Tips for Teaching Sight Words by Phonics Skill

Have you been working hard to align your literacy instruction to the Science of Reading by working on orthographic mapping, decoding, phonics skills, and building fluency but are stuck on the best way to teach sight words? There is a better way that focuses on teaching them so they stick! Keep reading for tips on teaching sight words by phonics skill and get a free sample from the new bundle!

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Why teach by phonics skills?

Most sight word lists are not organized by phonics skill and students often get words like “around, there, and of” to practice at home for the week. Parents are left clueless about how to help their students learn these words without memorizing them directly. A typical practice includes writing them 10 times, clapping out the letters, and spelling them out loud in carline. Sound familiar?

Then students get them correct on the weekly spelling test but then cannot read or spell them a week or two later. Why?

Students did not move those words to automatic retrieval because they didn’t map them or decode them for a deeper understanding.

That’s where teaching by phonics skills comes in! The best part is that by teaching the skill students won’t just know the 10 or so words on the list but be able to apply it to ALL words that follow the pattern!

As stated by Dr. Martin Kozloff, teaching letter sounds can greatly open up the doorway to reading fluency!

How to start teaching sight words by phonics skill:

Start with letters, sounds, and phonemes. Use a sound wall in your classroom and engaging activities to build meaningful connections between speech and print. Learn more about the Sound Wall & Activities Bundle Here.

We always recommend following your school’s scope and sequence but if you need guidance on where to start:

Start with open and closed-syllable words.

-Make sure students have a strong base of what a vowel is so maybe pre-teach that a bit if they don’t have that.

-The half-page pages in the printables section may be very helpful for your students – have them write the C and V under them or color them different colors to really practice it.

-Use the phonics posters to really make a mental story for them with these two. The O falls off the cliff and says NOOOOO because there is nothing there to stop him in open syllables. The Closed has a letter so he is nOt going to fall off. Stress the long and short sounds in those two words.

Then move on to CVC words.

Then you can either do digraphs/blends or silent e (depending on your needs/curriculum)

The support you need:

Not sure how to explain these rules, map the words, or support students at home? Don’t worry, the explanation letter for teachers, support staff, and families is the perfect place to start! This easy-to-read letter for each phonics skill explains the rules, maps the words included, and further gives directions for any challenge words. Exactly what you need to get started!

Teaching your students the WHY will not only help your students read the words they need to in your class but will also help them as they read more complex words as they advance. (That’s the super important part).

What else is included?

Each phonics set includes over 70+ pages of activities to support a deeper understanding of the spelling pattern so students can apply it to their reading and writing.

So if you’ve been wondering why your current list isn’t organized by phonics pattern, you’re not alone! There is a better way to teach sight words so they actually stick!

What about heart words?

You’ve probably heard about the heart word method of teaching sight words and are wondering if this resource works with that approach. YES! many lists include challenge words that will stretch what your students can do. For example, in our Open Syllable set there is the word she. If your students have not learned the SH sound yet they could put a HEART over the SH so you can tell them it’s a skill that is coming but for now, they just have to know it by heart.

Hearts should be done sounds they have not learned yet – hence DECODING sight words.

New Sight Words by Phonics Pattern Resource

The goal is to move all words into sight words by mapping, decoding, and storing them for automatic retrieval. To do that students have to know why the words make the sounds they do.

Enter your email below for the new bundle of Sight Words by Phonics Skills sets and get a HUGE FREE SAMPLE.  Each set is focused on one spelling pattern or generalization/rule.  Teach your students the pattern or rule and then watch them decode ALL the high-frequency words with that pattern.

Each pattern includes a separate 70+ page file with these resources:

  • Parent letter explaining the pattern and list of the words.
  • Poster for the spelling rule or generalization or pattern.
  • Word Lists in 3 different sizes and in color and black and white.  These include the main rule for that group of words.
  • Decoding Cards with how to map them on the back in two sizes – one for class and one to send home.
  • Word Mapping Printables
  • Half-page printable where students can circle the patterns and/or highlight the consonants and vowels in different colors.
  • Fun printables like rainbow coloring, spin and write, cut and glue, search and find, color by code, and more.
  • Sentence printables where students will fill in the decodable sentences and another where they write their own.
  • Cut and Color words for all of the words in fun patterns on the list.
  • Two foldable books that review the words, the pattern, and a quick fun activity.  These books fold into fourths.
  • One half-page book filled with activities for the group of words including mapping, reviewing the rule, and checking off the word once they know it.
  • Pocket chart cards in full size for your wall and in mini size so students can have a set.
  • Assessment pages with the rule and without.  We also include a key with words and sentences to dictate.

Use this new way to teach “Sight Words” so that it really sticks for students!

What teachers are saying:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️“This is one of my favorite Simply Kinder products! I love that this resource is SoR aligned and it will help my students learn their sight words in a way that makes sense. The variety of pages that are included for each phonics skill provides me with everything I need…and more! Thank you so much for creating such a comprehensive resource that has literally saved me hours of time!”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I love this bundle and how much this is going to help my teaching be stronger for my students to become fluent readers. I have a few struggling kiddos that they just haven’t gotten to that light bulb moment with letter sounds and blending CVC words and sight words YET, but I know this resource will help me save time and be better at teaching my kiddos sight words and learn the skills so they can decode any unknown word. YAY! Thank you for making this awesome resource!”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “My students and I love this resource. It not only helps them, but it helps me review before teaching them. I love that we are no longer memorizing words but learning to decode them!”


Enter your name and email and get a huge free sample from the new Sight Words by Phonics Skills bundle! Ready to teach sight words by phonics skills! Yes! Shop here on Simply Kinder or here on TpT. Better yet, get it as part of Simply Kinder + here (along with thousands of other resources you know and love.)

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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