Injecting Fun Into Teaching Your Child Sight Words

It is very important that your child is taught sight words since they will be struggling with their ability to learn how to read without them. There is, of course, the traditional method of "see and say" using a whiteboard or flashcards, and your child can trace letters and then state them out loud - however, things can be changed up.

From word walls and adapted board games to songs, stories, and hide and seek, it can be fun to teach sight words. You just need to get creative and think about how you can adapt the lessons to activities that kids enjoy. Luckily, we've done some of the brain storming for you. The following are 6 fun activities that can help to spice up the sight words lessons for your child and you.

1Word Walls Or Portable Word Walls

All primary classrooms need to have word walls. However, having a portable word wall is even more handy, where the child will have a hand-held, small version of those sight words that she or he uses on a daily basis or practice every day. The portable word wall and regular word wall both come in handy all through the day, which gives the child quick and easy access to the proper spelling of words that are frequently used.

Think about things that words can be written on in addition to a large chart pad or whiteboard. Children love holding something in their hands. It doesn't matter whether the textures are crunchy or slimy, rough or smooth. Look for objects you may think your child likes to handle and then write out the sight words on these. Ask her or him to hold it and then repeat the words that you are saying.

2Hide And Seek With Words

If "they" is the sight word you've been wanting to practice, then write "they" on a few cards and then hide them in the room. Ask your child to find one of the cards, show the card to you, then spell the word and speak it out loud, and finally, use his finger to write the word into the air. Focus on the tricky part of a word - for example, with the word "they," the tricky part is "ey" since it makes a long "a" sound. Hide the "ey" portion of the word in the room somewhere and have your child look for it and then put it on the board in the right order and correct spelling.

3Board Games Adapted For Sight Words

Board games like Sorry, Connect Four, Tic-tac-toe, and other types of "take-turn" games can be easily adapted to use for your sight word lessons. Then have your child write or read the sight word before he plays his turn. The game is a reward for getting his word right. Also, at SightWords, there are online games of which your child can have fun.

4Simple And Fun Ways To Write Sight Words

Sight words have to be written. When words are written, it helps to solidify phonemes, and the simple physical acts of written words cement them into the brain of your child. The writing sounds simple, but there are a lot of exciting, fun, and not-so-simple ways in which sight words can be written.

Allow your children to carve letters in play dough or to use their fingers to write them in shaving cream. Chalkboards or erase boards can be used for practicing printing words, or they can be written using invisible ink. Anything different or new besides plain paper and pencil can make a routine chore something more exciting.

5Alternative Sight Word Assessment

Avoid putting your kids through a stress test. Instead, try out different and fun ways for assessing their sight word spelling. Then they won't even realize that you are "testing" them.

One fun assessment alternative is to use sight word cards that kids can rainbow color and then refer to it all through the week. Ask your child to read through these cards to determine how well he is doing. Another option that provides children with rewards is a sight word sticker book. You can give them stickers after they have read their words out.

6Create A Song Or Story

Are you able to sing the song "Mary Had A Little Lamb?" If so, you can use that as a strategy for teaching sight words. Replace nursery rhyme lyrics or a family song with letters that spell the sight word out.

Another option is creating a story for how a word looks. This "story" is a meaningful way of attaching the word's visual look to its spelling. So for example, when a teacher says, "Listen to what the vowels are attempting to say to you. The "i" and "a" are attempting to be "e." They are not allowed to do this. They are naughty, so they need to be locked in jail." Then draw a square using vertical lines (such as a jail cell door) along with the "a" and "i." Your child will often remember how the word looks and then remember there is an "a" and "i" hiding behind the door of the jail.

So there you go - from getting new words introduced to reinforcing them as well as giving alternative assessments; there are six ways of injecting fun into sight-word lessons that you are teaching your child. When writing sight words into shaving creams or play dough, board games, word walls, and using rainbow-colored cards to track your progress, your child will really love each step of learning those words when they are included in those activities. Spell reading, table writing, and the traditional see-and-say method always are going to be effective, but games can always take things up to the next level.

Nicole Ross

Nicole S. Ross is passionate about using stories in early childhood education. She wrote our Alphabet Book Series to help children fall in love with reading while learning the alphabet.