Kindergartners need to know letter sounds, short vowels, and some sight words to read books. Short vowels are: a_ as in hat, e_ as in met, i_ as in hip, o_ as in hot, and u_ as in cup. Reading Elephant printable phonics books allow kids to practice short vowel words and some of the most common sight words. To help kids master these sight words, here is the Reading Elephant Kindergarten sight word list:
the, to, a, are, said, was, from, they, you, have, there, again, your, some, water, who, what, one, would, come, could
The above words are in Reading Elephant’s printable phonics books. While reading our books, Kindergarteners can gain practice with the most common sight words.
What are sight words?
Sight words break the phonetic code in some way. “Would” is a sight word, because the /oul/ component is irregular. “Play” is NOT a sight word, because play is completely phonetic: _ay regularly says the long a sound as in jay, slay, day, ray, bay… etc.
Although sight words always have at least one irregular component, they also have regular components. In “would,” the /w/ and /d/ are regular. In they, the /th/ is regular. In from, the /f/, /r/ and /m/ are regular and so on. Thus, kids can sound these words out. However, after they sound out a sight word, they have to make a sound tweak to arrive at the correct pronunciation.
Why is there some debate about teaching sight words?
There are some, albeit few, educators who don’t teach sight words. They argue that kids can and should sound these words out as they stumble upon them in text.
While I agree that systematic phonics is the most critical aspect of early literacy, some sight words instruction is necessary. Kids need to learn some sight words before they begin to read books. If they don’t, their accuracy rates might be too low, and this will make the child feel like a failure.
In addition, kids need to learn to spell sight words. These are common words. To become confident writers, kids need to know how to spell, would, could, they, from…etc.
To help your student practice reading sight words, check out our printable phonics books.