Are your kids learning sight words at school?
Technically, sight words are not sight words until a child can recognize them automatically, or by sight. But many teachers use the term sight words to describe the list of frequently-used words that we want students to be able to learn with automaticity in order to read and spell. We also call these words high-frequency words. Since sight words are so common, reading and writing becomes MUCH easier when students master them.
Practice sight words at home with these fun and easy multisensory activities.
Here are 5 of our favorite ways to practice sight words:
- Map the Sight Words: Did you know that most sight words actually follow regular phonics patterns? And when they don’t, it’s usually just one or two tricky parts of the word that don’t follow regular phonics patterns. We can help students learn all words by teaching them to (1) identify the sounds they hear in a word (phonemes), (2) write the letter or letters (graphemes) that represent them, and (3) pay attention to the tricky parts that we need to memorize by heart. In going through this process known as phoneme-grapheme mapping, children can more easily get these words to stick in their brains. You can do this informally on a whiteboard or a sheet of paper, or if you want something pre-made, I’ve created these printable sight word practice sheets. Each page includes space for phoneme-grapheme mapping, plus two additional activities that direct kids’ attention toward the letters in the word, (to discourage guessing).
- Catch the Sight Words: Type up your child’s sight words or difficult-to-master spelling words and stick them on an old ball. (Or just write them with a permanent marker.) Play a game of catch. Each catcher says the word closest to his thumb. His partner spells the word. Continue until lots of words are caught and spelled! I actually DON’T recommend using a ball with holes like I did. It gets a little tricky to find spots to stick the words!
- Make the Sight Words: Use playdough or WikkiStix (affiliate link) to form the letters of the words. Trace the letters and read the words outloud.
- Feel the Sight Words: Write the words on something with texture. Use a crayon to write on paper over the top of something bumpy. For example, use chalk to write on a chalkboard or pavement. Use your finger to write in dirt or on sandpaper, carpet or embroidery sheets.
- Label the Sight Words: Find objects around your house to label. Challenge your child to think of a funny or descriptive phrase using one of the sight words he or she is memorizing. Help them write a label on a strip of paper, and underline/bold/highlight the sight word so it stands out. Leave the labels on the object for a while, and practice reading it together whenever you have time. If you like this idea and don’t want to make your own labels, this resource from my store includes pre-made labels for many common sight words, plus pages for picturing and tracing.