How to teach a 1st grader their sight words?

I have a 1st grader struggling to learn his sight words. He has an iep so he gets extra help but his 1st grade teacher has been pretty strict already only week 2 for these sight words he gets so frustrated when I work with him nightly. I don’t know if any of y’all might have a easier way to teach him his Fry words they want him to know? Thanks!


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How to teach a 1st grader their sight words?

Alphablocks on Netflix is amazing. taught all my kids their letters, words and sounds. They also have numberblocks

If the student has an IEP , then why are they pushed at a fast pace and not with some type of fidelity. There’s an IEP for a reason.


YouTube I’m sure you can find a video that would help, I know I did

My daughter would practice hers in the car on the way to school

Make a game out of learning them.

1 Like

Flash cards & repetition… tutoring? Or since he’s on an IEP, perhaps the teacher has some suggestions?


I took my label maker and labeled a ridiculous amount of things in our house lol. Mainly things my little accessed like pajama drawer, socks drawer, milk, fruit bowl, water, cat food, ect. Did the same for toy bins amd we always leave closed captioning on.


This flash card technique is renowned for children with IDD which means it would also work with kids who aren’t disabled. I’ve seen three year olds with Down syndrome read after doing this program.


Flash cards and repetition. I sit beside them, less imitating. Give them three seconds and if they don’t know it, you say it and have them repeat it. Flip card and continue.

I bought fry word flash cards from Amazon. It made it fun for us.

1st grade was so hard for my son w/dyslexia. Try your best and take a break when he gets frustrated. Some suggestions were to write them in shaving cream. Another thing we did was to write them with chalk outside and have him spray the correct word with water. Did these things help? Idk probably not but it made it more fun and more bearable!


Ask him what would help? Would seeing them help, would rhyming games help? Videos? Games? Would writing them help? Would blocks help?

But ask him how he wants to do it. Kids learn differently visually or doing something physically


He has an IEP for a reason. The teacher should understand what that means. My son is the same way, and his teacher never pushed him too fast, it just makes whatever little progress you make go away

1 Like

Try Letterland. It was a hit with my IEP kid because the characters helped him remember letter sounds. Also break learning sessions up into smaller sessions. I wrote out sight words on index cards to make flash cards for him.

My kids are in 8th and 9th on a 504 plan, they expect to go fast pace know. That’s why their is a plan must follow it. Meaning they violated it, I’m always on there but about it.

Play games we played hide and seek with them, had my daughter shoot certain words with a nerf gun, colored the words. Plus lots of hust going over them.

1 Like

Flash cards! I know they suck but they work. I used to also play the game memory with the words and sometimes have a prize if they got so many.

Heidi songs on YouTube! They’re so catchy.

I bought a metal cookie sheet, plastic magnetic letters and had my daughter spell out her words…and repeat 7 times.

1 Like

Write them out on cardboard and place them through out the house.
Also u might speak to his teacher to ease off a bit, some teachers don’t believe in learning disabilities…I know my dil doesn’t.

I put them on the wall and let them use a nerf gun. Making it fun tends to help them.


Label items around the house as much as you can with a picture and the word and have him match. You can also hold up words on a flashcard and have him choose the word you’re looking for (ex- hold three cards and say point to STOP). If he gets it wrong say here is stop, show it to him and then ask him where it is again and eventually he will get it right after working on it with this method.

I got this and this did wonders for my daughter, she loves this game. I also went to the dollar store and got sight words to create a fun game out of them.

1 Like

Site words bingo … Make it fun

1 Like

i am making these days easily more than $500 per day for doing work online. i got my 3rd payment last month of $16777. i was surprised when one of my close friend told me she was making $17771 per month but now i see how it works.

Check This >>

At work we use shaving cream, playdough, chalk, paint ,glitter and ripped up pieces of paper. It’s a lot of repetition in our class. Sometimes 1 word can take us a month or more. The more you change it up it helps them to see it in different ways. Hope this helps

1 Like

We wrote them on index cards and put them on a ring. Every week we added 3 new words to the ring and practiced the entire ring of words each night.

1 Like

My grand daughter is going into second grade. I would write out the words on index cards. We would make sentences with the cards. Each week we would add the cards to keep it going. We also play a game in the car, who can find the words on billboards, signs or whatever. Also find books using those site words

1 Like

We used a write board we had a large one I would write the words on and he had a smaller one he would write on

Look up sight word songs. We would sing them in the car and throughout the day. It was fun for both of us lol

Tape them to the wall call them out and let him shoot them with a nerf gun or slap them with a fly swatter something fun. Move them around every so often so he doesn’t just get use to the placement of them.


One word at a time. That’s the only way my kids could learn.

Honestly? I have mine sound it out and learn phonics to read theirs


Let them help you cook. Picking out the ingredients. Like make brownies. Write word cards. Egg oil water baking pan size numbers. God Bless y’all

1 Like

Make a song out of it. Worked wonders with my son

Make a game of it by printing the words on post it notes. Stick them at different places around the house. Ask him to find a specific word, bring it back to you, and tell you what it says. Make sure he experiences success - not too many words at once. After he improves, make it a race by timing him.

