Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sight Word Ideas

I've talked several times about how Mason likes to operate on his own timetable that we lovingly refer to as "Mason-Time" :)  I've also talked about how his perfectionist tendencies sometimes keep him from trying things that he doesn't feel like he's going to be great at right away.

Mason loves school, loves his teacher and doesn't complain about the homework he has BUT sight words have been a BEATING!!!  We've learned that rote memorization isn't his strong suit and last week I reached out on Instagram to see if anyone had a great recommendation for helping him and was OVERWHELMED with the response from parents and educators via that post and email.  So many creative, engaging and helpful ideas and I was beyond appreciative!  I figured that we can't be the only ones struggling to stay on top of the growing list of sight words and thought that I'd compile and share all the ideas that were offered as an easy-to-find resource for other parents.

My plan is to try start using some of the ideas and then come back and update this post with feedback about how they worked/didn't work for him.  

I also created a Pinterest Board to keep track of ideas that I want to try...

I tried to condense the comments to eliminate the duplicates and what's left is a CRAZY long list of amazing ideas.

witheagerhandsblog Write them on the sidewalk with chalk, see how fast he can jump on each one and read them!

twoodard82 What about making a memory game with them where he has to match up two cards with the same word. Or writing his sight words in shaving cream somewhere!

mollierobison we play go fish with sight words! my daughter loves the game. good luck!

lmcampbell86  Memory game, so not really using them! Spelling them out in finger paint or play doh!!!! Also magnetic letters

thespradlinfiles  I use with my high school students. (It can be used at any age though.) They love it & it has different activities that can used with the same content. 📚🍎 

I created a Quizlet using his words this week and he is LOVING it!!! I downloaded the app on my phone and it is so easy to use!

katiemcdavid 1st grade teacher here... write a few sight words on index cards then post them randomly on a wall or white board. Give Mason a fly swatter. Call out different words and he needs to find them and swat the card as fast as he can. Add more words as he gets better, or add multiple copies of the same word to make it easier. He'll love reading them if he's a fan of interactive games.

witheagerhandsblog  Or place them all out on the table and put a small snack over each one (chocolate chip, craisin, goldfish,) He picks up the snack, reads, and then "Chomps!" Mine like yelling the word chomp each time. Whatever!

adrussel  I did sight word Candyland with my girls. I taped sight words onto the color cards and they had to read the word before moving spaces.

jpruess  I wrote the words on post its and placed the post its on the wall in their playroom. I would give them a nerf gun and say shoot the word. It was a lot of fun and my son learned the words pretty quickly.

jennmcarroll  My little guy is in K too, and his teacher does rainbow sight words (each color of the rainbow has 2 sets of 4-5 words). Each week he gets a color and one set of the words. Once he's mastered those words, he colors in that color on the rainbow and moves to the next set or next color. To practice, he loves nerf guns, so I write his sight words on post its and put them all over the house. He has to say the word correctly and shoot it, and he gets to keep the word. I also make a bulls eye, and instead of points, I write the sight word.

hatsofftokinder  Tape the sight words on the floor or wall and turn the lights off- have Mason shine a flashlight and read the words he hits. Make the words out of Legos. Or, put the words on the floor and play a human board game with them- roll the dice and whatever word he lands on he reads. Most importantly, don't stress! He'll get them in his own time!! Hope this helps, have fun 😃

hopefilledhome Look into the program Primary Arts of Language Reading from Institute of Excellence in Writing. It is game based & my boys LOVED it! You have to assemble everything which takes a little work, but you end up with 20-30 games that are really fun. A little more work than just flash cards, but worth every second of the investment! It has helped kids with dyslexia learn and love to read!

linds.morris Writing the words with shaving cream on the table is fun! I went to a quantum learning training last week and the lady teaching told us that she would tape the sight words around her house and that's how they reviewed them. She would have her daughter work on a handful of words at a time, and they would go over them wherever they were in the house. She also said she would only spend about 5 minutes working on them! Not sure if this helps!

skrapmad  We use The words go in there (our teachers put them on the site). There are tons of games and things to do on the website with your specific list of words.

sashey9943  Give him incentive to practice each day, and each time he practices, he erases the words he knows. Set a goal. If he reaches his goal, have an incentive chart (a car traveling around a race track, Hulk climbing a ladder)

hillyjanem  Reading eggs app

dreakro  Have you tried using the sight words and playing bingo. Zingo is a great bingo type learning game you can kind of play off that. Make your own boards & pieces.

