Thursday, March 12, 2015

Helping Your Students Become Sight Word Savvy

Happy March and almost spring!! Our winter started off rather mild, but made itself known by the end. We missed several days of school because of snow and now we are ready for warmer weather, sunshine, flowers, birds chirping, and OUTDOOR RECESS!

Today we want to talk to you about sight words. Teaching sight words is an important part of the curriculum. So, why is learning sight words, or high frequency words, so important? Sight words help with fluency, comprehension, and confidence in reading and writing...which affect a child's entire lifetime!

As kindergarten teachers, we are always looking for fun and exciting ways to help our children learn their sight words. We want them to be active in their learning and to also enjoy the process at the same time. We wanted to share some of the great sight word activities and tools we are using in our classrooms to help our young learners to become more confident in themselves as readers.

Word Wall...
Our high frequency words are all placed on our classroom word wall under their beginning letter for students to be able to "test" or isolate the beginning sound of each word and find that letter to aide them in writing these sight words they have been practicing at home and school in their early reading and writing efforts.
These color-coded Dolch and Fry words (plus more!) and headers can be found here.

Mini Nametag Word Wall and Writing Journals...
Putting a mini word wall on the back of student nametags was one of the best tools we have given the children over the years! Most of the words we hope they learn to read this year by sight are on here and they use these constantly when they are writing. Some use the word wall and some children find it easier to look right on the back of their nametag. Both are great tools for writing familiar words!
You can find this mini nametag word wall here along with a blank version too!

Sight Word Parking Lot...
"Park your car on the word "the." Vroom......vrooom.....eerrrrrr." The children love practicing sight words in this fun and easy way! We can print as many as we'd like and differentiate the words for all children. You can grab a copy of this center activity here.

Word of the Day..
We choose a Word of the Day from sight words that the children have already learned in class. We model writing it, spelling it letter by letter to build the word, and then work together to create a sentence using the word of the day. This is a great daily review of writing skills and conventions the children have already learned also.

Sight Word Can...
We make a sight word can for each of our students out of empty frosting containers. They are the perfect place to store tons of new words for the children to practice at home. We keep a set in the classroom too!

Playdough Sight Words....
They loved our alphabet playdough mats, so we took it a step further with sight word mats. If they spell the word, make the word, and read their words to a friend, they're getting fun practice reading...and they don't even realize they are learning!

Housekeeping Transformation...
At different times of the year, we turn our housekeeping center into sight word fun! Here the children are "Going Buggy" and catching insects in their net. When they catch the insect, they have to read the word to their friend. Some of the children chose to use the tongs to catch the insects instead of the net. Now we are working on our fine motor too!

Here the children are "Going Fishing"! Using fishing rods with a magnet on the end, children try to catch fish from the pond. When they catch a fish, they have to read the word. Some of them like to keep track of how many they catch and read and then compare with their friend, while others just prefer to catch and release. It is up to them!

Sight Word Memory...
The children LOVE playing memory for all kinds of learning themes and skills, including sight words! Flip two over, read them both, find a match...SO much fun!

Sight Word Go Fish...
Who doesn't like a good old fashioned game of Go Fish? Playing the game while learning our sight words is a bonus! Some of these games can get pretty intense and competitive! They are all good sports though!

Sight Word Observer....
These sight word games were all the rage last year when we introduced them to our children. They read one word at a time, taking turns with a partner. They can fit one card for each animal on their gameboard and the object is to fill the board with sight words they can read before their partner, or the game is over when both players have a full gameboard. You can check out the insect-themed version of this game here or find the ocean version in our ocean center pack here.

Scrambled Sight Words...
This is a fun and challenging activity! The children look at a set of letters that are jumbled up and need some help to get back in the correct order to spell a sight word. They can also use movable letters to help them to come up with the correct word. The children have a great time trying to figure these words out! They are so proud of themselves when they do it!

I Have, Who Has....
We love these games and they are great for listening, following directions, communication in a group, paying attention, and of course...sight words! You can check out this pre-primer FREEBIE here. We also have a primer version available here.

Children can roll the cube and find a word in that row that they can read and cover or color it. The children love this center! We think it is because they get to roll a cube and get competitive, but we love that they are learning and helping each other along the way!

Sight Word Money...
He's rich because his little brain is loaded with sight words! If they can read a word, they can earn these sight word bucks. It is absolutely adorable how much the children love getting this money! Five and six year olds are so easy to please. :)

Whole Class Games
Hidden Sight Words (Groundhog, Groundhog)...
We had fun in February searching for the hiding groundhog under all these burrows. But if you want to look for him, you have to read the word on the burrow you'd like to flip over. The suspense is so exciting!

Sight Word Baseball....
Our students had a ball (ha!) playing sight word baseball at the end of the school year last year during our baseball theme (found here). It was the perfect way to get them excited about reading before school let out for summer break!

Store-Bought Centers.....

POP for Sight Words Game
This center is available from Learning Resources here.

Magnetic Sight Word Sentence Board
You can find this center from Lakeshore Learning here.

Sight Word Soup
This is another fun sight word center from Lakeshore Learning.

Technology to Boost Sight Word Recognition...

Sight Word Travel (or "Around the World")
Our students can get a little competitive with sight word travel to try and make it all the way around the room if they can read their words quickly enough!

Sight Word Phrases Practice
Using Powerpoint, we have created a few sight word review activities to practice reading sight words in a variety of ways to keep the children thinking...and reading!

The Sight Word Song and Rap
The children LOVE, LOVE, LOVE playing this to review sight words and sing a little! You can check out this fun rap on YouTube here.

iPad Center
There are a number of apps we use for sight words on the classroom iPads we have. Rhyme to Read, Hooked on Phonics, and Writing Wizard are a few of them.

We hope you find some of these ideas to be new, exciting, and perfect for your classroom! We are always searching for motivating sight word centers and the children are loving them all!

Happy Spring! See you next month!


  1. Love all of your ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing! I also like to do "Word Wall Cheers" with my students. I call them cheers, but they are things like spell the word in an opera voice, do an alligator clap for each letter to spell it, pretend to be a baseball player and bat for each letter, etc. They are so fun and the kids love it!!


    1. Thank you so much!! The Word Wall Cheers sound like so much fun! We will have to incorporate those as well! :)

  2. I love the little parking lot! I have a little guy who I know will think it is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    A Very Curious Class

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