1 Like

Flash cards with color pictures helps associate word to object. With pronouns we practice each letter sound and I have my son repeat “H.E. He.” “S.H.E. She.” “T.H.E.Y. They.” Repeating it each time and spelling it out.

I bought paper plates and wrote the sight words on them. Then made it a game, laid about 10 on the floor at once and had my child jump from plate to plate as I called them out.


Index cards are great. You can put them on a ring and flip through them, kind of like flash cards. If you have time, it would be great if you could make up little stories with the sight words in them. Songs would help too.

1 Like

I do every day conversations with my kindergartner.

“Mommy, is the tree going grow bigger?”

“Way to go kid, you used some sight words in there! Do you know which ones?”

Once we find out what words she used and spell them, we move on to answering her question. This coupled with flash cards has done wonders!

I make flash cards for my 1st grader. Once she learns them in order, I mix them up a little. I started with 5, then added 1 each week.


Label everything in your home!

The one thing that a teacher friend of mine told me when my daughter was struggling last year in first grade was repetition. They had to know I think it was over 100 words last year by a certain point. The teachers sent home all the words on index cards with an index card ring on it so they stayed together. We would do 10 words a night. After so long of her getting certain ones correct each time I would take those out and focus on the ones that she was having trouble with.
I feel you with the frustration there were many nights that me and my daughter both broke down in tears because she was having such a hard time grasping sight words.
Somebody also told me a suggestion we never did try it because my daughter’s add will not allow her to sit still for as long as the game took but they would take so many sight words and play a matching game and when she matched to the words she would have to tell us what the word was in order to make a pair.

1 Like

With irregular spellings and tricky words, we’d focus on the tricky part, and use the dolch word lists to practice, practice, practice. I let students go to the prize box for every word list they mastered. If they aren’t reading at all, it is important to go back through previous word lists and ensure that they remember them.

Expecting to much from him…

So, I went basic with it for my 14yo when we struggled with this.
Focus on the letter and what it says itself first.
Ex: a says ah, b says buh, c says see…
Do it until you can say the alphabet and they can follow with the sound.
If you know what each letter says, you can put together a word’s sounds and read it.
Also, do it auditory and written.

My son really likes Jack Hartmann videos. You can find them on YouTube. He has all different ones, including sight words. We have also made kaboom sticks for sight words and played that game. You can google that and learn how to play. It’s really simple and all you need is a cup and popsicle sticks.


Teach five at a time add one after five are known. Not everyone is in a time table. If iep isn’t initiated, ask for 594. Adaptations for classroom
I also did lots of phonics and added to their list.

1 Like

Not sure if it’s possible to get this program in the US but look up a company called Little Readers easiest and fun way for your child to learn…try and see if there’s anything you can download from them because we are South African so mine gets taught this program in school

We used “Learning Dynamics” with my son… we started it with him at 4 yrs old… he is currently 6 yrs old and in 1st Grade and can read story books on a 5-6th grade reading level with very little, if any help!! It’s a wonderful program and really helped my son

Flash cards are great. I worked at school for 21 yrs as a teachers aid and library aid. We often had to tutor kids that were struggling. I took the sight word cards and made a game. The kids called it sight word battle. I would put the kids in groups. Each team had a captain that would start the game. I’d flash a card to team one if he got it he had to go to the end of the line and his team got a point. Then the next captain got the next word if he missed he had to stay in the front and no point. He has to stay in front until his next turn if he missed again he had to go to the end of the line (never let them get frustrated or lose interest). The winning team got to go to the treasure box. You can customize this game where you compete with him. Start with the easier words first. Never show him you are frustrated! Praise him for every word he gets right. Give hints on those he struggles with. You can also use masking tape and label everything in your house. Also when in the grocery store point out his sight words you see. Make everything fun. He will learn them. Teaching sight words was one of my favorite things to do. Sorry this is so long. Good luck

I use index cards, write the word, show it to them and help them memorize the word when I read it to them. Start with just a few then keep adding words, slowly. You should practice them daily.

Just because he has a IEP doesn’t mean you get a pass. Put the time in and do the work.

Make it fun. I make mine into a games. I taught my special needs daughter how to do math by playing Yahtzee and card games. You need to use their special skills in those games so they can retain the information.

Insane for a 1st grader.

Try finding and learning the rule. Even sight words of a spelling/reading rule.
Make puzzle word books
Read the word, write the word, say the word
Fly watter game or nerf gun game - put words on wall, say word, swat/shoot word

1 Like

Flash cards. Start with 5. Then add in a few more at a time.

Look up heart words. Not just memorizing. My daughter is a first grade teacher. This is her recommendation.

1 Like

Get sight word books.

i am making these days easily more than $500 per day for doing work online. i got my 3rd payment last month of $19440. i was surprised when one of my close friend told me she was making $17771 per month but now i see how it works.

Check This >>

Flash cards nightly. Then hen we would read a book I would point out sight words and see if my son remembered. Every night we laid in my bed where it was quiet and did sight words. Maybe five times each if he didn’t know it I said he said repeat then move on if didn’t know it just say it. My son is 30 and every word to him is a sight word. Luckily he has a good memory but he is unable to sound out words. He ended up graduating 12th in high school class and magma cum laude in college but we worked and didn’t give up. Didn’t get upset or stressed because he would pick up in that quick.

