I’ve already touched on it a bit, but incorporating daily calendar activities into your routine is a fantastic way to start building your preschooler’s reading skills. Practicing letter sounds with the months and days is one way to get your child ready for reading, but another excellent way is to introduce them to sight words.
Sight words (also known as high-frequency words) are the words that most commonly appear in children’s literature (and other printed works as well). They are words that children are encouraged to memorize – know by sight – so that they don’t need to use any decoding strategies while reading. A strong sight word vocabulary is extremely beneficial to helping your preschooler develop strong reading skills.
I highly recommend incorporating a weekly sight word into your calendar routine. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just easy to read and not too close to any of the other calendar components (you don’t want it to get lost in the mix). I use a permanent marker and write Julia’s weekly word on some fun polka-dot cards I bought at a local educational supply store, but there are tons of free sight word printables on the internet if you don’t trust your handwriting! Click any of the links below for free sight word flashcards.
Which words you choose to introduce are entirely up to you. So far I have introduced go, the, can, like, and I to Julia, in the hopes that soon I’ll be able to create short sentences for her to read. Here’s a great list of sight words you can use to help you get started – start with the words in the blue column and keep working through the lists until you reach the white column.
This list can be found at Hagio Graphic.
We currently focus on one word a week, but if Julia masters the word quickly I might introduce a new word before the week is out. I save our sight word cards, and whenever I introduce a new word I quickly quiz Julia with the previously learned words to be sure that she can still read them. If she struggles, we spend a day or two reviewing the word before moving on to the new word.
Tomorrow I’ll introduce some fun strategies and games to help your preschooler connect to the words a little more!