced ("nine", "must", "new") so I'm going to just start with two-letter words. If she loses interest I won't push it--she'll learn to read eventually no matter what, and I want her to love it rather than viewing it as a chore. Good luck!

--Cait
> 60 days ago

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baddest
baddest writes:
no it is not
> 60 days ago

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DeniseFarrow
DeniseFarrow writes:
My granddaughter is four and she already knows about half of the pre- primer words.
> 60 days ago

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LittlePeopleTeach
LittlePeopl... writes:
Flash CARDS????Are you kidding? There is a great quote that goes something like this...We can start at four and work everyday to get a child to read, OR we can wait until they are six ~ it will come so easy and they will have spent from 4-6 gathering such wonderful experiences (trips, plays, playtime, hikes etc). It would be nice to go into a room (kitchen, etc)and look for things that start with certain sounds (I Spy...) i.e. something that starts with /t/-toaster  /r/ refrigerator  /m/ milk...Spending about 10 min a day or 3x a week. Flash card info doesn't interest the brain & it is hard for the brain to hold on to flash card info....
> 60 days ago

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JeanPerkins
JeanPerkins writes:
It depends on your child's interest in "formal looking work" ., as well as his ability to focus . Many children enjoy the challenge of doing "kindergarten work", and thrive on mastering sight words especially  if presented in game form..not drill, or flashcards. Fishing for words..making craft type cards decorated with a picture of the word if relevant  or keeping a "my words" treasure box or bank account as each is learned will give a sense of pride and keep the fun in learning.If your child isn't having fun and enjoying these kinds of activities wait a while.
> 60 days ago

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LynnKudlacz
LynnKudlacz , Teacher, Student, Parent writes:
I would say that I would work with them, but in a fun manner until he is going to school. By making it something he avoids, you may set a bad idea of what learning is. It's great to encourage what he is enjoying and make learning part of everyday.
> 60 days ago

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radz
radz writes:
Not at all. Normally some preschools will set a goal of the first 10-20 sight words for children to learn, kinder is up the the first 50 words, 1st grade is 200 words, 2nd up to 400, 3rd to 600, 4th to 800 and 5th to 1000. Also all kids can exceed these goals. Once they learn the first 50, they seem to pick them up even faster and move way ahead of the goal. So rewarding for them. Go ahead and teach them. My granddaughter (22 months) knows 10 sight words, my grandson is 3 and half knows 40 words. Fun practice and exposure keeps them motivated and wanting to learn. I believe in teaching kids very early as long as it is fun and they do not feel pressure. Go for it!
> 60 days ago

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LeonorJackson
LeonorJackson , Teacher writes:
Four is an excellent age to start with sight words. I started by cutting out sight words and placing them on an ice cream stick (the kids really love that) and then proceeded to go online with Samson's Classroom and by getting the DVD's, coloring books etc from PreSchool Prep and within weeks the children started to read their sight word books.

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crazypenguingirl
crazypengui... writes:
no it's a perfect time my nefew can say moo,who and some other animal sounds if you say the animal. ( he is 20 months old )
> 60 days ago

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