By Kelly Pisani
Author of Blog www.creatingalearningevironment.com (Click here for the link)
20 Ways To Help Your Child Learn Their Sight Words
Welcome to my second blog in the series “Literacy in the Primary Classroom”. In this blog I focus on how educators and parents can use games in their home and classroom to help children learn sight words successfully.
When children begin Primary School they are usually given a list of sight words to learn each week. Sight words are the frequently used words that come up in beginner reading books. Children need to learn these words by sight as it is very difficult to use sound knowledge to work out these words.
In order to be a successful reader in the early years of Primary School, children need to have a good recollection of high frequency sight words. The first 100 sight words are listed in the following table:
Teachers use sight words in all literacy activities in the classroom. Children learn these words in context in a classroom. Learning in context is the best way that children learn anything. It needs to mean something to the child in order for them to store the information in their brain. Sight word practice is commonly set as a homework task. Unfortunately most parents get the child to just read the words on the sight words list given and believe that this will enable the child to learn their words. There are so many quick games that the child could play independently, with a sibling or a parent which gives the child a meaningful learning environment to learn their sight words successfully.
Below is a list of 20 sight word games that can be played at home and at school. Not only do they give your child an opportunity to learn their sight words but they also are fun and engaging learning activities.
1. Memory game
Cut up cardboard or paper into rectangles and write each sight word on two of them. After all sight words are written, mix them up and turn them over so you can not see them. The child turns over two cards and reads the sight word on each. If they pick the same word they can keep the pair. If they pick two different words, they need to turn them back over and try to remember where each word is.
2. Sight Word Dominoes
Cut paper or cardboard into rectangles and draw a line across the halfway mark. Write two sight words on the card; one at each end. Ensure that you use each sight word a couple of times. Get your child to start matching the domino cards together. The child must read each word before they put it down.
3. Sight Word Car Park
Make a mini car park for your child to park their toy cars in. Write a sight word in each car spot and get the child to read it before they park their car in it. You could also do this on a larger scale if you have room outside. Using chalk draw up some large car spots with sight words written in each. Your child can ride their bike, scooter or ride on car in each spot.
4. Scavenger Hunt
Write all the sight words on post it notes and stick them around your house or backyard. The child needs to find all their sight words and stick them on the sight word clipboard. They must read them before they stick them on.
5. Bingo Game
Make bingo cards with all the sight words and get your child to either read out the words for the family to play bingo or have a bingo card and mark off the words that are said. The player that has all the sight words on their card crossed off first is the winner.
6. Cupcake tray sight word
Write one sight word on each patty case. Put all the patty cases in the muffin tin. Have your child throw a small object into the tin. The child must read the word of the patty case that the object landed on. The object of the game is to be able to throw an object on each patty case.
7. Sight word fishing
Make a little fishing rod with a magnet on the end. (use a ruler or stick with a string attached). Have all the sight words written on fish cut outs and attach a paper clip to each. (the magnet will attach to the paper clip) The child needs to catch a fish and read the sight word on that fish. They continue to catch fish until all fish have been caught.
8. Leap frog
9. Basketball dribbling
Have your child dribble their basketball around each sight word on the ground. They must read each word correctly then they can shoot for goal. A parent could also call out a sight word and the child could dribble up to that one and back again.
10. Soccer Sight Words
Have the child go around each cone that has a sight word on it. They must read the sight word before progressing to the next one. You can set up the cones in different arrangements so they need to read the sight words in different orders.
11. Beach ball fun
12. Plastic spoons
Write all the sight words on little pockets. Split each sight word up on two plastic spoons. When all the sight words have been written on the spoons, put the spoons in a big pile. Get the child to put the correct spoons in each pocket and read each sight word as they complete it.
13. Plastic Cups
Write all the sight words on plastic cups. Get the child to read each one. If they are successful, they can start building their sight word cup tower. When the entire tower is completed, they can throw a ball at it, to knock it down.
14. Matching pegs
Write all sight words on large pop sticks. One word on each stick. Write all the letters of each sight word on each peg. Get the child to make each sight word by pegging the correct letters onto the pop stick.
15. Water bombs
16. Sight word hopscotch
17. Simple board game
Draw up a simple board game that has circles or squares for a player’s piece to move onto. Use a dice to instruct how many spots a player’s piece will move. The player must read the sight word that their player’s piece lands on.
18. Fried eggs
19. Fly squat
Write each sight word on a piece of paper or cardboard. The child has a fly squatter and hits one of the words. They need to read the word that they hit and they keep that one. Whoever has the most at the end of the game wins.
20. Pop stick sight words
Write each sight word on a large pop stick. On three of the pop sticks, write “try again”. Put all the pop sticks in a large cup that is not see through. Each player takes a turn to pick a pop stick and read the sight word. If a player picks up a “try again” pop stick they have to put all their pop sticks back. The first person with the decided number of pop sticks is the winner. (If you only have a few sight words, you could write each multiple times)
It is important that children engage in meaningful learning experiences in order to gain the knowledge and understanding about a subject matter. Have fun with your child as they begin to learn to read the high frequency words. Always try to point out these words in our environment to make connections for your child.
I hope this blog has given you some useful information about incorporating some interesting sight word games at home and in the classroom. Playing these games will help your child learn their sight words in a fun and meaningful way, instead of just using flash cards.