Sight Words activities and ideas
15 kindergarten sight words activities and ideas for your classroom! You got it!
I have collected some fun sight word activities to help you teach and practice your high-frequency words. You will find many hands-on ways to engage students. The good news? You can ditch the index cards and have students learn in a fun way.
Embedded Sight Word Instruction in Daily Schedule
1. Beyond Sight Word Flashcards
It wasn’t that long ago that I believed sight word cards were a great way to learn new words. But when I reflected on this practice, I realized I had just ASSIGNED new sight words. I did not actually TEACH them.
After doing a lot of research on best practices, I realized there was a better way. Instead of teaching sight words as a whole word, we now teach these words in concert with their phonics instruction. Here is what I mean:
- Look at your high-frequency word list.
- Rearrange the order in which you teach these high-frequency words so they coordinate with your phonics instruction. For example, you can teach words like it, in, can, him, but, went as part of your daily blending practice routines.
Additionally, you can teach words like no, be, my as part of your lessons on open syllables. There is no need for students to memorize these words. They can actually decode them. Understanding the phonics behind these most common sight words helps to store these words for easy retrieval in the child’s memory.
Teaching words explicitly is also called orthographic mapping.
2. Sight Word Search in Our Weekly Poem
Each week we do a quick search for sight words in our weekly poem. Students sing and act out these poems. You can learn more about our poem routines by reading:
Sound Wall Activities
3. Cheer the Sight Words
Having a sound wall is fantastic, but unless you use it, it is just wallpaper. As kindergarten students work on learning sight words, we add physical activity! These are so much fun and offer a multisensory activity. Students are able to process information in different ways by seeing it, saying it, hearing it, and moving as they spell the word.
These cheers are part of the Science of Reading Lesson Plans.
4. Can you read my mind?
I like to challenge students by asking them to read my mind. One of the activities asks the students to read my mind. They get 5 clues. Each time I give a clue, the students write a word they think it could be. They listen to the clues and narrow down the options. They don’t erase their guesses but simply write another word. It might sound something like this:
- The word has 3 letters.
- The word is on the top row of the word wall.
- There is one vowel in this word.
- There is an “a” in this word.
- The word fits in this sentence, “I _____ ride a bike.
This is an activity I learned years and years ago from the book Phonics They Use, by Patricia Cunningham, and it is a great sight word activity.
Read more on the sound wall by clicking:
Sight Words in Small Groups
5. Magnetic letters
We know that some students need more time with phonics skills than others, so small group instruction is an easy way to include hands-on activities.
When we are building sight words, we follow these steps:
- We build it,
- We mix it.
- Then we fix it! Over and over!
Using a cookie sheet is one of the best ways to make this a zero prep ask for me!
6. Write it!
Student practice writing the words. I laminate handwriting printable pages and then students can use a dry-erase marker.
In this picture, students have plastic canvas under the handwriting paper. Then they use a crayon to create a crayon relief.
After the student has practiced a few times, then they can run their fingers over the letters and get another form of tactile feedback.
Young writers also practice sentence writing with our daily dictation activities. During this time, we focus on correct spelling and writing conventions.
7. Find the Sight Word in a Sentence
Students also find the word in a sentence and frame it with their fingers. This next link will tell you more about decodable texts.
8. Write the Sight Words in Shaving Cream
Writing on desks with shaving cream is not something new. Can we all agree that it makes the classroom smell amazing!!??
9. Morning Sight Word Routines
Each week we loved adding these sight words books to our book bags as part of our morning work. Cutting out the individual letters also strengthens their fine motor skills. Maria Gavin has a huge selection of books that you can see HERE.
10. Sight Word bracelets
Each week I assessed my students using ESGI.
Then I used the reports to create sight word bracelets for students.
I ordered the bracelets from Amazon (affiliate link) and wrote on these with a Sharpie. They are strong and seem to stay on the students’ wrists for several days! I’ve tried paper ones in the past and they only last about 2.2 seconds… GAH! I usually selected 4 words I wanted them to learn that week. Each student had a different bracelet! Simple!
Sight word centers and stations
11. Roll and Write Sight Words Literacy Centers
We start the year learning this classic game, but we introduce it with letters. We quickly transition into sight words. Because this is an editable unit, you can enter your different sight words. that match your sight word list.
12. Spin and Write Sight Words Literacy Centers
This sight word game works in the same way. Again, having an editable file makes it easy to customize the activity to match the individual student’s needs.
13. Sight Word Fun Games
We also love to play sight word fluency games! This game is one of my favorite ways to provide extra practice that feels like play!. Students pull a card, read it, and write it. The best thing about this activity is it is also editable so kindergarten teachers can target the needed high-frequency words. You can see these editable games by clicking HERE.
We also love Roll, Say, Keep! These are great for learning the alphabet and sight words. Because it is editable, you can add your own words. You can see it HERE.
14. Help Me! Help You!
I was overwhelmed with trying to find the right activity that I could use during my intervention time. I created a unit that solved this problem. Here was the issue… I had 4 students in my intervention group who needed sight word practice, but they all needed different words! AH!! Solution found. Think of this as your sight word kit! This video will show you how it works.
Here are a few of the weekly pages in action. Remember… just having them do sight word worksheets is not an intervention. So students must READ the words as they work.
I hope you found a few kindergarten sight words activities you can use in your own classroom. You can read more about sight words instruction by reading these blog posts:
15. Sight Word Rings Free File
These free word rings are great to send home for students to practice.