Learning to read is tough! But nothing helps kick-start the process faster than sight words. Once students know a sight word – yep, just 1 – they can start finding it in books, on signs, in the grocery store . . . As students begin to see words they know in their world, they begin to feel like readers. And as students begin to feel like readers they awaken the reader inside who just wants to learn more. It’s an exciting process to watch and an even more exciting process to be part of! These sight word activities will have your students reading in no time!
1. Sight Word Readers
I am huge believer in starting reading instruction with both sight words and phonics. In fact, I believe these two go hand in hand to create high quality reading instruction. Sight word readers are a great way to do both! While the initial focus is on the sight words, there are many ways to incorporate phonics instruction and practice into these powerful little books!
Sight word readers generally have a focus on 3-5 sight words that are used repeatedly in the book. This repetition gives students what they need to learn to identify the words.
A great approach is to use a new sight word reader each week that corresponds to the sight words you are focusing on. I like to project the book onto the board so we can read as a class. This is a great place to do interactive instruction using the book. Students can come up and circle the sight words, we can read together, we can even learn and work on reading strategies.
After the first day of reading the book, I give students their own copy of the book. This version is generally black and white and and the size of 1/2 a sheet of paper. Students add these books to their book bags and read them during independent reading, at home, and small group instruction.
Not only are these books great for teaching reading, but I love to connect them to our other studies, the season or holidays.
2. Sight Word Practice Pages
Giving students opportunities to practice reading, writing and spelling sight words is so important. Since sight words don’t follow the traditional phonics rules, it is important for our students to learn to recognize them by sight. This happens with repetition!
I created these sight word practice pages to give my students the repetition they need. (And – using only one sheet of paper I was able to stay within my copy limits too!)
On a single page, students are guided through reading, writing and spelling the word using a multi-sensory approach. Each word follows the same form which makes for consistency. And as a primary teacher you already know that consistency leads to independence!
I begin by introducing these pages and completing them as a class. This allows for the opportunity to model each step and activity. We learn and practice together. After a few pages, the students are ready to work independently and I move these pages into reading center. Each week all I have to do is change out the words. I can also quickly change out words for students who may be struggling to or have already mastered the words making differentiation really easy. Find out more about how I use these pages.
You can try these pages out for free too!
3. Digital Sight Word Practice
Since repetition is the name of the game, I created some sight word practice that has a game-like feel. These digital sight word activities will have your students reading and spelling sight words using lots of interactive activities.
These activities are perfect for the computer or tablet and make a great way to integrate technology into the classroom. In addition to working on sight words, students will be working on hand-eye coordination, how to use a mouse and other technology skills.
These are also a great way to provide your students with consistent sight word practice if you find yourself teaching virtually. All of these sight word activities are completed on Google Slides and can be quickly shared with your students using Google Classroom or a share link.
Just like with the paper sight word practice pages, these digital activities allow you to quickly and easily differentiate for the needs of your students. You can share different words for each reading group, have students review words they are unsure of or assign more advanced words for students needing a challenge.
4. Engaging Students with Hidden Pictures
I don’t know about your students, but year after year mine have loved decoding secret things. There’s something about a mystery picture or hidden picture that engages them beyond a color by code activity where the picture is already revealed.
This is reason I created hidden picture puzzles. Students must read the words and follow the color key to reveal the picture. Each picture is created on a square grid like a hundred chart. This provides lots of opportunities for sight word reading.
These editable hidden picture puzzles can be used for any skill or concept and they make a wonderful sight word practice activity. In fact, for something like sight words you can edit them in less than 60 seconds! Here’s a short video I made about the puzzles and how easy they are to edit.
5. Sight Word Games
Once students have been introduced to a word and had some opportunities to practice it, they are ready to start using the word at higher levels. Games are a fun way for students to have repeated practice with their words without realizing they are learning!
These editable dominoes are perfect for sight words. Simply type in the words you want students to focus on and the pdf does the rest for you! The editable pdf will auto-populate a set of 36 dominoes. The perfect size for a center game or small group instruction.
Card games are also a fun way to practice reading and recognizing sight words. Grab a couple sets of dollar store flash cards, or just take a Sharpie to deck of playing cards. So easy – right! Perfect for playing Memory, Go Fish, Snap and more kids card games.
There are also some fun sight word games that you can buy that make a great addition to your centers or fun Friday activities.
This last resource, although not really a game, is a great hands-on sight word center. These sight word play dough mats are a fun way to add some fine motor time while working on sight words.
Over the course of a week or two, students will be exposed to all of these different activities. By varying the activities students stay engaged in the learning process. By the end of the week, students can easily have been exposed to the new sight word 50 or more times! This is the repetition that leads to mastery!
You can find all of these activities and resources (with the exception of the board games) in the Teaching in Blue Jeans Store.
Save these Sight Word Activities
Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can comeback when you need more fun and engaging sight word activities.