One homeschooling mom explains sight words, why they are important for young children to learn, and 5 creative activities to help your kids master their sight words.
My first major goal as a homeschooling mom was to successfully teach my children how to read. Since our oldest two children are 14 months apart, I decided that teaching them the same material at the same time would be the simplest way for us to begin our homeschooling journey. Since I have no formal educational training, I really had no idea where to begin teaching my children how to read, but I started with letter recognition, phonics and sight words.
What are Sight Words and Their Benefits?
Sight words are words that students can identify immediately. Often, these words are thought to not be easily sounded out by young readers and are typically memorized and recognized by sight. However, integrating the sounds (phonics) of the words while introducing sight words have been shown to be most beneficial for young readers in the long run.
Learning sight words can be an exciting time for young readers. They benefit from successful sight words comprehension in several ways and parents and teachers can see the following:
Each were created by authors who were education experts, specifically in the area of reading. Authors Edward William Dolch and Dr. Edward B. Fry created lists of sight words that, through their research, appeared most frequently in children’s books. Both authors’ lists are now widely used by educators.
5 Creative Ways to Teach Sight Words
Early phonics is typically taught during pre-K and kindergarten. Fry suggested children be taught five words at a time alongside phonics lessons, as opposed to separate memorization lessons. Forget the boring sight words memorization sessions. This list of sight word activities will bring some life to phonics, sight words lessons and general learning time.
Jump and Say Game
Get active while identifying sight words.
What You’ll Need: 10 Index Cards or Sight Word Flashcards
Write sight words on 10 index cards and place cards face up on the floor. Be sure to put plenty of space between each card. Call a child’s name and instruct them to find a specific word. When they find a word, have them jump on it and say it. Repeat until all cards have been identified.
This is a fun activity that can be played both indoors and outdoors.
Make Sight Word Puzzles
Develop problem-solving skills during sight word exercises.
What You’ll Need: Construction paper, Marker, Scissors
On a full sheet of construction paper, largely write three columns of three sight words, writing a total of nine words. Evenly space the words across the paper. Cut the paper into puzzle shapes that will allow your child to easily make out the sight words. Have your child put the puzzle together and identify each word.
Make it extra fun by allowing children to color or draw on the paper before cutting it into puzzle pieces.
Word Matching with Popsicle Sticks
Work on fine motor skills while matching and sorting sight words.
What You’ll Need: 5-10 Popsicle Sticks, 6 Plastic Cups, Marker
Choose five sight words and write one word on each popsicle stick. Write those same words on each of five plastic cups. Place sticks in the sixth cup. Have your child pull a popsicle stick and place it in the matching cup. Repeat until all sticks have been used.
If you have multiple children, create this times two and have them compete in a friendly race.
Word Towers with Blocks/LEGOs
Children can use their motor skills while identifying sight words.
What You’ll Need: 5-10 Large LEGOs, Marker
Write one sight word on each LEGO. Call out the words on the LEGOs, one at a time, and have the child locate it. As each word is located, have the child stack the LEGOs with the goal of creating the tallest tower they can build. The more words they can identify, the taller the tower.
Shaving Cream Writing
Engage in a messy learning time for sensory play fun.
What You’ll Need: Shaving Cream, Table, Sight Word Flashcards
Place a large amount of shaving cream on a table. Option 1: Say a sight word and have student attempt to spell it by writing it in the shaving cream. This is great for developing their ability to sound words out. Option 2: Place a few flashcards in child’s view. Have them practice saying and writing each word multiple times.
About the All-Star Blogger
Teri Watters is the creator of MommyWifeLife.com, where she regularly blogs about ways to keep the family connected through education, activities and new products.