Put the words around in the house so he can find them. Put LAMP on the lamp so he can relate the spelling to the items around the house! He will eventually find interest in looking for the new words you put out!

Thank you for your perspective on things . After all, you of all people should know!

My daughter is having a hard time too, she’s in first grade. I bought her sight word posters for her room. We will practice 5 for 5 days, then move on. I highlight them on the poster when she gets them, she has an IEP also

1 Like

My son was the same way. He was held back in kindergarten. He also selective mutism disorder. So he wouldn’t talk in school the entire year! Not even to friends. So they didn’t know if he was actually learning. He just started 5th grade, in Middle School! He’s been doing great and talking in school! The past 2 years now. He learned on his own. At his own pace. Oh and he is dyslexic! But he is doing great in school now! He would get so mad and frustrated trying to help him at home! That I stopped. Then we would do homework together, and he knew how to do it. So he really was learning. He will get it! On his own time. Believe me. No reason to make him so upset trying it at home all the time. Just my opinion!

2 Likes I teach SPED and it has units you can run off for sight words. I think it is just 19.95 for the year’s subscription. Starfall is another good sight to use. Not sure what that one cost. I also got some little things this year off Amazon that reads a word card and tells you what the word is. My kids also like the little puzzles they put together to make words. That helps learn it a different way. Also 10 words at a time is too many. If they learn the 5 add an extra one for the week but try not to overwhelm. Having them use the words in sentence that they can read encourages them to want to learn the words.

Get age appropriate books and read

I have my daughter write them each ten times so that she is saying the letter as she writes it

Try Jack Hartman on YouTube, write them 3x each daily. Get post it’s and stick them everywhere in the house that he frequently go’s,index cards etc… Also if he has an iep and you feel the teacher is being too aggressive, I’d suggest a meeting with the assistant principal and possibly changing the 504 plan. Best of luck :crossed_fingers:

Try this website. this worked wonders for my kid

l Get paid over $118 per hour working from home. l never thought I’d be able to do it but my buddy makes over $18229 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The possibility with this is endless.

Go to This.
My students love these sight words flash cards!

First of all, his 1st grade teacher needs to be reminded that since he is on an IEP. He will go HIS pace, NOT hers!! If she is causing him to stress and is triggering him from learning, then she is in violation of his legal rights to learn per his IEP. I would have a seriously talk with the ED Specialist amd teacher and go from there. What are his accomodations and modifications listed in his IEP? If she is not complying with that LEGAL document then you have grounds to seek legal action. I’m NOT saying you have to go that route, but sometimes I believe it is necessary to at least go in with knowledge of your legal rights and possibly look into a liason to help you fight for your son! I was in the SPED dept for 10 years before I became a gen ed teacher and it is crazy how many parents do not know their legal rights!
Now for sight words, does he know all his letters? If he doesnt, focus on letter recognition first. If he does, I would focus on one or two words at a time. Write the word on a white board and say the word “and”. Have him table write it with his finger while saying the letters a-n-d, and. Then begin removing letters (start the end, “d”) and ask “what’s missing”. a-n-_ and he might say “d”. If he doesn’t, tell him the letter and keep going with all letters. Then use magnetic letters and have him choose the letters to the word. He will make the word, mix the letter, fix the letter for the word “and” then hide it with a paper or something and have him write the word on a whiteboard. If he forgets, he can look under the paper for the correct spelling. Start focusing on 1-2 letters first before moving on. This is NOT going to be a fast process, especially if the teacher is adding stress. She needs to educate herself in SPED rights or she can be liable for his lack of learning if she is not complying with his IEP. It’s there for a reason! Good luck and hope you find a solution works for you!


Start with two sight words and slowly add more, he will get it, they are to be memorized

1 Like

Flash cards, reading

Just do ten at a time. Read them together and show how to blend letter sounds to get words. Early Stage reading books should focus on these words. Put them in a sentence that you write out.

Remember that sight words are memorized by shape not necessarily the actual letters. Teach your child to sound out words and as they progress in their skill the sight words are memorized at the same time as they continually see them in the readings

I’d start with just a few of the words at a time, maybe 4 or 5, then gradually move on through the list. Write them down on flash cards, set aside time each day to study those words. Consistency is a must. Read to him everyday, point out the sight words as you read. Let him pick out books that are of interest to him. Make reading fun, kids like to snuggle up and have a good book read to them.

Remind your child’s school board down that the IEP is a legal document. They must follow it. Don’t let them stress out you or your son. If needed call for a ARD meeting.

I did 5 cards at a time and kept gong over them. I gave my son $1 for every one that he learned. It took me one month, but he learned 100 and was even able to make sentences with the sight words when learned them! It was his summer going in to 1st grade. The school wanted to hold him back in kindergarten because he couldn’t read (sight words). I asked them to please let me work with him over the summer. They tested him right before school started and he got a 96 and was able to go on to 1st grade