Teaching sight words doesn’t have to be complicated! You’ll love these simple, yet effective ways to teach sight words through whole group and small group instruction, literacy centers, independent and home practice.
Key Methods to Teaching Sight Words
As teachers of young readers, we understand the importance of teaching kids to read high-frequency words, such as sight words. We add sight word activities into our schedule and weekly routines. We work hard to build strong readers.
But we need simple ideas for teaching sight words that are easy to implement, yet effective! Here 5 easy and fun ways to teach sight words that will engage our learners.
Whole Group Sight Word Instruction
Explicit, whole group instruction is important when learning sight words. This is especially true at the beginning of the week when you are introducing new words to the students.
A morning meeting is a good time to introduce the words. You can say them aloud, have students repeat them, then everyone spells them aloud together. You can also incorporate hand motions or have the students form the letters with their fingers, in order to get them more involved.
- Word Walls are great resources to use during your instruction. Have a word wall posted in the room for everyone to see and be able to refer to throughout the week. Also, “portable” word walls provide students support at their desk.
- Clapping out the syllables for each sight word of the week helps students think about the individual sounds of the words.
- Sight Word BINGO is a fun game for a whole class to play together.
- Another fun game is Sight Word Swat. Place the weekly sight words on the wall and kids take turns coming to “swat” a word as you call it.
- Sing the sight words! Find some songs online (or make up your own) that help kids learn their sight words for the week.
Small-Group Sight Word Activities
Try putting your students into small groups to work on a skill! It is no different as they learn their sight words. Small group activities ensure more participation and a chance to work with their peers. It builds not only academic skills but social skills as well!
- Sight word puzzles are a fun activity small groups can do together. You can make your own puzzles by cutting apart the words into their individual letters, scrambling them up, and then letting students work together to form the words.
- Have students make sight word bracelets. They color them in, help their friends put them on, then each takes a turn reading their words aloud.
- Encourage students to read books together or if they can’t read fluently yet, search for sight words in the books.
- Play ZINGO! This fun game works with a few kids and covers a range of sight words.
Centers are a fun way to get kids learning with a little more independence. Often, too, literacy centers provide opportunities to check students’ mastery of words.
- Include stamps, fancy markers, and colored pencils at a center, along with sight word worksheets. This is a fun way for kids to practice writing the weekly sight words.
- Coloring Sight Word pages are a favorite at center time! Kids use a magnifying glass to locate the sight words in the picture and then color according to the color key.
- Challenge students to put the weekly sight words in alphabetical order.
- Give students foam letters to practice spelling out their sight words.
It is important for students to have time to practice their words independently. You can use this practice to check to see if kids are grasping the words. Make sure to observe and walk around to watch students’ participation. Provide intervention, when necessary.
- Make practice hands-on! Call out a word and have students write it in shaving cream on their desks. Try using playdough, individual whiteboards or chalkboards, stamps or stickers.
- Give kids their own set of sight word cards that they color and review throughout the week during reading time.
- Let students put together their own Sight Word Readers. Kids enjoy making them and it provides practice!
Ways to Practice Sight Words at Home
The extra practice that comes from studying sight words at home helps, especially those who are struggling. Look for meaningful activities to send home that can provide that extra bit of practice without overwhelm.
- Send a set of sight word flashcards home and encourage practice with a family member.
- Try a few helpful sight word apps for kids to play at home.
- Encourage families to be reading daily with their kids, and point out sight words as they go.
Resources to Help You Teach Sight Words
TODAY, get a FREE sample of our Dolch sight word activities. This will help make planning your sight words lessons easy while providing fun, effective activities for your students.
Here is Your Effective Sight Word Program
You can also check out the complete Fry’s Sight Words Curriculum.
Learn more about Teaching Sight Words
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