De-Bunking the Myth


In my last post, we talked about sight words and the importance for early readers to learn them. You may hear that sight words cannot be sounded out. They must be memorized by sight. Sometimes this can be misconstrued by educators and parents alike to think that all sight words should just be memorized. I’d like to debunk this myth.

When you teach children vowel sounds and patterns, they are able to decode many sight words. It is true, that many sight words do not follow the vowel patterns.  However, examining the sight word to as to whether it follows a common vowel pattern is always the first step. It gives children a starting point for all words they encounter and the confidence to try to sound them out. In teaching children sight words this way, you are reinforcing basic reading skills. Some memorization is required, but many sight words can be learned by simply applying their phonics rules.

For those children where reading seems to come easy, it might not seem important at first to teach them strong phonics skills. They probably will understand that some words are different and may quickly memorize many words. But, there can be trouble with just memorizing. By the time they are eight or nine years old, their reading vocabulary is growing exponentially. Memorization of all new vocabulary is not practical nor possible. Adept readers understand “the how” to sound out words. Using solid reading skills when learning sight words early on, has a huge payoff later in upper grades. Research suggests that the typical eight year old has a vocabulary of approximately 10,000 words. Do you see why it is important to learn how to sound words out effectively?

Take the time to explain to your child “the why” behind certain words they see frequently. Research shows when a child makes a connection with “the why” words sound the way they do, they will remember how to read, spell and write them. The Voweletics reading method is all about “the why”.