jenny_marie413  @andrea2220When I was a nanny I used to make "pancakes" out of brown construction paper and then laminate them. Use a dry erase marker to write the sight words. Then the kids would use a spatula/flipper to identify the words and fill their plate. They loved it!

denisemwm  Teach my monster how to read app.

rofkali  I taped the sight words on index cards around the house - as driving/eating/playing/etc. ask what word is taped on your bathroom mirror, or on the garage door, etc. - worked for us 25+ years ago!

camjo105  I made flashcards with magnets on the back and put them on the refrigerator. My son loved moving them around and reading them to me. Some days I would say the word and he would find it and other days I would take them off, throw them on the floor and have him find the word I asked for.

caitwilliamsitgl  I did something similar with my students@jenny_marie413 , but we used fried eggs 😊 also, I have written sight words on plates and taped with painters tape to outside of building, we threw a soft ball at the word and had to say it before we threw it.

jess021084  Meet the sight words apps are AWESOME!!! They go on to phonics ones and alphabet ones for G too!!!

lizhentges  My students love the Fly Guy game called swat. I bought it from Scholastic and it's really fun. It makes them practice sight words but they don't realize it. It's just a fun game to them! 😀

alimaree79  My son loves the "stair game." Start sitting at the top of the steps. Each time he reads a word correctly he gets to move down a step. If he reads it incorrectly he moves up a step. Game is done when he makes it to the bottom of the stairs!!

lesleymcfarland  Just do 5 a night. Remember he is just 5. Sight word bingo...writing in shaving cream or chalk out side. Make a hop scotch and he says them when he jumps on them shoot nerf bullets at them.

elizabeth_feldpausch  @andrea2220I know your kids love playing with big boxes 📦Have him write the words on the boxes (maybe let him use "special" markers 😉)

kvogie12  My daughter was the same way. We wrote the words on painters tape and put them on the wall in her room. Then we turned out the lights and she used the flashlight to find the word. Once she got the word right, she could move it to another wall. It was fun for her to see her progress on the wall of site words. Each kid is so different, keep trying things and one will stick. Took us a few to finally get one that worked for her.

evystreeassist  Many good ideas. Mine is similar; my son was nonverbal until well past his third birthday. On the advice of his speech therapist, we wrote out a bazillion words and labeled tons of things in the house (CHAIR, BED, DOOR, etc.), as well as making a 'menu' of words that were on the frig. We constantly pointed to words throughout the day and said them over and over. He could point to words on the frig and let us know what he was thinking. Eventually he had them all memorized. Slightly different situation but maybe a similar approach would work. Reward him often and don't be afraid to push him. 😊

rebeccaapeltz  I write sight words on Dixie Cups and have the kids make a tower or structure with them and if they get one wrong they knock it down and start all over! Kiddos LOVE this! I just store them in an old pringles can

honeybeemlt  Hopscotch-my middle son didn't like flash cards either so I drew a hopscotch board and filled in the squares with his words instead of numbers. As he jumped on the box he had to shout out the word.

juliebriggs  I'm not sure if anyone has already suggested this or not, but you can make a "parking lot" on poster board with a site word in each parking spot. In order to park a car in a spot he has to read the word first! Good luck!

mrsemwalton  We use song to teach sight words at the preschool I work at! The CD is called "Sing and spell" by Heidi Butkus.

adriennerho  Try putting them around the house in the places where they make "go" "out" on the door to the backyard, things like that. He'll make the connection with the action or the place. And it's not you forcing him to practice which has helped with my little stubborn donkey of an preschool boy.

megklo208  Write the words on ping pong balls. He can throw them to you or in a bucket ....Throw "for" to me, or throw "my" in the bucket. Kind of incorporates sports which can be more fun!

kindercrafty  Any game that includes physical movement is great for little boys. Examples: hopscotch sight words, "snowball" (crumbled paper with words written on them) sight word fight, Twister sight words (use post-it's) with words on each Twister square. I could go on and on!

pgchapman13  I wrote all of the site words on index cards and then hid them all over the house. Then we played hide and seek with the cards. I would call out the word I wanted my daughter to find, and she raced off to find the right word. She quickly learned the words, and also burned plenty of energy. 😊

eclow  I saved lids from pasta sauce jars, orange juice bottles etc. And wrote the sight words on them with sharpie then I made a little hockey net out of a plastic berry basket and he got to take turns shooting the "pucks" in the net after he practiced reading each word.

