Teaching Sight Words by Mapping Speech to Print

In the education field, the term sight word is used to represent many different things based on who is talking and their training and pedagogy. For some, sight words are synonyms for high-frequency words. For others, it refers to words that they consider irregular or rule breakers and are considered words to memorize. Then there are those who refer to sight words as any word that is read automatically. I fall into the latter category and refer to sight words as instant words or words that we know by sight. 

I first began my teaching journey well over two decades ago. At that time, my college peers and I were taught to teach our students to memorize sight words. We also explained to our students that English spellings were unpredictable. 

I then transferred to a school that used Siegfried Engelmann's Direct Instruction which directed that all words, regardless of irregular spelling and pronunciation, were sounded out. This was my first introduction to helping students...

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