Some have said that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn because so many words do not follow a simple phonetic pattern. It is true that many words do not follow any pattern at all and we learn to read them by simply memorizing the whole word. Sight words, sometimes called high frequency words, are words that are expected to be memorized upon seeing them, without trying to sound them out. In beginning children’s literature, sight words can account for up to 75% of the text.
There are many lists of beginning sight words you can find online to use with your child. However, most of the words I am using with these activities are words that came up in books my daughter read recently. When she does not immediately recognize a word in a book, I write it down and hang it up on the refrigerator, and we review it until she learns it. One of the most important things about teaching sight words is exposure. Exposing children to sight words through playful activities is a great way to enhance learning because people retain a lot more information when they enjoy what they are doing. Here are some fun ways to review and/or introduce sight words to your child. Try not to treat this like a test, if they do not know the word tell them, and remember to have fun!
1. Connect 4 (or similar knock off, we got this one from Dollar Tree)
Materials: Connect 4 game, Sharpie, (Note if using the original game, you may want to preserve your chips and use removable labels to write the words)
Directions: Write the sight words on the chips, or labels. Have you child read the words as they place them into the slots. We had a lot of fun! This is also a good activity for exercising fine motor skills.
2. Discovery Bottle
Materials: An empty water bottle, some sort of grain (corn meal, flour, rice, we used steel cut oatmeal), something to write the words on, I used the chips from the connect 4 game.
Directions: Fill empty water bottle up with grain and add sight words.
Have your child shake up the bottle and try to find the words. When they find each word have them read it to you. If the task seems too challenging, add more words to the bottle, so it will be easier for the words to show up in the grain. You can write the same words more than once. Repeat and enjoy.
3. Watercolor Paint
Materials: White crayon, Paint, Paint brush, Watercolor paper.
Directions: Write the sight words with a white crayon on white paper. Give your child the paint and brush and tell them to paint and find the hidden words. Read them the words or have them read the words as you discover the hidden words.
Materials: Sidewalk chalk, pavement
Directions: Write the sight words inside the boxes. Have your child jump on each word and yell the word out as he or she jumps on each box. Repeat and enjoy. Alternatively, you can read a word and have your child toss a bean bag on the box with that word, then have your child skip that box as they jump through the boxes. This activity is perfect for the kinesthetic learner.
Materials: Balloons and Sharpie
Directions: Write the sight words on the balloons. Toss balloons in the air and say the word on each balloon as you throw it back and forth to you child. Personify the balloons, and say catch “pier” or “I’m throwing ‘the’ to you!” This is simple but fun, kids love balloons. Another great activity for the kinesthetic learner. After we were finished throwing the balloons around my daughter started dressing up the balloon with sun glasses and calling each balloon by it’s new name.
6. Find the Toy
Materials: Paper cups, Sharpie, Small Toy
Directions: Write the sight words on the paper cups. Place them in a row and hide the toy under one of the cups. Have your child guess which cup the toy is under. Instead of saying “that one” they have to say the word. After they find the toy, mix up the words and start all over again.
7. Scoop and Match
Materials- ping pong balls, cupcake liners, spoon, sharpie, bowl or tub.
Directions-Write the sight words on the cupcake liners and the ping pong balls. Place the cupcake liners in a bowl or tub. Have your child place each ball, one at a time into the matching cupcake liner using the spoon. Let your child take his or her time while doing this activity.
8. Easter Egg/Scavenger Hunt
Materials–Plastic Easter eggs, paper, pen
Directions–Write the sight words on paper, (I used the cupcake liners) and hide inside the Easter eggs. Hide the eggs and have your child find them and open each egg to find the hidden word.
Moms, have you ever tired to teach you child sight words? What methods did you use? What activities would you add to this list? Share in the comments below
Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter. She is the creator and author of ABC remix.