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Learning Sight Words – Ideas and Activities

Sight Words 

Sight words are a term used to describe a group of common or high frequency words that a reader should recognise on sight.  Words such as; the, is and was, are an example of a sight word.  Having this instant or automatic recall of sight words helps early or beginning readers develop into smooth and efficient readers.

Let’s Learn 

Today I am taking you into my daughter’s homework book and showing you some of the activities I do with her to assist with learning her sight words.

Miss 5 has been bringing home a list of sight words to learn along with a home reader.  To make it more interesting, fun and motivating I have been coming up with a few activities that take no longer the 5 – 15 minutes to complete.  Every child has their own unique way of learning and absorbing of information, one activity might not help assist in learning some of the sight words but another may just help things to click.

You will also see by the photos that our sight word activities are not focused on the neatness of writing or writing on the line.  The focus is to learn our sight words!

There are so many things you can do to assist with learning sight words and today I am just sharing a few as this post would never end…..

Our Homework Basket:  This is our first year we have had homework and do not have a desk or certain area allocated for this.  As the kids change and their needs change we may look at having something set up more permanently but for now our little homework basket helps us organise our homework sessions.

In the basket you will find, glue sticks, scissors, highlighters, textas, pencils, eraser, coloured paper in a notepad, funky pens, stickers and a ruler.  Every evening on homework night we bring this basket to the table along with Miss 5’s homework folder and reader and this is where we do our homework.

1. Looking for patterns: The activity in the first photo is designed to show that smaller sight words can be found in bigger words and that words are made up of patterns.  At this time Miss 5 had the words ‘at’ and ‘an’ in her list of sight words to learn.

2. Magazine hunt:  Looking through magazines and cutting out letters to make sight words in the homework list.

3.Writing on fun paper:  Using pattern scissors to cut out small pieces of paper to practise writing the sight words on.  Depending on the child, you may like call out the word and see if they can write the sight word down without looking.  Otherwise it is also okay to look at the word and copy it down will also assist in the learning.

4.  Sorting by beginning letters:  This activity will depend on what words are in the sight word list but quite often a lot of the words will begin with the same letters.

5.  Sorting by number of letters: Sort and group the words according to the number of letters in the sight word.

If writing is an issue or your child prefers hands-on activities, you could write all the sight words onto flashcards that can be used to sort into groups according the beginning letter or number of letters.

These two activities are decoding activities; it is looking at what makes up the word.  Doing this activity on colour strips of paper makes it more fun!

6.  Find the Match: Make two jumbled up lists using the sight words and then connect or match up the same word.  Again this is supporting the development of decoding skills where the child will be looking for letter/word patterns to find the match.

7.  Writing inside a Shape:  Chose 1 to 4 words from the list of sight words to focus on and write them over and over again inside a shape.  Setting a challenge to write the words as many times as they can to fill up the shape can be very motivating for some kids.

8.  Sorting by beginning letter:  This is pretty much the same as number 4 but in a different format.  Changing the format can keep sight word homework interesting.

9.  Writing on a squiggly line: Writing a sight word over and over again on a squiggly line.

10. Writing in petals or other pictures:  Write each letter that makes up the sight word onto each separate petal.  This can be done on other pictures such as a train with a number of carriages.  Depending on the child, you can call out the words and have them write it without looking or have them copy the letters onto the petals.  Either way learning is still happening.

11.  Unjumble the words: Jumble up the letters in the sight words and write them down in the book to be unjumbled.

12.  Foam letters:  Learn your sight words using sticky foam letters to make the words in the list.  You can buy these sticky foam letters from most crafts stores.

13. Letter stickers: You can also use letter stickers to make the sight words.

14. Memory:  Make a set of cards with the sight words written on them to make a game of memory.  Turn them all over and try to find the match.  This game is great because it is repetitive and the child needs to read the sight word out loud when they turn a card over.

15. Toilet Roll Alphabet:  This is a stand up alphabet and can be used to make sight words to assist with learning.  To make your own and print off the free printable click here: Toilet Roll Alphabet  

16. Sight word search: On a piece of paper write each sight word about 3 to 5 times, this can be more or less depending on the child.  Then make a key with the sight words and colour coding them.  Using the matching colour for the sight, search for the sight word and circle them.

17. Alphabet letter cut outs:  Use cut out alphabet letters or homemade ones to use to make sight words.  This is very similar to the magazine hunt on number 2 but is a great for variety or if you do not have a magazine available.

Other Useful Links:

I hope you can find these ideas useful to motivate and keep an interest with your child as they learn their sight words.  I will continue to add more ideas and activities as I do them with my daughter.

6 thoughts on “Learning Sight Words – Ideas and Activities”

  1. The toilet paper alphabet was my favorite since you first published it, and now you re actually giving us 17 ideas to use with various other topics in one post! Pretty cool Janice! And I love the effort your miss 5 invested in all the work!

  2. Janice, what an amazing page! I am a Prep teacher and you have given me so many ideas. Absolutely fantastic to see you go to so much effort with your daughter’s homework. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  3. My goodness you’re creative! This is wonderful! Thanks so much for all these ideas. I just stumbled on your website while looking through Pinterest and I’m very impressed! Will be using these bottle top ideas tonight (we’re having trouble with letter/number recognition)!

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Picture of Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

My name is Janice and I am an Early Childhood Teacher in Australia.

I have a strong passion and love for teaching and creating meaningful learning experiences for my students. What I love most is watching children discover in those amazing light bulb moments. I hope Learning4kids brings you some useful ideas.

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