Kindergarten sight words help beginning readers develop fluency by memorizing commonly used words that make up roughly 50 percent of the English language. While sight words are typically short, some are not easy to sound out or illustrate, so children are more successful at building core vocabularies if they learn to recognize these words on sight.
Sight words are simple and immediately familiar to fluent readers because they make up the main structure of most sentences. Common examples include articles, possessive pronouns, “to be” verbs and auxiliary verbs, such as “I,” “and,” “the,” “are” and “can.” Learning sight words familiarizes young children with a significant portion of text, making it easier for them to focus on sounding out more difficult words and comprehending the contexts of sentences and passages.
Sight words also help beginners improve how quickly they can decode sentences. For example, words such as “we,” “she” and “my” let children identify the number of figures interacting in a sentence or their gender. The words “do,” “said” and “play” show children an action is about to occur and help them distinguish the type of action, such as speaking or physical movement. Teachers and parents may use flashcards to help kindergarten children recognize the letters, because sight words are often too conceptual to convey through visual imagery.