Pre-K

Growing Reader

20 Sight Word Games, Activities, and Reading Ideas

by Melissa Taylor

Photo credit: ktaylorg, E+ Collection/Getty Images

If your child is learning to read, then you know that sight words are high-frequency words common in most text, words like the, and, they, or she. Knowing these words at a glance makes reading easier. Here you’ll find sight word games, apps, multi-sensory activities, and reading ideas. I recommend trying multiple approaches to engage your child’s different modalities of learning these words.

Also, it’s important to note that schools generally use either the Dolch or the Fry Sight Word lists. The lists are slightly different so make sure you know which one to use.

GAMES

Games bring an element of fun and playfulness to learning. Since many of these games ask for sight word playing cards, make your own using index cards or download free printable cards here for the Dolch list and here for the Fry list.


Memory
Make your own card deck with two of each sight word. Shuffle. Place the cards face down in rows. When it’s your turn, turn over two cards and try to get a matching pair. If you don’t have a match, turn the cards back over. The winner is the player with the most pairs. (See example on Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.)

Bingo
Download premade bingo cards grouped by levels of sight words here. Or, make your own bingo cards with the specific group of words your child is learning.

Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of sight words and a corresponding sticky note for each word on the list. Have your child find the sticky note somewhere in your house and match the word with the corresponding word on the master list.

Go Fish
We played this game a lot when my youngest learned her words. Make a set of sight word pairs (or make four like the original game) for each word. You’ll probably want at least 30 cards. Deal out five cards to each player. Play using the Go Fish rules — either looking for two or four cards to make a set.

Ukloo
We love this store-bought treasure hunt because it helps kids practice reading sight words. The game clues come in three levels, each has clues written primarily with sight words. We made it inexpensive by finding the silliest “treasures” we could find such as a gum wrapper or paper clip.

Zingo! 
Kids won’t even care they’re practicing sight words because this Bingo game makes practice such a blast.

APPS

Technology often motivates kids to learn, which is why sight word apps can be a helpful tool. Try these learning apps and see which one your child enjoys most.


Bob Books Reading Magic Sight Words
Read the highlighted word in a sentence and practice writing by dragging the letters to the spaces at the bottom.

Gappy Learns Reading
Fill in the missing letter or letters to make bridges for the rabbit to cross and get home. Includes both three letter words and sight words.

The Sight Word Adventure
Play 10 fun games such as whack-a-mole, letter scramble, and hide-and-seek to practice 320 sight words at five levels.

Sight Word Games
With a section for learning and one for playing games, this new app from This Reading Mama gives kids more ways to practice their words, including Hangman and Bingo.

Sight Word Bingo
My kids loved the cute monsters in this entertaining Bingo game that uses the Dolch words.

MULTI-SENSORY

We have many senses other than our visual and auditory senses that can be engaged for optimum learning. These activities add in movement and touch.


Chants
With these chants, your child will work to learn the words while moving and acting like an animal.

Play Dough Mats
Using play dough and a sight word mat, make the letters of each sight word. Then write the words below.

Magnet Letters
Make your sight words on a magnetic surface using magnetic letters.

Wikki Stix or Pipe Cleaners
Build your sight words using Wikki Stix or pipe cleaners.

Beads
Practice your words by threading letter beads onto pipe cleaners to make each one.

READING


Flash Cards
You’ll want a list of the words your child needs to learn so that you can make your own flash cards or buy them. Then tackle a few each day. When your child has learned a word, post it on a wall to celebrate. Soon you’ll have a wall filled with words they can read!

Bob Books
Bob Books are short leveled books that help children learn a few words at a time, practice those words in the books, and then move on to reading more. We found them to be a very helpful resource.

Sentence Cards
These are printable cards with a sight word and the sight word used in a short sentence. They don’t just increase a child’s sight word bank, they also improve reading skills too.

Printable Leveled Booklets
These are short, printable books that you can download for free or for a small price that are text controlled. In other words, you can choose the appropriate reading level with what specific sight words your child needs to learn.

 

Have other tips for how to help kids learn sight words? Share in the comments below.