sweetkindsmile  Preschool Prep dvd's. They have all of the sight words. I am a teacher and recommend these to all beginning readers. I used them with my daughter at age 5 and now at age 8 she is reading at a 6th grade reading level. They are amazing, fun and work!!

kalleiser  I taught K! Write 5 out a week and tape them up by the door. When you leave the house, have him high five them as he says them. Tape them one above the other, so he has to jump to get the top one. You can even make them super hero themed. Some of my boys pretended to be superheroes when they jumped lol. Also, I second the shaving cream writing, or use pudding! Good luck!!!

eshinn2  Spell them using play doh and have him read them! Rainbow write the words (have him write it with colored pencils), pipe cleaners are fun to spell words, too! Maybe if he could spell them out and "play" while making them it would be more fun!

rookietchr  Write each word on an index card with a white crayon. Mason can color over the card with a marker to see & read the "mystery" word. Write each word on two index cards and use them to play go fish or memory. Play whack a word. (Cut a pool noodle into a short section and stick it onto the end of a pencil - like a mallet. Make a game board with several sight words. As you call out a word he has to find it on his game board and hit it with his "mallet").

mollietwilson  My youngest liked an app called Sight Word Ninja like Fruit Ninja. She also watched the sight word dvds in our commute to or from school a few times a week (we have a twenty-five minute drive). Pipe cleaners, go-fish with sight words, and memory were also big favorites. Also, "salty words" (placing salt on a paper plate and having them use their finger to write out the word and say it) was another favorite practice activity. We just placed the plate in a gallon- sized zip-lock bag to reuse. Mason may like drawing little picture clues on sight word flash cards too, like making glasses out of the two letter o's in the word look.

bryanttrifecta  I like to give them a majority of words that the kiddo already know then just add about 3 unknowns. That way they feel lots of success. Add new words as one is mastered.

carriewi  Make a power point slide show. As he gets better decrease the time between slides and then eventually mix them up. Set it to a mash up of his favorite songs, that will give him auditory cues to attach the words to.

nicolereilly5  My students use stamps with their flash cards! Each time they get a word right they get to stamp the card! I ordered a bunch of cheap stamps off amazon. It keeps it fun!

nbajl12  Since Mason loves to draw, have him draw a picture. Then you take the picture and hide (write) sight words in the picture. Then he has to find and say each sight word as he finds them. He could also practice spelling words this way and he hides the spelling words in his picture and then you have to find them in his picture! My first graders love this activity! Another activity is to play whack a mole, but it's whack a sight word. Lay out sight words all over the floor and he has to whack the sight word you call out. Give him a favorite book and a few sight words. He then has to find as many of those words in the book. However many he finds, he gets that many of something - minutes to play on IPAD, goldfish crackers, mms, etc.

brpaul  Have him write them in frosting.. If he gets it, he can lick his finger if not smooth it back out and try another one.

jadebattise  Hi Andrea! I'm not a teacher but I am a homeschooling mom. I have the advantage of spending more time making a difficicult task for my son very fun. We use nerf guns quite a bit and he loves it! We tape sight words to solo cups, the back door, wall or line them up on a base board. We say the word together a few time then the next round he has to say it himself and if he gets it right he shoots it. My son also like when we shoot eachother. Boys! So we each get a nerf gun and if he gets a sight word right he gets to shoot me(below the waist lol) and if he gets it wrong I shoot him. We no longer fight learning sight words! I wish you and Mason the very best!

mollie_shutt  @andrea2220 ok so I'm going to try and help to see if this makes sense. I just learned this in a reading class for graduate school. If mason is left handed he uses his left hand on his right arm to tap (from left to right) as he says each letter. So for the word these he would take his left hand and tap starting at his wrist and would tap for each letter as he says it so "t-h-e-s-e" there is a whole practice with this idea I can send you more details there's like a whole training involved too! Our teacher recommending using this one strategy for sight words and I'm going to try it in my classroom!

lesley_nichole07  Heidi's Songs are sets of DVD's you can order on-line. They have catchy songs that go with every sight word! Little cheesy but fun for kids!!

kwbeason  The game ZINGO sight words edition

sscangel  We made a sight word race. Call out the word and he has to race his daddy across the room to find the word first.

csahr  @andrea2220 my first graders love the app car factory (you can add your own lists) and spelling city.

christiecarron  You can find small blank puzzles at a craft store and then write words across the pieces so he has to put it together to make the complete word. When he puts the puzzle together he'll be practicing several words at a time. I used these during reading centers with first graders and they loved them!

clevine_25  I wrote sight words on Jenga blocks. Every time we take a turn we have to read what's on our block. Also printing out and laminating a double set of sight word you can use them as cards to play games like memory and go fish. We also play Connect Four and have to read a sight word before we take a turn. You can do it with nearly any game your child likes. It's a much slower pace than just flipping through flash cards but it works for my son.

