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.
Build a Sight Word is a great activity for children to play to help develop their sight word vocabulary. Using the free printable sight word cards, children look at each letter in the word and re-create (build) the word using the wooden letters. Once they have built the sight word, they cover each letter with small glass gems.
There are more activities below sharing some ideas on how you can play and learn with the same items provided. They can be incorporated into literacy or numeracy maths centres, group or independent activities, guided reading activities and so much more. Kids will love the tactile and hands-on manipulation of the resources to create their sight words.
What you will need?
You will need coloured glass gems, wooden alphabet letters (and/or numbers) and printable sight word cards (see below for printing). You will also need early readers – this is optional.
There are 90 sights words included in our free printable but I would not recommend introducing them all at the same time. Every child is different and while some may be able to cope with 10 sight words being introduced, others may only to be ready for 3 or 5 sight words at a time.
Let’s Play – Create Sight Words
Children build a sight word by choosing a sight word card, say the word out loud, look at each letter in the word and re-create (build) the word using the wooden letters. Once they have built the sight word, they cover each letter with small glass gems.
Some decoding strategies to try when learning sight words:
- Look at the first sound and last sound in the word (some sight words cannot be sounded out).
- Look for smaller words within the sight word, such as ‘that’ also has ‘hat’ and ‘at’ in it.
- Look for letter patterns such as ‘th’ in the sight word ‘the’.
- Is there something interesting about the word, such as ‘was’ sounds like it has a ‘o’ and a ‘z’ in it but it doesn’t and it also make the word ‘saw’ when written backwards.
- Say the sight word in a sentence.
- Find the sight word in a book.
Sight Words & Early Readers
When learning a list of sight words, it is important to use them and see them used in context such as placing the word into a sentence and seeing the sight word written or used in a book. Sight words have a place and purpose in reading and oral language and children need opportunities to make these connections.
This is where early readers with repetitive texts and picture cues are useful when learning sight words. Early readers are great for lots of reasons such as developing confidence but in this case I am using them to provide an opportunity to spot the sight word, read the sentence, then build the sight word using wooden letters and then place glass gems onto the letters that make the sight word. This activity is great for guided reading group or independent work/lessons.
Create the Alphabet
The wooden letters and gemstones can also be used for alphabet activities. Children can place all the letters into alphabetical order, singing the alphabet song and then decorate each letter with the coloured gemstones.
Create with Numbers
This activity can also be used for learning about numbers and number recognition using wooden numbers instead of the letters. If children are ready, you can also add two dice the activity to create two digit numbers or practise addition.
- For creating and learning (reading) two digit numbers, children roll both dice and make a new number from the numbers shown on the dice such as one dice face has a 3 and the other has a 4, this make the two digit number 34. Children then build the number 34 using the wooden numbers and place the glass gems on top.
- For the addition activity, children roll both dice and add both numbers shown together. For example both dice shows 2, add 2 and 2 together to get the answer 4. Children then find number four and cover it with glass gems.
If you are looking for another fun and interactive learning names activity, these large wooden letters and glass gems will be a winner for kids. Children can re-create their names using the wooden letters and then decorate them with the glass gems.
We have more name activities here –> Learning Names
Create Colour Words
You can also create other words such as colours, spelling words, CVC words or words that relevant to a topic being learnt in class. Here we have made ‘colour’ words and matched them with the same coloured glass gems.
For more colour activities and play ideas click here: Learning Colours
The 7 main sight words we have been playing with are also stuck onto the fridge with magnets. Miss 5 uses the fridge magnetic letters to also re-create the sight words. This is another activity that can be done to extend the learning and reinforce understanding in a different context.
Also, leave the wooden letters, gem stones and sight word cards out for the children to come back to play with again and again. Some children lose interest quickly and by leaving them out, they will return to the activity for small play sessions.
- Fine Motor Development
- Hand-Eye Coordination and Control
- Literacy – letter names and sounds.
- Interactive and hands on learning; picking up the words, matching letters, ordering letters to create sight words.
- Problem solving – using strategies to decode the sight word. Such as looking for letter patterns or smaller words within the sight word.
- Memory – Recall, recognise and become familiar with some sight words.
- Develop early reading skills
Click here for more SIGHT WORD activities & play ideas
Free Printable Sight Word Cards
The Printable Sight Word Cards come in fun pastel colours. The set includes 90 sight word cards and also blank cards for you to write your own words if you wish to add more. Laminate for durability.
Please click here to download and print:Free Printable Sight Word Cards
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