Beginning Readers -Sight Words: Lesson, Activities, Tips

The lesson is a jumping off point to become a unit done in days, weeks, and course of the year however necessary. Never take a lesson and end it, keep it going. 

Lesson 1: Learning Sight Words 


The student will identify in print 5/6 sight words correctly with individualized CVI adaptations in place by pointing or saying the word on request when instructed. 

Note: What CVI adaptations are necessary for comfortable reading...this assessment takes place over time. A baseline is created for success. The goal is not that they can see the word, the goal is that it is easy and comfortable for the student to read. If they are struggling visually to read words this is not an accurate assessment of their intellectual abilities. A book can be written about this, for the brevity of this lesson, I am giving you Sadie’s adaptations at this moment. 

Sadie sitting at a table with peers with her WWW flashcards on a black background.


What does the child know? (for example: can they visually identify their name and basic words like: mom, dad, print)

  • Do they follow each word when it is being read in books? Can they identify any words in print? Do they identify the letters and sounds of all letters in the alphabet?
  • What do I want them to learn?
  • What skills are required for them to achieve this goal?
  • What adaptations must be in place for optimal learning? 


Attached are the sight words we used in Sadie’s 1st grade class, they are typical but check with your school and use what they use for consistency

Packet of individual Word Wall Words on a ring. Packet of Word Wall Words on a ring with the underlined word "can" on top.

  • Sharpie or 20/20 black markers
  • Highlighter
  • Black background for table, I use black cardstock 
  • White board and markers for reinforcement game 


  • Use the same language continually – see my videos for a demo
  • Approximately every full week the class introduces new sight words, they call them WWW (word wall words). There are about 6 words that we will focus on and find in our reading story for the week. This seems to be a good number and routine that gives us enough time to recognize these words while building on the words from the week before.
  • As the class goes over the words posted, have the list in front of the student, CVI friendly, so they can see it

Note: I do not bubble her words, we never needed this though we experimented with it. A good, bold front with about 36 font or larger, is comfortable for Sadie. I underline the word in highlighter so she can easily see that it is not upside down 

  • We will use these WWW flashcards a few times a day, even in spare moments, to reinforce memorization.
  • If available, get the reading material that coincides with this week’s words. Point them out in the sentences, even pre-read it for the student, talking about the pictures and pointing out items in the pictures. 

NOTE: If the reading material is too cluttered, teacher should make necessary adaptations, even creating simplified book if necessary. 

  • Activity: Use a white board and write a word wall word, have the student read or match the flashcard.


  • As I did with my own kids and then with my students at school, there are endless opportunities to find words in everyday life. This is harder with a CVI child but still possible. Words in our environment like McDonalds, Target, Exit, Open, Closed, often are found in high contrast, easy to recognize places.
  • Allow for independent looking at iPad or reading books that are CVI friendly working closely with the reading specialist in your school. They have the tools and skills that can help you without you “recreating the wheel”, lean on you team- they are the reading experts.
  • LeapFrog has some nice magnetic letters that can build words, anything with auditory input that isn’t too complex is a nice reinforcer
  • HOMEWORK: Sadie takes the new and old WWW on a ring home each day to practice with her mom. A homework routine is for CVI students. Once they are comfortable with that routine, it is nice to try another person practicing with the student to introduce novelty. Only do this once the words are mastered. 

More Ideas 

Play a game as reinforces or additional lessons:

  • Starfall has a free on-line version for learning to read basics and Sadie and I love it so I invested a few dollars for her iPad to get the better version
  • Activity: Gross Motor and Tracking reinforcer too: place the flashcards in a familiar area in the room, have the student find each card and read it. Let them hide it for you too, and you go around the room and read them- Kids love being the “teacher”.
  • We found this beginning book series by Lakeshore Learning to be a good fit for Sadie’s CVI needs for $59.99. And her Kindergarten class used them too! Sadie LOVED reading them with her peers. Peers are so motivational to getting her to read like a big kid. 

Tips and Reminders

  • Routine, black backgrounds, quiet and one-on-one when introducing new words, repetition, underline words, opportunities in reading to find words throughout the day.
  • Use your team of experts! A reading specialist at your school is very valuable to help you navigate your student’s reading needs, work together with a supportive grade level teacher to develop a program that works. 

Lakeshore beginning reader alphabet books showing books for N, S, R, Q.Lakeshore Learning alphabet book R with the letter R and a red rose image.


Student has identified in print 5/6 sight words correctly, with individualized CVI adaptations in place, by pointing or saying the word on request when instructed. 

Word Wall Words for First Grade Attached here.


Other posts in this series:


CVI Sight Words Pinterest tag