There’s a lot of talk in the early elementary years about the importance of children learning their sight words.
But what exactly are sight words?
In truth, we use the term “sight words” to refer to two different types of words we want kids to learn to read.
First are words used so frequently in our language that we want kids to know them “by sight” so they will be able to read more fluently. Many of these words – like ‘and,’ ‘it,’ ‘his,’ ‘be,’ and ‘she’ – can be sounded out, but will be read more quickly if a child knows them by sight.
Second are words that are difficult to decode phonetically – words like ‘come,’ ‘have,’ ‘the,’ ‘been,’ and ‘know.’ Because these words are not easily decoded using the rules of English, children need to learn to read them by sight alone.
But how do we teach sight words?
Below I’ve compiled some creative sight word activities you can try to help your children learn their sight words.
Note: You can find more ideas for supporting children’s early reading skills on my literacy activities for kids page.
Wondering what sight words you should teach?
Many educators use the Dolch Sight Words as a reference list. The Dolch Sight Words list were developed in the 1930s and ’40s by Dr. Edward Dolch. The words on his list comprise 80% of the words you will find in a typical children’s book and about 50% of the words used in writing for adults.
The Dolch words are divided by grade level, so you can find the words appropriate for your child to learn at each age.
The Fry Sight Words is a more updated list, updated in the 1980s, to capture the 1000 most common words. These 1000 words make up about 90% of the words children will encounter in a typical book, website, or newspaper.
Color words drive up from Days With Grey
Sight word ABCs with blocks from Simple Fun for Kids
Sight word pumpkin patch sensory bin from Simple Fun for Kids
Popcorn sight word games from The Preschool Toolbox
Sight word activity mats from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Shark sight words from Growing Book by Book
Color the sight word from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Sight word stamps from ABCs of Literacy
Sight word tic-tac-toe from Gift of Curiosity
Sight word fun with glass gems from The Educator’s Spin On It
Basketball sight word practice from Growing Book by Book
Drive to the sight word from There’s Just One Mommy
Sight word coloring pages from Rock Your Homeschool
Sight word ball toss activity from Gift of Curiosity
Word toss game from Learn with Play at Home
Sight word secret code puzzles from ABCs of Literacy
Gross motor sight words game from Learn with Play at Home
Nerf gun sight word shoot from There’s Just One Mommy
Sight words memory game from Rock Your Homeschool
Sight word magic from Gift of Curiosity