Sight words are designed to improve a child's reading ability by teaching him to visualize words found in everyday speech using flashcards and games. This improves reading speed and accuracy, leading to better reading comprehension. The methods can be used in regular school settings or for home schooling.
The games and cards are based on Dolch's list, which contains 220 of the most common words used in children's books. Unlike nouns, such as "cat" or "dog," these words can't be illustrated with a picture. Examples include "the" or "and," that are in the pre-primer Dolch's list. By the time the children get to the second grade, they are given words like "always" and "your."
Dolch also uses a list of 95 nouns, which can be illustrated. These aren't divided into suggested age brackets. Beginning flash cards usually have pictures and words. As the child progresses, just the words are displayed.
The games make the lessons more interesting. Children learn to read and spell through repetition. If a child says and writes a word at least five times in one setting, that child is more likely to remember it. Playing games like "Go Fish" or "Concentration" with specially made sight word cards, reinforces the rote learning.
One company, Sight Words, specializes in creating games, flash cards and teaching aids for different grades. They offer downloadable word lists, templates and instructions for making games and lesson plans.