Early Reading – Teaching Sight Words

I absolutely do not specialize in early childhood education.  When I wanted to teach, I wanted them in high school.  You know, at the age where they are fully housebroken, able to communicate, and have some reasoning skills.  Since having Norton, though, I’ve found myself with an interest in some aspects of early childhood education.  When dealing with his language delay, I had to learn things in order to help him and advocate effectively.  But now?  We’re starting to work on early reading.

Early Reading - Teaching Sight Words (Cloth Diaper Addicts)I don’t read to Norton as often as Heather over at The Parenting Patch reads to Poppy.  Some days I don’t read to him at all.  Other days, we’ll read five or six stories.  It’s whenever he comes to me with a book and says, “Read the story, Mommy?”  Like most things we do, Norton has to set the tone and pace.  If I try to set it, he rebels.

Most of our early reading activities surround Spot the Puppy books.  They’re simple, fun books that appeal to Norton because he loves puppies in general.  The language is simple; the illustrations are cute.  In fact, Where’s Spot? was the first book recommended to us by the speech pathologists of Norton’s language delay playgroup that we added to our library.  We started out using the book to get him to point to things.  It started out with just getting him to point to the puppy, as Norton was never a child who would point to communicate what he wants.  Then we started getting him to point to other things on the pages, like the boat, the bear, etc.  Eventually, it progressed to him pointing to things and naming them, or counting the number of flowers on a page.

It only makes sense that we’d continue to progress with the same books that have been meeting his needs with every other aspect of his language development for early reading skills.  One day, I decided to do an experiment.  Norton knows his letters.  He knows his phonics.  A friend in another city has a son that’s a few months younger than Norton who is learning early reading skills at their preschool.  So why not?  I showed Norton the word Spot when we were reading Spot Loves His Mommy.

Then it clicked.  He went through the book as we read the story and showed me “Spot” every single time.  To check and make sure that it wasn’t just a fluke, we put the book down for a while.  He ran off and played.  We ate Rice Krispy Bats and did cool stuff.  The next time we read Spot Loves Sports, he was still able to show me Spot on the page.  We later progressed to his recognizing the word “Mommy” and will probably progress to “Daddy” later.  It’s a start.  Even better, it’s an early reading start that Norton is enjoying.

Did you teach sight words as part of early reading?  How did you do it?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Blogs from a Single Mom says:

    This post is so cute. My 16 month old loves to be read to. I try to read to her every day, since she’s still non-verbal, but she doesn’t always like to sit still for it. She brings me the book she wants read, then she picks a page and we skip around to whatever pages she wants read. It creates some interesting story mashups!

  2. Awesome! Way to go, Norton! Oftentimes the best learning just happens when no one is really trying 🙂
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  3. Norton is such a smart child.. My son had problems with sitting tight through our reading sessions. He lacked concentration and I was worried about not giving him a head start in reading. But all my fears went groundless when he started pointing familiar words while we read together even before he turned 4!

    • The only way I can get it to happen is if he decides what/when we read. Norton is three and a half, so it’s still within the realm of reasonable. Congrats to getting your son on board with reading!

  4. I remember when you said Norton was starting to read sight words, and I was so impressed! That is really awesome… I enjoy reading with my girls more than anything else. It is so calming for all of us, and I love that it is so good for them.
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  5. My oldest learned sight words in Kindergarten, We haven’t done it with K yet but we do read to him all the time.
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  6. My daughter is very much the same when it comes to pacing, she has to set it. If I try to push it she melts down so I let her come to me when shes ready in many instances.
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  7. this post is so cute really
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  8. I never knew that they started reading at such an early age. When my daughter started pre – k I was shocked and she was very behind, now two years later up to speed with the rest of the class.With my sons I knew better s I started much earlier.
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  9. This is great! My 3.5 year old has no interest in learning to read. He loves stories and sits while I read them but really has no motivation to learn the alphabet or anything like that. I am not worried though, for now we “learn” the things he has interest in. Tools and fixing things, sports, trucks and cars, ect. He will get there I am sure. I am always impressed to hear about little ones learning reading skills though, that is so great.

  10. Michelle F. says:

    My 17 month old loves her books too and constantly brings me books to read.

  11. Reading is just such a precious thing and a great gift to give a child. Good for you! Once my daughter knew her letters and phonics, I started tracking the words with my fingers. I’m pretty sure she had some books memorized and as we read, she probably connected them. It’s actually really neat to see them develop reading skills.


  1. […] did I.) The last time I wrote about Norton’s early reading progress, he had just learned to recognize a handful of words. Now? He’s got the basic words down […]

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