ABC See, Hear, Do 5: Sight Words


The 5th book in the ABC See, Hear, Do series teaches sight words. “Sight words” is a term often used in preschools or kindergarten classes, yet it can be defined in two different ways: as words that appear frequently enough in the English language that children need to memorize them to improve reading fluency (Examples include I, in, a, and be); or as words that need to be memorized because they don’t follow traditional spelling/pronunciation rules (Examples include could, has, and was).

Because sight words need to be memorized, classrooms most often resort to pure memorization methods. They send home lists of words and ask parents to go over them with their children until they memorize each one. Some kids learn these words quickly and easily. For other kids, staring at flashcards with plain ol’ black words scrawled on them is laborious and painful.

To address the latter crowd, I continued with the ABC See, Hear, Do proven method by assigning an action for each of these words. I used the actual American Sign Language signs for as many words as possible, though I did have to modify some of them. Many English sight words aren’t used in ASL at all, so in those cases, of course, I created the actions myself.

Because the nature of reading whole words is slightly different than learning sounds, I decided to deviate a touch from the ABC See, Hear, Do animal theme, and used monsters instead to help children remember each sight word. I combed through lists and lists of the most common sight words, only choosing those words that 1) haven’t appeared in the first four ABC books and 2) can’t be easily sounded out. At the back of the book, I also included bonus pages with high frequency words that children can sound out.

Now, instead of staring at word lists, children can actually have fun as they learn their sight words. The colorful monsters and actions make learning sight words easier and definitely more memorable.