I spy with my little eye… ten fun ways to teach and practice sight words! Teaching high-frequency words can actually be fun. That’s right! There is an interactive way to teach your students sight words. There are so many ways to get your students up and moving while they learn or practice sight words. Gone are the days of only reading and memorizing the sight words. I have TEN ideas to integrate learning new words that I think you’re going to love and your students will too! (I personally attest that my own students did love these tried and true ways of practicing sight words when I taught first grade!) And if you’re teaching virtually, don’t worry I have you covered too! Check out my Digital Sight Word Freebie!
1. Body Spelling with Sight Words
First, we have Body Spelling, a twist on the classic game of head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Body spelling is my modified version of the game. Students will love getting to move around while spelling their sight words out loud! So here’s how it works- for tall letters, touch your head. Touch your shoulders for small letters. For fall letters, touch your knees, or you can even go all the way down to touch your toes!
Now let me explain the different meanings of these letters. Tall letters touch all handwriting lines (top, bottom, and middle), small letters only touch the bottom, and fall letters touch the dotted line and then fall below it. This is a fun, interactive game that will have students asking to play it again and again.
Remember, It’s important that your students see the words as they’re spelling them, so have the words handy in a pocket chart or on a slideshow, so they can make the correspondence to the letters they’re spelling out kinesthetically and recognizing the word on sight!
Next, is a simple playdough activity that is equally as fun. Choose any color dough you wish for students to use. This makes for a great center activity or fast finisher work. Students will roll out the letters or stamp them if they have letter stamps on hand. Such a classic, but engaging way to reinforce new sight words. For easy clean up, provide students with a defined work area by giving them an inexpensive table mat to work on like this cute one I snagged from the Dollar Tree.
3. Swat It Sight Words Game!
Watch out for this high-paced game that will have students up and engaged. Write sight words on a whiteboard or attach sight word cards. This activity is so much fun to split students into two teams and have a little competition. As you call out a sight word, students will race to find it and use a flyswatter to swat the word. There are so many ways to mix this game up! Play as teams or individuals with a small whiteboard during small group instruction. There is SO MUCH flexibility for this game, which is why I love it. I recommend using swatters that are metal free so that there are no worries that little fingers get stuck anywhere they shouldn’t. I found these on Amazon for just a few dollars.
4. Alphabet Bead Bracelets
Again, this is a great activity to use during centers or even as a Fun Friday activity. You only will need letter beads and something to string the letters on. I find that chenille stems (aka pipe cleaners) work especially well. Students will use the letter beads to create a bracelet, spelling out sight words. How cute is that?! I highly suggest having your kiddos working from a work tray for this activity, or you may wind up with beads everywhere. This is a lunch tray from the Dollar Tree and has lots of little spaces to hold different tools. I see sooo many ways for you to use this in your classroom – letter beads, math manipulatives, game pieces – the possibilities are endless!
5. Letters in a Sandbox
Next, for letters in a sandbox, you’ll need a student pencil box, along with craft sand. It would probably be best for each student to have his or her own sandbox, but don’t worry a little sand goes a long way! Using their fingers, students can practice by drawing sight words in the sand. I even enjoy this activity! So fun and relaxing. Now all we need are some ocean waves and a palm tree or two!
6. Sight Word Punch Cards
Sight word punch cards make for a great reward incentive. As students master new sight words, they get a new punch in their card. This is a great way to differentiate for sight words, as each student in your class would have their own punch card they’d be working on. If you love this activity but don’t have the time to create new sight word punch cards every week for your students, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. With this Fry Sight Word Punch Card BUNDLE, all you have to do is print, punch, and go. Super simple. Plus, there are up to 1,000 sight words included.
7. Magnetic Letters
Using alphabet magnets (you know the kind most of us have on our fridge) and a cookie sheet, students can practice new sight words. This also works well with a metal lunch box. Then the letters can be stored away in the box. But if you choose to use a cookie sheet, you can bag the letters up and attach them with a magnet! Easy Peasy.
8. Sight Word Sticker Stories
Using stickers from an inexpensive sticker book and foam letter stickers, students can use their creativity to draw a picture, spell out a sight word and then write a sentence using the word. The stickers can be used on any regular paper or cardstock. Besides, what kid doesn’t love stickers?! I found these sticker books at the Dollar Tree, and there were lots of different themes to choose from – princesses, toys, parties, animals, etc.
9. Sight Word Shapes
When thinking about handwriting, use word shapes for each letter of a sight word. Box in tall, small, and fall letters. This is a great way to be focused on handwriting skills while learning high-frequency words at the same time! Here’s a screenshot of the activity in use in the Digital Sight Words Freebie I mentioned earlier. I know we’re talking about learning and practicing sight words, but proving letter shape boxes is also a great accommodation on spelling tests for students who have learning disabilities.
10. For the Techie Teacher
If you love all things digital learning, or maybe you’re teaching virtually then this one is for you! Try a Digital Version of the sight word activities you love. You can even try it out for free! It is perfect for kindergarten and first grade and includes 14 DIGITAL activities for focused on the sight word “you.” It’s also a great remediation activity for those second grade (or older) students who need more practice with sight words.
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