Teaching Sight Words with Picture Cues

sight words with picture cues

Tricky little sight words

Sight words, or high frequency words, are some of the most commonly used words in the English language. They make up approximately 50% of all written texts. Because these words are so frequently used, it is important for students to be able to recognize them automatically.

Despite their importance, sight words can be challenging for many students. The challenge is that many of the words are not decodable and must be recognized only by sight, hence the name “sight words.” This means that your child cannot use common decoding strategies to figure out the word, such as sounding it out. Instead, they have to simply memorize it, which can be difficult.

To your child, the sight words may look like a jumble of letters that they can’t quite decipher. What they need is a way to make a connection to the word and it’s meaning. One strategy that I have found very helpful is to connect the word to a picture. By adding a picture, students can make meaning of the word, which helps them remember it.

sight word cards with picture cues

Sight word cards with picture cues

I love using the Sight Word Cards with Picture Cues created by Lisa Lynn Riddle, which you can purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers. For each sight word, she has one card with a picture integrated into the word and a second card without the picture. There is also a short sentence or phrase on each card that connects the word and the picture.

sight word cards with picture cues

When using these cards with a student, I start by introducing the cards with pictures only first. We discuss the picture and the phrase, and how they relate to the meaning of the word. Once the student starts recognizing the sight word by the picture card, I add in the cards without the pictures. To do this, I show the picture card first and have the student say the word out loud, then show them the word without the picture and have the child say the word again. This builds their knowledge of the word with and without the picture. Over time, I gradually remove the picture cards. The goal is for the student is able to recognize all the words without the pictures.

While it can take time, this strategy has proven to be extremely effective. I hope you all find this resource as helpful as I have!

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