Sight words are one of my favorite things to teach children. I love seeing them light up when they start to read and everything comes together. I am always having fun teaching sight words. It’s easy to do with the right activities, tips, and tricks. I’ve compiled my best tips and tricks to help you effectively teach sight words.
Why are Sight Words Important
Before we dive into the fun online sight word games, let’s talk about why sight words are important. Sight words are high-frequency words. They appear in text most often. We can’t use basic phonics skills to decode sight words. We need to look and recognize these words without sounding them out.
Sight words are immediately recognizable. Some examples are and, best, or does because they don’t follow the rules of spelling. These sight words need to be memorized since decoding them is difficult for children.
Teaching sight words to students helps them to read more fluently. This helps them to feel more confident when reading. They are able to understand text better and even write better.
What Is the Best Way to Teach Sight Words
Every teacher will probably give you a different answer to this question. As with everything, I find teaching sight words is best through hands-on activities, interactive play, and a little bit of worksheets. Working on sight word practice every day is very important. It takes a lot of repetition and practice for children to understand and memorize sight words. When you make it part of your every day learning, you’ll be surprised how quickly they pick it up!
Best Tips for Having Fun Teaching Sight Words
Introduce the Sight Word
- Show your student the sight word and say its name. Have them repeat it.
- Say each letter in the word. For example, and is spelled a n d.
- Name the individual phonemes (sounds) in the sight word. For example, in the word and, there are 3 phonemes: /a/, /n/, and /d/.
- As you say each letter and it’s sound, point out any unexpected spellings. For example, we spell is with /i/ and the /z/ sound is spelled with an s. That can be confusing for early readers, so we want to make sure to talk about it as we learn each sight word.
Sight Word Writing
It’s important that children learn to not only read sight words, but also to write them. This helps reinforce phonemes and builds muscle memory. Here are some ideas:
- Writing with shaving cream. This is always a big hit with children. I use a tray to keep the mess contained. I then spray a bunch of shaving cream on it (usually bought from the dollar store). We then use sight words for the children to look at and copy writing in the shaving cream.
- Writing in sand or salt. This is the same concept as writing in shaving cream, but we use the eraser side of a pencil or our finger to write in the sand.
- Sight word practice worksheets. These are perfect for children learning to identify and write the sight word. They will work on phonemes as they decode the sight word at the end of this activity. You can grab all Dolch Sight Word Practice worksheets here or Fry’s first 300 sight words here.
Online Sight Word Games
I love using online games and activities when teaching. Children love technology. These sight word Boom Cards are a great addition to our sight word lessons. I have included audio directions on each slide that are optional to use and very helpful.
Have you tried online games yet? They’re great for morning work, centers, small group time or homework. What I specifically love about these Sight Word Online Games is how easy they are to use. Children are so engaged playing them. And the best part for teachers…they’re self checking! That saves you SO MUCH TIME! You can read more about these online games here.
Hands-on Sight Word Activities
You know that I always love hands-on activities. The more materials you can bring into learning, the more your students learn. It engages their long-term memory. Here are some ideas for hands-on activities to teach sight words:
- Planting Sight Words: This activity is perfect for learning sight words and children’s names. It uses play dough and magnetic letters. You can edit the PDF document to enter any sight word you want and the activity automatically populates. Then print, grab some play dough and magnetic letters, and enjoy! You can grab the Planting Sight Words Activity here.
- Stamp the sight word with alphabet stamps. This is simple, but very effective. Just grab some stamps and display the sight word. You can have it on an interactive board, a whiteboard, or use flash cards. Children will then look at the word and stamp it on a piece of paper. This also works on fine motors skills.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It takes a ton of practice for children to master sight words. Work on them every day in different ways, and they’ll catch on in no time. Remember to keep it fun and interactive and you’ll be having fun teaching sight words.