There are many excellent resources on the Internet for helping children learn to read. Among these are a number of high quality sites devoted to interactive sight word practice and instruction. While many offer parents and teachers downloadable materials to print and use with their children, there are also a number of outstanding interactive tools for aiding young people’s sight word development. These websites are superb tools for reinforcing the skills being developed through sight word instruction.
Here’s an overview of the types of interactive sight word websites available as well as recommendations for high quality online learning tools to use with your children:
One of the keys to helping children learn Dolch’s sight words is repeated exposure to the words in their print forms. While printed flashcards are the most frequently used tool for instructing children in new sight words, the Internet offers some interactive activities to help boost their recognition of sight words in print.
- http://www.quia.com/cc/91216.html: This site offers a fun , interactive game of concentration using Dolch’s first grade list of sight words.
Because most of Dolch’s sight words are already in children’s verbal vocabularies , learning to read them is simply a matter of connecting the print word to the oral version in their prior knowledge banks. To help with this there are a number of excellent interactive sight word learning websites with audio components. These sites give the user the option of hearing a word read aloud through the click of the mouse. Some even include fun age-appropriate games to reinforce the connection between auditory and print words.
- http://www.quiz-tree.com/Sight-Words_main.html#intro: This site is an excellent learning tool for children who just beginning of the process of learning sight words. Organized by grade level, each Dolch list on this site allows the user to hear the word read aloud by clicking on it.
Illustrated Sight Words
An often used strategy for teaching children sight words involves demonstrating the connection between the print word and its picture. Just as young readers use the illustrations in picture books to help them understand the text, pictures can also help them commit sight words to memory.
- This website created and hosted by a Florida school district, provides children with a wealth of practice connecting pictures with print words. There are a number of activities for each of the Dolch grade level sight word and noun lists. In each activity, the user is presented with a series of colorful pictures under which there are pull down lists of sight words. The child scrolls down to select the print word that matches the illustration. At the end of the activity he is given an accuracy score. There is also a downloadable record keeping sheet that parents or teachers can print to help keep track of the words that the child has mastered.
Sight Words in Context
Another effective strategy for teaching sight words is presenting them in context. When children see words used in natural ways rather than in isolation they are more likely to remember them because they develop an understanding of the word’s significance and meaning. Several online teaching resources have used the power of animation to offer high quality interactive tools to help children learn Dolch’s sight words.
- Three sites provide children with fun, interactive and colorful animated stories featuring sight words:
- http://www.sadlier-oxford.com/phonics/grade_k_1/high_fre/hifreq1.htm: This website is a great resource for children who have already had exposure to sigh words and simply need reinforcement. Here users drag the appropriate sight words from a list into the sentences that they best fit. The site gives accuracy feedback at the end of the activity.
Sight Word Spelling
Once children are able to read sight words the next logical step is for them to learn to write the words that they are now able to say and read. A number of websites offer young people activities to practice and strengthen their sight word spelling skills.
- http://www.netrover.com/~crose/dolch/dolch.htm: This site offers eleven lists of sight words for children to practice spelling. Each word is read aloud and the user needs to select the appropriate letters to spell the word. The activities are timed and higher point values are given to those who spell the words quickly.
- http://www.dositey.com/language/spelling/Mislet3.htm: This resource presents children with a game where they must fill in the missing letters in a series of sight words used in context. It is a great tool for children who are fairly comfortable spelling Dolch’s sight words, but need a small amount of reinforcement.
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