**It’s important to follow the Rule of 3: If your child misses 3 sight words in a row, give them a high five, and stop for the day. This will encourage them and not leave them feeling defeated.

This one was a GAME CHANGER for us!!!

-Break the set of sight words up into either 5 or 7 days (each weekday or day of the week). Put the words through a ring and have him focus on just that day's words. Breaking it up doesn't seem nearly as overwhelming to a child! Plus a fun reward once he goes through that day's pile wouldn't hurt.

Saw your instagram post, as a soon to be teacher, and a current tutor and nanny we use the game Jenga! Cover one side with masking tape and put the words on them. When you pull the piece out you recite the words! Another game we played was a version of war - get a deck of cards and write sight words on them and then face each other! Even make different colour cards for levels of sight words and then Luke can play too! It works well as a math game too :)

-Sight word POW:  This is by far my students' favorite sightword game to play.  I got it free from Teachers Pay Teachers and attached it for you but basically put all the cards in a pile, show each kid a card and once they say the word they keep it.  If a POW card comes up they have to give you back all the cards.  They LOVE this game!

WOW, right?!?!  I have a feeling that working through sight words and figuring out a study/learning method that works well for him now is going to come in handy when it comes to other subjects later in his school career.  

Like I said above, the plan is to keep updating this post as we try things out and I'll let y'all know as I do.  HUUUUUUGE thank you again to everyone who took the time to leave me a comment or send me an email.  I so appreciate y'all taking the time to help us out and offer up advice. 

Happy Thursday, friends!


  1. Take paint chips and write a letter on each one then take clothes pins and write the letters on each one and he has to clip the clothespin to the paint chip to match the spelling. Each word can be in little baggies.

  2. WHOA!!! Those are some great ideas. I have no doubts Mason will know all the kindergarten sight words by Christmas if you incorporate those ideas at home. They're great!

  3. We're having a similar problem in our house. These ideas are amazing. I can't wait to try them!

  4. This is such good info!!! And as a side note, you know how I feel about Mason ;). #promdates

  5. wonderful ideas. thanks for collating and sharing :-)

  6. Such great ideas! Luke and Mason are so similar! Luke is a perfectionist (he hides it behind his big personality just like Mason) and didn't want to try anything for fear of not doing it correctly. With lots of coaching, we got him over the hump ...and I'm sure Mason will too with all of these awesome ideas!! Xo

  7. i just had a teacher conference on tuesday and she suggested us working with our daughter on this and i literally had no idea where to start! thanks for the info!!

  8. Do you have any tips on helping children learn their Bible Memory Verses for the week? I would love any help. My youngest is struggling. Thank you!!!! :)

  9. My comment is posted on your blog! I feel so famous! :-)

  10. I was an aide in a first grade classroom and we did many of these suggestions. We had letter stampers that they could spell the words out on play doh. We did magnetic letters, sight word bingo, sight word Jenga (this was VERY popular), and sight word Uno. With Uno we put the sight words on all the number cards and they couldn't play their card until they said the word on the card. You have a lot of great options to work with!!

  11. What a great list! I hope you ask one day about help with multiplication facts, I would LOVE to read that list and see what your followers recommend for memorizing those!

  12. My son too is struggling with sight words. THANK YOU!

  13. Love these! We tape the trouble words up by the door and put a "power button" beside the word. Before he exits the house he has to punch in the "secret code". Only then can he exit. He chooses the order because it is a "secret code." And my boy smiles every time!!

  14. Great ideas! We tape our little boy's trouble words by the door with"power buttons" beside the them. To exit the house, our little boy has to push the buttons and say the "secret passcode" before exiting the house... Our little guy smiles every time... :).

  15. Great post Andrea! This is an awesome reference for ideas!


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