My son is in Kindergarten and is learning to read. One of the tasks asked of parents is to practice a list of sight words (provided by the teacher) at home. I wanted to find some fun ways to practice these words that would keep my son’s attention and make the learning fun. So, I dug down deep into my teacher memory and combined what I remembered with some new ideas I created and came up with a bunch of fun ways to practice sight words together.
But, first, some basic information:
What are sight words? Sight words are the words that are most frequently encountered in children’s literature. 50% of what we children read is comprised of these sight words. The most common lists of sight words provided by schools are the Fry and Dolsch lists.
Why should my child learn these words? Children are asked to learn these words by sight because they cannot be sounded out due to exceptions to phonetic rules. They need to simply be learned by sight. Hence the term “sight words.” Many sight words are “service” words. There is no “picture” to go with them. Words like “and” and “to” are examples of these kinds of words. Learning these words helps children become fluent readers and also aids in comprehension.
Sight Word Practice Made Fun
Sight Word Word Wall: Write each word on a different colored piece of paper and hang them in a place where they are visible. My son’s words are on the wall beside his bed. I will often “catch” him reading his words when he wakes up in the morning or when preparing for bedtime. Note: Only hang a few words at a time. We began with 4 words. When my son had mastered these words we added 4 more and so on. Putting them all up at one time can be very overwhelming and a bit confusing.
Sight Word Cards: Print each of the words on the template then cut them apart. These cards will be used in the following activities. Of course, they can also be used as traditional flashcards as well.
- Helicopter Landing– Arrange the sight word cards face down. Turn over 4-5 cards so the words face up. Player One reads one of the words and Player Two must “land the helicopter” on the correct word. Player One then reads a word while Player Two lands the helicopter on the correct word. After a word has been read, flip over a new card in its place.
- Rock Toss– Arrange the sight word cards face down. Turn over 4-5 cards so the words face up. Player one tosses the rock onto one of the words and reads the word. Then Player Two tosses the rock and reads the word. After each a word is read correctly, turn another card face up. Repeat until all the cards have been read. If a word is causing trouble, turn it face down and try again a few turns later.
- Sight Word Race Track– Arrange 6 or 7 of the sight word cards as if it were a road (see picture below). Choose a race car from your home collection. Player One then drives the cars over the words while reading each one as it passes over. If a word is read incorrectly, read it the right way and have the player repeat it and then either move the word to the end of the race track or put it back in the pile for a later turn. Repeat until all words have been practiced.
- Sight Word Sentences– Arrange 4-5 of the sight words into a short sentence and have your child read the sentence. (This can be a good time to talk about capital letters at the beginning and periods at the end of a sentence.)
- Traditional Games–Print out a second set of cards and play any of the following games- Go Fish, Old Maid, Memory or Snap.
Sight Word Game Board: Print out (or create your own) board game path. Write one sight word in each space. In a few spaces, write such things as “Lose a Turn,” “Go Ahead 3 Spaces,” and/or “Go Back to Start.” Using a die, Player One rolls, goes the amount of spaces shown and reads the word or follows the directions on the space. The game continues this way until one player reaches the “Finish” space. The first player to get to “Finish” gets to begin the next game.” If your child is having trouble with a particular word, put it on the board more than once.
Sight Word Tic Tac Toe: Draw a large Tic-Tac Toe board on a piece of paper. Each player chooses one sight word instead of an “x” or an “o”. Player One then writes his sight word in one of the spaces. Player Two then writes his word in another space. Continue as such until someone gets three in a row or it is a tie game. Play again with two new words.
Sight Word Flashlight Seek– Go in the room where you have your word wall hanging. Grab a flashlight on the way and turn out the lights. Have your son shine the light on each word and read them aloud.
Want to get really crafty? Try some of these activities:
- Sight Word Die–Create a die with sight words written on each side instead of numbers or dots. Players roll the die and read the word. See post “Creating You Own Die for Learning.” http://boymamateachermama.com/2012/04/13/teacher-mama-creating-your-own-dice-for-learning/
- Sight Word Beach Ball– Use a large beach ball and write the sight words around the ball with a permanent marker. Be sure the words are spaced apart. Player One tosses the ball to Player Two who reads the word that is under his right thumb (or left thumb or other specified digit- great for practicing left and right too!) Repeat and have fun!
- Sight Word Walk– Write the sight words on larger pieces of paper and lay them in a path on the floor. Have your child walk the sight word path and read the words as he goes along.
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