A sight word is a word that is memorized by sight. It is a method of learning to read. By pointing to a word each time it is read the reader learns to memorize what it looks and sounds like. Though the person isn't technically reading they are memorizing words thus reducing the amount of time it takes to learn to read. When the reader is in school they are learning through phonetics. This is the best method as it teaches the reader to read practically any word they come upon as opposed to memorizing only the ones they have seen. Once the reader learns to read phonetically, the sight words they already know are plugged in. They don't spend as much time trying to figure out every word as many of them have already been memorized.
Your Baby Can Read is based on the sight word model. Many of my readers ask me about Your Baby Can Read because they've seen adds for it on television. In my opinion it is worth the $15-$20 you pay for what you receive in the package. It's a great option for giving your child a head start on reading. I must stress that your child isn't reading but memorizing.
Of course, your girl Red has a cheaper solution for you. You can make your own sight word tools at home. This way the words you choose are always age appropriate without having to purchase new levels. One of many great sight word tools are flash cards. You can make them out of construction paper for color or use index cards. Index cards are also color coded to help you sort the words with ease. My favorite method is word games. Word search puzzles are a great way to teach your reader to look through all of the other words and letters and recognize the sight words no matter how it is written. Sight word Bingo is a big hit.
If you aren't the arts and crafts kind of person you can always buy the Spongebob Square Pants Learn To Read box set. It comes with books that contain sight words, workbooks, and flashcards. It runs about $12 and is available at Scholastic.
If you prefer the television you can sit your child in front of Super Why Super Readers. It airs on PBS.
For those who prefer to follow The Red Housewife you can keep up with the monthly sight words on my Facebook Fan Page.