Having a large sight word vocabulary helps students develop reading comprehension and fluency quicker. When students have to stop to sound out words, it can disrupt or interfere with their understanding. It also robs them of practice with reading fluently. Here are 10 ways to build sight word knowledge.
Students in special education settings often learn best from hands on instruction and practice. Use these 10 different practice ideas to help students master and use their knowledge in different ways.
Muffin tin toss
This is an easy to use, store and prep center that can be used for any set of sight words you are targeting. Simply write sight words on paper or cupcake liners and insert them into the muffin tin. Students toss a small item into the tin and then read the word it lands on. Alternatively, you could use a dry erase marker to write the words in the bottoms of each of the “cups” on the muffin tin.
Go Fish sight words game
Use sight word flash cards or index cards with words on them and play Go Fish. This is a great way to incorporate language and social skills into reading centers.
All kids love BINGO, so build on their interests and make it a sight word game. You could also change it up and have a student be the person calling out the words. It’s a nice way to work on attending to peers in a nonthreatening or stressful way.
Writing sight words
- Tracing or building sight words is a great way to practice reading skills. Use magnetic letters to have students build the word. TIP: When working on tracing, write the word students need to trace with a yellow marker or highlighter. It helps them see their letters and the word better.
- Write the room activities are ideal for students who don’t prefer the more traditional ways of practicing writing. Check out these blog posts for more info:
Hangman is a great tool for targeting reading and spelling skills. Check out this blog post for more details on how to turn the game into a word work activity: Fun Reading Game
playdoh sight word mats
Playdoh makes everything more fun! Type out your sight word in a bubble letter font for students who need a visual model. Otherwise, supply the center or students with a list of sight words or flashcards to practice creating out of playdoh.
post-it note matching
Have students write (or dictate how to spell the word to you) their words on post-it notes. Then, have the student locate the matching words in a book and attach the post-it note on top of it. If you use big books for this activity, use the regular sized post-it pads to write the words. For regular sized books, we use the smaller post-its. It’s easily matched to your student’s fine motor abilities!
egg carton shake
This is similar to the muffin tin toss, but better for smaller or quieter settings. All you need is a cardboard egg carton and a small item such as a marble, lego, bead, etc. To prep the activity, write the words on the bottom of the egg cups and put the small item in the carton. Have students close the carton, shake it up & open the carton. Students take turns reading the word the item was on when the carton was opened.
Make this activity reusable by attaching plain laminated circles to the egg cups and write the words with a dry erase marker. Now you can easily practice different words without having to store multiple egg cartons.
Memory is a simple, but effective way to work on building reading skills. This game creates opportunities for students to practice reading words that do and don’t match so they have to cue into how words are similar or different.
resources to help you teach sight words
This literacy unit is jam packed with materials focused on helping students master the most common sight words and concept words such as number words, month, positional words, etc.
This sight word set contains 2 levels so students can practice building the words regardless of his/her writing ability.
This short vowel and CVC words unit allows you to easily add the high levels of practice our students need into your instruction and lesson plans.
Use this bundle to target short vowel patterns.
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