In this day and age, parents and guardians of children are constantly inundated with reinforcements of educational priorities and new scientific discoveries about what’s best for their kids: new research about breakthrough learning methods, newly discovered long-term effects of this social situation or that, or why sight words are so important for toddlers learning to read…the list goes on.
How do you prioritize which new methods or learning skills to implement in your child’s life? What’s most important?
It may come as no surprise that the earlier the quality education, the better. Research shows that high-quality early childhood education can significantly improve the chances that your child will excel in their later formal education settings. Wide exposure early on to the areas that will be a part of their future schooling (reading, math, science) can improve a child’s ability to quickly and more easily develop complex skills in those areas. For example, an extensive vocabulary is linked to improved literacy development.
So much of a child’s education will be reading-based (textbooks, dramatic literature, poetry, novels, research for assignments, you name it!), so it makes sense to ensure reading and vocabulary skills are well-developed as early on as possible.
The development of reading skills should be as accessible as possible for toddlers, and reading is made more accessible through the learning of sight words. Many words are learned phonetically: sounding out individual letters and stringing together sounds to pronounce and read words. But what about those common words that aren’t so easily read phonetically? We’re thinking of words like “blue,” “see,” or “my.” For toddlers and new English learners, these words are not so easily sounded out! Instead, they’ll learn to recognize those sight words and pronounce them based on familiarity and memorization.
Learning certain sight words helps a child to recognize and fluently read non-phonetic words so that the rest of their reading experience is fluid, seamless, and accessible. In other words, sight word memorization allows a child to devote more of their mental energy to reading the more challenging words they’ll encounter in a book or learning activity.
Learning sight words makes use of orthographic mapping, the process of embedding printed words into your long-term memory. Multiple exposures to a sight word—and plenty of orthographic mapping!—allow a child to permanently memorize the pronunciation of a sight word. This makes it so much easier to read a sentence like “The cat is in the hat!” when a student is in the middle of trying to sound out “cat” and “hat!” “The,” “is,” and “in” are sight words, and with many exposures to these words, they can read right through them while they work on nailing down those more phonetically-friendly words.
This is why we created the BümoBrain Enrichment Classes! These engaging courses will provide multiple opportunities for your child to develop their phonics, sight words, and overall reading skills, step-by-step, with plenty of those oh-so-necessary exposure opportunities.
Start with the Alphabet & Phonics class, where students will practice recognizing letters and pronouncing beginning and ending sounds of the most common words. Next, we recommend the Reading Camp, which provides the phonics and reading comprehension practice necessary on the journey to learning more and more sight words.
Finally, the I Spy Sight Words class provides students with fun and engaging opportunities to practice identifying and reading aloud an abundance of sight words! This class will take orthographic mapping to the MAX, giving your child a chance to memorize those sight words so that the rest of their reading education journey will be made easier and more accessible.