Sight words are high-frequency words commonly found in printed material that children are encouraged to read without phonetic decoding. Through extensive research, both Dr. Edward Dolch and Dr. Edward Fry developed sight word lists as well as ideas on how to teach these words to emergent readers.
Methods for teaching sight words vary among teachers and parents. Dr. Fry stated, “Any method that works is a good method.” Following in David Letterman’s footsteps, we compiled a list of top ten sight word games.
10. Sight Word Spelling Bee
Using sight words, conduct a good old fashioned spelling contest.
Originally, we selected sight word sentences for the number two spot. However, we recently created sight word sudoku puzzles which offer a fun and entertaining way to develop a sight word vocabulary. Just in case, here how you play sight word sentences – depending upon reading readiness, this game can be played either written or orally. Using a sight word, have each player write or speak a sentence. Award points for the silliest, happiest or most unbelievable sentence.
Write each sight word on its own index card. A parent or educator flashes the card for the player to read instantly. Another approach is to have the emergent reader shuffle the cards and then read them aloud. We gradually introduced sight words to our children – we started with ten cards and gradually increased the number as they began to instantly recognize them. Every child progresses differently so a different approach may be necessary for your child.
A card game similar to “go fish” except each player needs a pair instead of four cards. The player with the most pairs wins the game. If a player is not able to read his sight word, the player may ask any other player how to read the sight word.
Played like regular bingo except the bingo cards contain sight words instead of numbers. When the sight word is called players put a marker over that word on their bingo card. A player calls out bingo once they make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line with the markers on their bingo card.
Using sight words, write the sight words horizontally, vertically or diagonally on a grid or graph paper, putting one letter in each block. Fill in the open spaces with any letter. When a player finds a sight word, they circle it.
Using sight words, write each word on an index card. Remember that cards must be in duplicates or pairs. Shuffle the cards and then spread them out randomly. The first player selects two cards. If they match the player keeps them and goes again by turning over two more cards. If they do not match the player puts them back in the exact same place and her turn is over. The object of the game is to accumulate the most pairs.
3. Computer-aided Instruction
Use a computer to assist an emergent reader to learn sight words. We created a free online game, sight word concentration, to assist emergent readers in developing a sight word vocabulary. You can also purchase games from a retailer or use the internet to find websites that provide sight word computer games. Visit your school’s website as they typically provide instructional material for their students.
Using a poster board, create a path and make one-inch spaces. Write a sight word in each space. Players advance in the game by moving the number of spaces as determined by rolling a die. Players must correctly identify the word in the space. Depending upon the player’s reading readiness, upon landing on the sight word the player can define the word and/or use it in a sentence.
This is a game my family loves to play! Most children will enjoy playing this game so much they will not realize they are also developing a sight word vocabulary.
Playing sight word games can help a child develop a sight word vocabulary in an entertaining environment.