How to teach the sight words

As many of you know, Mrs. Karle’s learn to read for free program teaches children to ready by introducing new sight words each day.  When children feel confident about the words they have learned, the student then moves on to the next day to learn the new words that she introduces.  Children slowly learn and build on their new sight word vocabulary, learning to read at the same time!  Mrs. Karle also weaves phonics into her lessons so the student not only learns sight words, but phonics in the context of each daily story.  Here are a few suggestions on how to teach the sight words.

Why and How to teach the Sight Words. Explicit videos and worksheets to help teach reading !

Why is it important to learn sight words and how should students learn to read them?  Here are a few facts about sight words that will help show you why it is important to have a focus on sight words while teaching a child to read:

  • Many sight words cannot be sounded out phonetically – students need to know them by sight.
  • Eighty percent of the words that children read are sight words.  If children know these words fluently -they will read correctly (at least!) 80% of the time.  This will give the student confidence in reading and the children will like reading because they will feel good at reading.
  • There are a few sight words lists that teachers use when teaching reading:  Dolch sight words and Fry sight words.  Mrs. Karle’s program uses a combination of the two programs.  Upon completion of the 120 day program, children will likely be reading at a second grade level.

How should you teach the sight words?  Should you teach them out of context (like through flash cards), or, should you teach them in the context of a story?  Sight words should be taught in context of a story or sentence.  Students will learn and retain the new word more easily when they learn to read it in context.  Students learn that the sight word has meaning, and that reading has meaning.  When reading comes alive, students want to read more to know more.   Reading the sight words in context is not simply reading to memorize and forget, but rather reading the sight words is reading learn and remember.

Sight words are a great tool when teaching reading.  They help a child build confidence and, when taught in context, help a child to understand that reading has meaning.    Starting of Day 1 of our learn to read for free program you will see how introducing these words in context makes learning to read easy and successful for both beginning and struggling readers.

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Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound ReadingMrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 8 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets and Parents Magazine online. Over the last 8 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.


  1. Thanks to you, I have more learning tools than I’ll ever use! I love your suggestions and it makes me think outside the box when teaching our little one.

  2. I have a child 5 with apraxia of speech!
    What’s the best way to teach reading?

    1. Hi there, Thank you for your question. We have a lot of success with children with speech delays and autism. Our reading program is geared for children with special needs – taking things slowly and repetitively and building confidence step by step. What is most important when teaching reading is to build confidence because you don’t want the child to struggle (because they will start to dislike reading/they will not want to read). You can give our reading program a try at: – The Reading Patch. There are 3 free lessons you can try and see if your little reader likes doing them, is learning to read -and, more importantly, LOVES reading. Hope this helps! Please feel free to email me at [email protected] and I am happy to help you!

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