Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Developing a sight vocabulary

It’s essential for young readers and writers to develop a sight vocabulary, that is, a store of words that they recognise automatically. At first, students will learn to recognise high-frequency words and personal-interest words.

The development of a sight vocabulary is a key factor in enabling beginning readers to move on. A store of sight words frees the reader from having to process every single word and allows them to work with phrases and sentences. When learners can recognise or write words immediately, they are free to concentrate on meaning as they read or write. Having a store of sight words also helps learners to acquire further sight words. (See the section on page 36 about relating parts of words to sounds.)

However, even the most experienced reader will need to use word-level information at times – for example, when meeting unfamiliar technical terms. And, for beginning readers, reading accurately takes priority over reading fluently. Gradually, with guided practice, they will learn to recognise most words in a text automatically. Learners acquire a vocabulary for reading and writing through:

  • reading texts that use high-frequency words repeatedly 
  • frequent shared writing sessions where high-frequency words are used repeatedly 
  • repeated readings of easy and familiar books 
  • writing or dictating their own texts to share with the class and their family, using both familiar and new vocabulary 
  • adapting familiar texts in their writing, using similar vocabulary and structures 
  • reading and writing notices, labels, notes on the message board, and signs 
  • constructing charts of words with common sound or spelling patterns 
  • “playing” with words in games, rhymes, and songs.

Published on: 08 Apr 2016