When a reader is attempting to decode a word we sometimes say he is trying to “sound out” the word. As important as these decoding skills are, it is also very important for readers to instantly recognize certain words without having to decode them at all. These are words that appear over and over again so frequently that the reader needs to be able to recognize them on sight. For example, consider the word the. This is the most common of all words and appears about 75 times every one thousand words. Consider the astonishing fact that the 10 most common words make up 24 percent of all printed material. The 25 most frequently occurring words make up about one-third of all printed material. Can you imagine how it would slow us down if every time we encountered these words we had to pause for a moment to decode? Multiply those pauses by the regular appearance of a few hundred of these commonly occurring sight words, and you can appreciate the value of knowing them instantly. The sight word test evaluates your child’s knowledge of 300 of the most commonly occurring words in print. Mastery of sight words can be a real boost to any developing reader.
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