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Sight Word Practice Activities

by Sara Ipatenco

Sight words are words that appear frequently in texts that new readers use. Teaching sight words will help emerging readers improve their word recognition and build their knowledge of commonly used words. Of course, flashcards are one way to practice sight words, but they are far from the only resource available. Incorporate a variety of practice activities into literacy instruction to keep young children engaged and interested in learning to read.

Make sight words visible. Hang them on a classroom wall or hang them on the refrigerator so your child can see them several times during the day. You might also punch holes in index cards and write one sight word on each card. Tie the word cards together with a piece of yarn and encourage your child to flip through reading each word out loud.

Choose one sight word to be the word of the day. Write the word on a card and keep it with you throughout the day. Several times, take the card out and ask the children to read it again. This repeated exposure will familiarize them with the word, but it will also give them plenty of time to sound it out and practice reading it out loud.

Give children selections of text from newspapers or picture books. Make copies of the selections so students are able to write on them. Challenge the children to go through the text and circle as many sight words as they can find.

Practice writing sight words. Give children lined paper and pencils and call out one sight word at a time. Ask the children to write the word on their paper. If necessary, spell the words together to help children remember what order the letters go in. Use dry erase boards and dry erase markers as an alternative to the traditional paper and pencil.

Walk around the school looking for sight words in other classrooms, in the lunch room and on items hanging in the hallways. Ask students to raise their hand when they see a sight word and then invite one student to read the word out loud to everyone else.

Create word searches using sight words. Hand write the word search or use a word processing program to make one. Give the word searches to each student and ask them to find and circle as many sight words as they can. This builds sight word recognition and helps children quickly identify specific words that are surrounded by other text.

Items you will need
  • Index cards
  • Marker
  • Yarn
  • Copies of pages from age-appropriate magazines or books
  • Pencils
  • Lined paper
  • Dry erase boards
  • Dry erase markers
  • Word searches

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images