Sight words are a necessary part of learning to read. Of course, it is important to be able to sound out new words, but there are so many words that cannot be sounded out. Words like “were”, “some”, “love”, and so many more. These words that cannot be sounded out are called sight words. The only way to really learn sight words is to simply memorize them. This can be hard for many children, especially children who struggle with memorizing. Learning sight words doesn’t have to just be repetitive and boring. It can be fun.
Flashcard Games with Sight Words
There are many fun flashcard games that can all be adapted to use with sight words. It may be hard to find pre-made sight word flashcards, but they are relatively easy to make yourself. I made a set for my son by writing his sight words onto plain index cards. To make it a little more interesting I used different color markers to write each word. If you aren’t sure what words to include, wikipedia has a list of the most common words assigned as sight words. Many schools will also give out a list of the sight words learned in each grade.
Highlight the Sight Words
Another fun activity for children to practice sight words is to let them highlight one or two sight words all throughout a story. Let your child choose a highlighter or marker to use. Pick one or two sight words to focus on for this activity. (Any more words will be more confusing than helpful.) As your child reads through the story, have them highlight each time he comes across the sight word he is looking for. Not only will this help your child learn the sight word, it will also let them see how often the word is used in stories. You can find many printable short stories for children sorted by grade level at readworks.org that can be used for this activity.
Write the Sight Words
Another fun way to practice with sight words is to have your child write the sight words on different surfaces and textures. This allows your child to review the spelling of the sight word as well. Children will enjoy using their finger to write the sight words on things like sandpaper or a plush rug. They can also use finger paints, chalk, or even shaving cream to write the words. If you don’t want to get messy that day, children even enjoy writing the words in different colors of crayon or marker for a change. (Anything different than a pencil will seem like a huge adventure for a young child!)
While sight words do have to be memorized for a child to be a fluent reader, you can make it interesting and even fun to learn these simple words.
How do you make learning sight words fun for your child?