Each new teaching year challenges me to find new and interactive ways to work with sight words in my classroom.
I like to keep my literacy centers fresh and engaging so that students are excited to try each new activity!
I’m sharing lots of ideas from my classroom here, and I’ve included some free samples at the end of this post. : )
Sight Word Crowing Caterpillars
Our sight words caterpillar starts with a smiley head underneath our white board, and grows each day with a new word – usually fiver each week. Students practice while they are waiting for lessons to start, or if they have finished work early.
I also send a caterpillar home with students at the start of the year so that they can put it up in their own bedrooms! So many parents tell me later that their children fall asleep reading the words on the caterpillar that stretches all across their bedrooms. What more can a teacher ask for?
Interactive Word Building
We also build our weekly sight words with everything we can get our hands on.
Stencils, clay, beans, buttons – you name it! It’s excellent fine motor practice.
TIP: If students are using beans or buttons, ask them to record the word they make, and also to count how many beans or buttons it took to make it! They could also record how many of each color they use for some good counting practice.
When I first began teaching at an inner-city school, we did not have any math supplies or budget to buy them. So we made do with what we could find, and came up with some great ideas. For example, we discovered that a box of pasta could make both upper and lower case letters! Another way to practice fine motor development and printing at the same time.
Whole Class Word Study
This one is HUGE. We spend a lot of time going through our sight words lists together. If you haven’t tried finding smaller words within bigger words as a class discussion, I highly recommend it!
Many sight words can be found within other words, and doing this for a few days in a row will train students to look for “hidden” words everywhere! Best of all, it’s successful for all students, since words like “a” and “I” can be found in so many words and celebrated just as much as longer words.
Add a math component by tallying how many small words are found in two competing list.
What’s In The Writing Center?
Here are some examples of ideas we have used this past year to keep things fun and interesting:
Click on any of the pictures below to see more details.
1. Printing Sight Words
We incorporate sight words into our daily printing workbooks. This way, we can practice spelling and reading them, but also using them in a sentence and self-editing the sentence. These pages are packed with practice, and I differentiate by using a simple alphabet version with my students who are still working on letter sounds. I use yet another version for my highest learners that practices words with blends and digraphs. In this way, printing time is very well used. The tasks are rigorous and meeting the needs of every student.
2. Wearing Sight Words
Everyone loves to wear their sight words! This makes great practice at home and at school – students wear their words home and practice with parents!
3. Sight Word Sentence Building
This is a favorite for those students who just love to cut, glue and build.
4. Hunt For Sight Words
Path words is for visual discrimination as students follow and color a path for five different sight words.
5. Trace, Build and Print Sight Words
6. Sight Word Mini-Booklets
7. Slide & Read Sight Words
8. Decoding Sight Words
9. Sight Word Searches
10. Sight Word Board Games
11. Sight Word Flash Cards & Word Wall
Many of the above sets are available in a Sight Word Bundle below.
Sight Words In Simple Sentences
Another way to practice sight words is within simple sentences.
We do this in two different ways.
- We practice expanding sentences for each sight word. I laminate these cards and put them on practice rings, or make individual sets for students to flip through when they have time to practice.
2. I want students to do some writing. I copy these little booklets as printables for students to write a sentence for each word. I also send these home with parents at the first report card conference so I know students will have guided home practice.
You will also receive a downloadable list of 18 easy sight word activities you can start using in your class right away! The whole list is located in the downloadable preview for the set above – just click the picture and then click the “preview” button on the TPT page.
If you’d like to try a few of the printables seen above with your class, you can download a free board game, mini-book, and printables from the Sight Word Bundle!
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