Friday, May 11, 2018

Printable Sight Words Flashcards

Reading is a cornerstone skill for learning languages. However, teaching to read in a foreign language is a very complicated task for educators, and especially for those who work with little kids. It may seem like children struggle with reading even in their native language, let alone in English which they study as their second language. But, fortunately, most kids absorb languages very quickly as they frequently do at their age. It is the way their brains function as they start to discover the world around them. So many ESL teachers apply tried and true methods of teaching kids to read used by native language speakers. One of such methods is whole word method based on so-called sight words.

The kit has more than 550 Dolch sight word cards (including 95 image cards for nouns as well as cards featuring verbs in different forms)

The method implies memorizing high frequency words (sight words) as a whole by sight. Kids memorize how words look and thus learn to automatically recognize them in texts. It is especially useful for words with non-standard spelling patterns such as “was” or “come”.

First grade sight words
List of sight words (Dolch words) introduced in the first grade

One of the most popular lists of sight words was created by Edward William Dolch in 1938. He picked out 220 high frequency words from children’s books of his era. Those words should be easily recognized by kids for a better start to learning to read. They say that Dolch sight words cover from 50% to 75% of all words used in library books, school books and newspapers. It looks like a solid base for kids who learn to read in English as foreign language.

Color Coded Sight Words Flashcards


I tried to use sight words flashcards that I could find and download online. But the problem is that they all looked too dry and plain. Working with them is far from being fun for kids. So I decided to create my own set of printable sight words flashcards with the following benefits:

  • Attracting attention due to an unusual shape of cards
  • Color coded flashcards to help kids learn word order in English sentences
  • Sight word nouns with corresponding image flashcards
  • Interactivity and gamification

Sight words flash cards
Sight words flashcards designed for kids of different age groups, ranging from kindergarten to middle school

My cut out flashcards have an arrow shape and they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Children intuitively want to put them together. Teachers can make sentences with those cards and ask kids to do so. Playing with words in such a way will help young students better and faster memorize them. The arrow shape is unusual, so the cards like these are likely to grab children’s attention which is great for learning.

color coded second grade sight words
A sample of my color-coded sight words flashcards (introduced in the second grade)

I’ve designed cards with nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions and conjunctions in different colors. I believe that kids will unconsciously remember color sequence patterns in sentences and thus get used to the right word order in English language. Different colors of flashcards will also help students quicker find necessary words during games or assignments that require them to put words into a sentence.

Sight words images
A sample of my sight words flashcards featuring nouns and matching images

The best part about my set of sight word cards is that noun cards go with picture cards. The set has images for all 95 Dolch nouns. Children think concretely and they often need to associate words with objects to better understand and remember new vocabulary. It is for a reason that children’s books are full of illustrations. The younger kids are, the less text and more pictures their books have. So I think it is natural to introduce nouns along with images. I created image cards in an interesting shape too in order to attract kids' attention and use them for different assignments, activities, and games.







Activities with Sight Words Flashcards


The shape of my sight word flashcards as well as accompanying picture cards allow for interactivity and gamification of some assignments. Such activities help kids learn reading, expand their vocabulary and practice grammar. Here are a few activities I propose to organize using the flashcards.

Reading sentences composed by the teacher


Sight words sentences
Kids are asked to read simple sentences made out of sight words flashcards

Sight words sentences with image flashcards
A more challenging assignment is to read the sentences with nouns replaced by images

sight words activities

Dolch words activities with pictures

Practicing grammar with sight words


sight words grammar
Using the sight words flashcards, teachers can introduce different grammatical constructions such as negative sentences


I have added flashcards for different forms of sight word verbs to the set. Therefore teachers can introduce concepts of present, past and future tenses as well as of the regular English verbs in the third person singular form in the simple present tense.

Sight words verb forms
My kit of sight word flashcards has verbs in different forms to introduce present, past and future tenses

Finding related words (object + attributes, associations)


sight words flashcards assignment to find related words
Children are asked to find sight words related to images

Making silly sentences


silly sentences with sight words, game for kids
Silly sentences are fun. Making them can be a nice game that helps kids better remember sight words and grammatical constructions.

sight words game, silly sentences

Telling stories made up of sight words


sight words stories
Kids can tell stories about themselves using sight words

Stories made up of sight words flashcards
Students can also read each other’s stories, replace nouns with images and ask other kids to read stories with images instead of words.

Dolch sight word stories

Stories with sight words and images

My kit of sight words flashcards contains all Dolch words (divided into pre-primer, primer, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade words, and nouns), 95 image cards to go with the sight word nouns, and sight word verbs in different forms (third person singular, present participle, past participle, perfect participle). There are more than 550 cards in the kit. If you believe you could make use of such flashcards for your English classes, you are welcome to purchase my printable Dolch sight word kit in the printer-ready PDF format.
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