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Teaching Sight-words

Robert Solman

It is generally the case that teachers, instructing young children to read single words, present these sight-words in the company of pictures representing the same objects. For example, when teaching a child to recognise and later read the word I dog', the teacher presents the word accompanied by a picture of a dog. It is assumed that the child will make use of the information presented in the
picture to help learn the word. This practice was first adopted in the early eighteenth century, and it seems to be the case that these early teachers also assumed that since the children can recognise the thing in the picture, they can use this information to more easily associate the graphic symbols of the word with the visually derived representation of the object. There is strong -evidence that this assumption is false, and as a consequence teachers should stop using pictures when teaching sight-words.

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