We all know how important it is to our young students’ reading fluency and comprehension to be able to immediately recognize high-frequency (sight) words. So it’s time well spent to include sight word practice in our students weekly classwork! But, for many kids, the traditional methods of learning sight words (flashcards, drills, writing word lists, etc) can start to feel tedious and even a bit boring.
So, we’ve come up with some fresh new ideas for how students can practice sight words in school, or for passing along to families for at-home practice!
Read on to learn new, (and a few repurposed but familiar) creative, hands-on, and high-engagement sight word games for your lucky little learners.
Creative Sight Word Practice
- Sight Word Rainbows
Kids will love writing their sight words in each color of the rainbow. You can offer rainbow templates with arched lines and crayons, colored pencils, or markers for writing. Or, you can offer a multi-column template, and have kids write one sight word down each column multiple times in each of the colors of a rainbow.
- Magic Reveal
Using a white crayon, your students write their sight words in a random pattern all over a piece of heavy paper. Next, students paint across the entire paper with watercolor paints. As the words are revealed, kids read them aloud. These make colorful classroom decorations and can be used for “read the room” or “scavenger hunt” literacy centers later on!
- Sight Word Sheets
These sheets give your students a variety of ways to practice their sight words! On each worksheet, students focus on one sight word at a time. They practice the word by coloring it, tracing it, reading it in a sentence, highlighting it, finding it in a word find, writing it in a sentence, writing it in letter boxes, and cutting/ pasting the letters to form the sight word.
Hands-On Sight Word Practice
- Salt or Sand Trays
Provide each student with a shallow tray filled with salt or colored sand. The student draws a sight word card and writes the word in the salt/ sand with his/her finger. Alternative Idea: Write sight words on shells or other small objects and hide them in the sand to find, read, and trace in the sand.
- Repurposed Puzzles
Take a 20 to 50- piece puzzle and write a sight word on the back of each piece. Spread out all puzzle pieces upside down. Students take turns picking up a piece and reading the word before placing it in the puzzle.
- Sight Word Jenga
Prepare Jenga blocks by writing one sight word on each piece. Then, play Jenga as intended, but, kids read the sight words on the Jenga blocks as a part of their turn. Tip! Look for the Dollar Tree mini version!
Provide an assortment of letters. then, give students a list of words to practice spelling on their practice board.
5. Sight Word Fluency Sticks
Sight Word Fluency Sticks are a powerful tool for you to use in your Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade classroom. I believe in this system because it is developmentally appropriate, research based, and meets the needs and ability levels of all the students in your classroom in a low stress and low maintenance way.
When students focus on 10 sight words at a time, this sets the child up for success. They are no longer overwhelmed with a pile of flashcards to practice. The practice is highly targeted and differentiated. The weekly spiral practice of the mastered sight words allow for long term mastery.
I also love that the program involves the families (although not required) and shows them their progress throughout the year. Having students track their own progress not only frees up the teacher’s time but also puts the students in control of their own learning. When they track and see their own progress, this is a powerful thing!
Sight Word Games
- Search and Find
Using anchor charts, your word wall, and other environmental print around the room, give students the challenge of finding sight words. A fun twist: turn the mission into a puzzle by providing templates with the shapes of the exact sight words you want kids to find.
- Scavenger Hunt
Give your students a list of hints to help them find sight words around your classroom. For example, “How many sight words can you find that are 3 letters long AND have the letter ‘e’?”
- Sight Word Treasure Cups
This is a fun game for partners. Student A hides 3 ‘treasures’ (counting bears, stickers, pencil tops, etc) under 6-8 dixie cups with sight words written on the bottom. Student B has five tries to find the treasures. In order to be able to look underneath the cup, s/he has to read the sight word correctly.
- Sight Word “Speed”
This works best when your students already know dozens of sight words. Students work with a partner. Each student places a stack of learned sight word playing cards upside down in front of them. Teach the partners to say, “1-2-3” and immediately pick up the top card in their stack. Whoever says the sight word first gets to keep their card as well as their partner’s card. Play continues until one player has all the cards (or until a timer runs out).
Create this game using sight word cards and some cards that say “Boom”. Take turns drawing cards from a deck in the center of the group. Students keep the card they drew once they accurately read the sight word. If a student draws a “Boom” card, they have to turn in all the cards they have accumulated to that point. Fun twist: Exchange the “Boom” cards for “Boo” cards in October, “Gobble” cards in November, “Grinch” cards in December, etc.
- Sight Word Toss
Write the sight words you want your students to practice on index cards. Spread the cards out on the floor a few feet in front of a partnership or small group of students. One person is the word caller and one person is the beanbag tosser. The word caller calls out words randomly to see if their partner can find them and hit them with the beanbags.
- Life-Size Sight Word Game Board
Write sight words on paper plates or laminated circles of paper and create a path around the classroom with them. Students are the game pieces. Each student has their own die to roll when it is their turn. The number rolled is the number of “spaces” they advance. When they “land” on their new spot, they have to read and spell the word aloud. The first person to the last plate wins the game.
We hope you’ll have fun with these new and repurposed sight word practice ideas!
But – if the idea of creating custom sight word materials that match the exact words you’re using sounds like a monster task… the Lucky Little Learner Sight Word Sheets include an EDITABLE worksheet so you can quickly create your own multi-purpose sheet for any word! So, whether you use Fry, Dolch, or another custom district sight word list, this editable option will save you so much time, AND offer multiple ways for your students to practice their sight words!
Click on the buttons below to learn more.
1st Grade Sight Word Sheets
2nd Grade Sight Word Sheets
3rd Grade Sight Word Sheets
Grades 1, 2 & 3 Bundle! Differentiate Sight Word Practice (and save!)
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