Sight Words: 15 Simple Ways To Practice at Home
Practice, practice, practice! Quick, short sessions of flashcard drills are great but it can get boring. Try some of these low-cost, low-prep, and fun ways to practice sight words instead.
1. Memory Game: Create doubles of some sight words and play Memory. Use thick or patterned paper so that you can’t see through the cards. With a partner, take turns flipping over two cards. Read them both aloud. If they match, collect the pair and take another turn.
2. Tic-Tac-Toe Sight Words: Draw a Tic-Tac-Toe board. With a partner, each chooses a sight word card. Instead of Xs or Os, write your sight word in the grid. Try to get three in a row! Next round, pick a new sight word card.
3. Sight Word Swat: Place some sight word cards on the table. If they’re very challenging start with just 3 or 4 at a time. Increase to up to 12 at a time. Call out a word. Have your child slap the correct card as fast as they can. They can use their hand, a clean fly swatter, or a kitchen spatula.
4. Hopscotch: Using sidewalk chalk, write some sight words in a hopscotch frame on the sidewalk. Say each word as you hop through to the end.
5. Sight Word Acting: Show a sight word card. Can you spell the word aloud while acting out different voices and/or actions? Try spelling the word in a voice like you’re a baby, an opera singer, a pirate, a cheerleader, a robot, etc. Try spelling the word while acting like you’re an elephant swinging their trunk, a hopping frog, a butterfly fluttering around, a super slow turtle, or gorilla thumping their chest.
6. Sight Word Whole Body Movement: Look at a sight word card and try to spell it aloud while doing actions for each type of letter. For the tall letters (b/d/f/h/k/l/t) lift your arms up high or jump into the sky! For the short letters (a/c/e/i/m/n/o/r/s/u/v/w/x/z) crouch down to the ground and fold your arms over your knees. And for the hanging letters, (g/j/p/q/y) bend forward at the waist and dangle your arms.
7. Sight Word Scavenger Hunt: Hide some of your child’s sight words around the house. (Don’t hide them too hard; make sure they’re still visible.) You can write them on scraps of paper or use sticky-notes. Challenge your child to find one at a time and then come back to the table with it. Say the word aloud and then write the word on a piece of paper. Then…off to find the next one! If you’d like to print a recording sheet you can download one here.
8. Duplo Sight Word Building: Write some of your sight words on the sides of Duplo blocks. Use painters tape and a permanent marker. Build a tower and read the sight words aloud.
9. Sensory Writing: Fill a shallow tray with something that you have around the kitchen. Cornmeal? Flour? Salt? You don’t need a lot, just enough to cover the bottom of your tray. Outside you could try sand or dirt. Give your child some sight word cards. Read the card aloud and then write the word in the tray. You can use your finger or the eraser end of a pencil. “Erase” the word and do the next one! It’s OK if the words don’t look perfect. This activity is more about the movement of making the correct letters in the word.
10. Play Dough Writing: Roll out some play dough on the table. Using a skinny tool such as a toothpick or skewer, write your sight words in the play dough. Then smoosh it up and then repeat! If you happen to have alphabet cookie cutters or stamps you could do that, too!
11. Sight Word 4-in-a-Row: Take out 16 of your sight word cards. Write these words in a 4×4 grid on a piece of paper. Create a second grid with the same words but in a different order. With two players, take turns drawing a card, reading the word aloud, and covering up that square on your grid. Put the used cards back under the pile to use again. The first player to get 4-in-a-Row either horizontally or vertically is the winner. To play a non-competitive game just continue turns until both players have 4-in-a-Row. This game can also be played individually. You can draw a simple grid yourself or download and print this template.
12. Game Time: Use any favourite game that has a quick succession of turns. Connect Four and Trouble work great, but try one of your favourites. The idea is simple: Read a sight word card aloud, then take a turn. Next player reads a card aloud, then takes a turn!
13. Roll-and-Read and Roll-and-Write:
Roll-and-Read: Draw a simple chart with 6 rows and 4 columns. In the first column, write the numbers 1-6 (or even better, draw the dots on a die). A parent can fill in the chart with sight words that need practice. Roll a die. Match the number on the die to the row, read the word aloud and cover up the box with some sort of marker – a bean, a stone, a LEGO piece, etc. Continue rolling the die and reading the matching word until all the words are covered. Keep the chart to play again later.
Roll-and-Write: Number a paper with 1-6 and write down six sight words that need practice beside the numbers. On another piece of paper, draw a simple chart with 6 rows and 4 columns. In the first column, write the numbers 1-6 (or even better, draw the dots on a die). Have your child roll and die and find the matching number on the list. Read the word aloud and then write the same word by the matching number on the recording sheet. You can use a different colour for each word if you’d like, or pick new colours randomly. Roll the die again and write the next word. Continue until the chart is filled up.
If you’d like to print these files instead of drawing them yourself you can download them here.
14. Sight Word Mix-Up: Write various sight words on a piece of paper, leaving a small gap between each letter. Cut out each individual letter for the word and gather them with a paperclip. Fill a little baggie full of these groups of letters. Give one set to your child. Mix up the letters and ask your child to rearrange all the letters until they form one of their sight words. If you have word tiles from games like Scrabble or Bananagrams you could use those, too. Give your child the letters for one word and challenge them to discover what the mystery word is.
15. Read It, Build It, Write It: Give your child a sight word card to read aloud. Then ask them to build it. You can use magnetic letters, the letter tiles from games like Scrabble or Bananagrams, or cut out individual letters. You can download a building mat and letters here. After building the word, ask the child to print the word on a blank piece of paper.
I hope that you have fun trying some of these ideas to practice sight words. Download ALL of the above documents in one easy file here.