“Mum, my name is a sight word,” says Mr M. My mind is foggy most days (sleep deprivation and multi-tasking does that to you apparently). I had no idea what he was on about – “Huh???”. Then I heard myself in his reply, “If you sound it out it doesn’t make sense”. Term 3 of Kindergarten Reading. Well done, son. Well done.
Sight words, or irregular words, are words that can’t be read by applying the letter-sound correspondence knowledge that kids learn in reading programs. E.g. “was” is irregular because the typical sounds for “a” and “s” do not apply. (By the way, words that are irregular at one point in the year may not be irregular later on in the year because children may be taught to associate other sounds for letters/letter combinations later on in the year).
Sight words are basically words that children need to learn to recognise on sight.
My default method for teaching sight words is to look, cover, write, check, and use the word in a sentence. Practise, practise, practise.
However, for various reasons, there may be times when children aren’t quite up to the task of writing yet. E.g. they are just learning how to write so the task of writing and learning the actual sight word is a double whammy for them.
Here are some other (more creative) ways to learn sight words that don’t involve writing.
Sight Word Alphabet Threading
I have a set of these in my classroom and at home. There are commercial sets with sight word cards, beads and pipe cleaners ready to go. However, I have seen people create their own beads by writing letters on beads.
Sight Word Pebbles
So easy and fun. All you need is a bunch of pebbles, a sharpie, some index cards and something to store it all in. Children have to find the pebble with a given sight word.
I have just created this to use with the Kindergarten classes at my school. To make this giant keyboard, you’ll need a plastic table cloth or plastic shower curtain and a sharpie. Tape the giant keyboard down to your classroom floor and have kids spell a given sight word using their feet.
Need More Sight Word Activities?
Practise, practise, practise is the key with sight words. After more sight word activities? Check out these playful ideas from my blogging buddies.
- Fridge Sight Words via Octavia and Vicky
- Sight Word Sensory Bag via Childhood 101
- Sight Words through Office Play via My Little Bookcase
- 25+ Multi-sensory Activities for Learning Words via Suzie’s Home Education Ideas
- Word Toss Gross Motor Game for Learning Sight Words via Learn with Play at Home
- Sight Word Pop Sticks and Sight Word Swat via You Clever Monkey
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