Teachers are very familiar with the term "sight words" but if not heres a little breakdown:
A sight word is a high frequency (commonly used in the english language) word that a child learns to automatically recognize without having to phonetically sound out. It is important for students to learn sight words to develop fluency. "Accurate and automatic recognition of these high frequency words enables a child to read more smoothly and at a faster pace." (Scholastic, 2014) This not only helps the child read fluently, but also allows the focus to be on what the child is reading rather than sounding out the words leading to an increase in comprehension skills. There are 220 Dolch Sight Words in the english language. They are the most commonly used words. I purchased Dolch Sight Word cards level A, B, and C from amazon. But if you would like to make your own you can print them out for free by clicking here.
Personally, sight words are one of my FAVORITE things to teach. I am working on creating fun sight word activities this summer because I know I'll have no time during the school year with everything else going on. Here is a list of my favorite activities for sight word practice. Some of these you may have heard of already, but there are some good/new ones in here as well!
- Playdough: There are SO many amazing uses for playdough in the classroom. Sight words is one of these ways! The two ways I use playdough for sight words is by having the students mold the playdough into the letters of the word and then practice reading them. The other way is by laying the playdough flat and writing the words in the playdough using either your finger or a toothpick. My kids LOVE working with playdough. Especially my students with sensory needs so its a great tool! Definitely one of my favorites (Pictured below)
- Sight Word Songs by Have Fun Teaching: It can sometimes be difficult to appeal to those auditory learners when trying to come up with sight word activities. Have Fun Teaching solved that problem! They have a TON of songs for different sight words including: is, go, are, after, and about. They come out with new songs all the time as well! If you have access to youtube at your school this is definitely a resource you DON'T want to miss: click for their youtube channel
- Rainbow Words: This is probably one you have heard of. I know we've used it in every classroom that I have worked in. Have the students write the sight word(s) in pencil on lined paper. Then have the students chose their favorite color crayon/marker and trace over the word in their favorite color saying the letters out loud and then reading the word. Have the students repeat this step using two more different colored crayons/markers. Extra practice reading and writing sight words. They end up looking pretty cool in the end!
- Sight Word Leap Frog: This is one of my kids favorite games! I created a pdf of all 220 sight words on lily pads. Laminated them, and cut them out for multiple levels and uses. Lay out the target sight words on the floor. Call out a specific word and have the students leap/hop/jump like frogs. They love to be silly and jump around like crazy frogs. You can get my set for FREE by clicking here.
- Snowball fight: This is another one of my favorite sight word activities! Have each student write one of the sight words on a piece of plain white paper. You can write them if you want to target certain words. Give each student one sheet and have them crumple it up. Have half the class stand on one side of the room. Have the other half stand on the other side and have the students have an indoor snowball fight. on the count of 3 everyone throws it and then picks up a new word. They must read the new world correctly or their out!
- Rotten Apples: I use this activity specifically to focus on challenging sight words. Each student is given an apple with a sight word written on it facing down. They pass the cards around the circle to the tune “1, 2, 3, 4, rotten apples on the floor.” The students then flip the card over one at a time and read the high frequency word that is written on their flashcard. If the student reads the word correctly, they put it back into the pile. If the student does not read the word correctly, then he or she must keep the flashcard and it becomes a “rotten apple.” The teacher will then correct the student and go over the word, its spelling, and its meaning. The student may get rid of the rotten apple if they pick up the match (same word) and read both cards correctly. The student with the least rotten apples in the end wins! For a free apple template click the link. Print on red and green paper and laminate :).
- Sight word Twister: I have yet to try this in my classroom but I saw it on Pinterest and can't WAIT to try it. Put a sight word on each of the colored circles and have the children use the different parts of their body to touch the correct sight word.
for more info click here
- Shaving/Whipped Cream: Give each student a paper plate and spray a small amount of shaving or whipped cream. Have students practice writing their sight words in the cream with their finger. Warning, comes with a mess!
- Sight Word Fishing: I purchased Pressman's "Lets Go Fishing" from target ($10) as a board game to have in my classroom where students can practice play/social interactions with peers. Turns out this game can be used as a reading tool by adding one simple component! Write sight words on the bottom of the fish. Have the students use their poles to attract fish. When caught the student picks up the fish and must correctly read the sight word. If they do, they can keep it. If they read it incorrectly they must put it back and fish again. The student with the most fish in the end wins! If you don't have/want to purchase this game, you can make your own fish by cut laminate and magnets. Put a string and a paperclip to use as a fishing pole! :)
- Sight word name game: Give each student a name tag with a sight word written on it. Once the student receives a name tag he/she is instructed to introduce him/herself to another student using this script. "Hi my name is _______(sight word name). I start with a ______ and I'm spelled like this___________(spells sight word)" Once both students have introduced themselves, they switch name tags and find another student and repeat procedure with a new sight word. Introduce different voices, and silly characteristics to make this game fun! You can download my template here.
- Dolch Sight Word Bingo (SMARTBoard/Computer Game): This game is a great technological enhancement to sight word Bingo. This website has words from pre-primer all the way up to 3rd grade! Visit the link here: ABCya Sight Word Bingo .