In just a few short days, Sierra will be having another birthday – how can she be 7 already?! So I’ve been sitting here reflecting how every year brings new joys, memories, and parenting challenges. One of the more joyful teaching moments I’ve had has been teaching her how to read. There’s certainly a lot of work that goes into teaching, but as of our last parent teacher conference, she’s reading at least one grade level (maybe a little more) above so the work has definitely been paying off!
What Are Sight Words?
There are so many different activities and methods you can do to improve your child’s reading, but one of my favorite reading activities I’ve done with her has been sight words. Sight words are basically common words seen in even the most basic books (i.e. he, she, the, who etc.) and can be found on most pages. It’s important for early readers to recognize these words off of memory and sight rather than having to sound them out because it builds a strong foundation for reading.
Sight Words Activity
There are several different activities you can use for sight words, but the one that Sierra seems to love is a simple flash card game. You can either make your own using the supplies below, or you can buy some pre-made ones for pretty cheap here.
Here’s what you need:
- Index Cards – any size will work
- Binder Ring or Zip Lock Bag
- Sharpie or Pen
- List of Sight Words – Grab your list of 100 sight words below!
Once you have your supplies, simply write one sight word on the front on the index card. Repeat this step until you have all your sight words written out. Then you can either hole punch the index cards in the corner and keep them together with a binder clip, or just stack the up and store them in a zip lock bag.
How to Play
Only pick a few sight words at a time (I suggest around 7-10) to avoid overwhelming with too much at once. If your child has never seen these words before, go through them a few times telling them what the words are. Then you can begin the game. The goal is to see how fast they can get through the flash cards in a “snap” (no sounding out the words!). My daughter loves the fun competition of seeing how fast she can do it.
If they get the word right and fast enough, it goes in a “known” pile, but if they either don’t get the word right or are taking too long to recognize it, put the card in a “needs practice” pile. Once you’ve gone through all the words, pick up the “needs practice” pile and see if your child can get the word after sounding it out. Go ahead and tell your child the word if they are still struggling after sounding it out. I typically go through this pile a couple times until I see she’s more comfortable with the words.
Then I put all the words back together and we play another round – putting the ones correct and incorrect in separate piles again. We keep playing rounds until there are no more cards put into the “needs practice” pile. Once you’ve played a few rounds where no cards are put into the “needs practice” pile, you’re ready to switch those sight words out for new ones and start the process over again!
Tips & Best Practices
-We typically use one rotation of words per week and practice a little bit each night. I found that doing more than that can start to make the game overwhelming or frustrating.
-If there are one or two words your child still has problems with at the end of the week, go ahead and switch those words out too. Put them back in rotation with new words on a different week. This gives the kids a break and a chance for a new challenge – keeps things fresh and fun!
-Occasionally throw a word or word or two in they’ve already mastered to make sure they still know it.
-Free Sight Word List-