Sight Words:
Word Way, Too!









The Wonder of Words!


Selected Sight Word Activities
For Practice at School or at Home


Word Books

Each student can keep a word book at his or her desk. Folded and stapled construction or white paper, pencils, and crayons are all that is required. Students can write their names on the covers and decorate their books. As students encounter high-frequency words, they will add them to their books. They may use the books as a reference when reading new texts.


More Word Books

After you give the students a high-frequency word recognition test, provide them with tiny word books that contain 10-12 new words (See example). As soon as they feel that they have mastered the list, the teacher or parent does a quick check, records their progress and gives them a new book.             


These are available on my Words of the Week page.


Word Detective

Invite students to be high-frequency word detectives. They can locate assigned words in the classroom or school environment and in print materials they encounter in their daily lives.


Timed Reading

Have students pair up. One reads a high-frequency word books while the other times the reader. Have students perform timed reading every day for one week, and you will see their reading rate and fluency improve.                    


Word Games

Almost any simple game can be slightly modified to accommodate high-frequency word instruction. Bingo is a consistent favorite. Create cards with high-frequency words on the bingo grid and call out the words. Monitor students to ensure that they recognize the high-frequency words and place chips on them when appropriate. Other simple games that can help teach words include common favorites like tic-tac-toe, Boggle, Scrabble for Juniors, and Hangman.   


Make & Break

Use plastic letters to make and break high-frequency words. Distribute the appropriate letters to all students in the group. Write the high-frequency word on the board and have students use it as a model to make the word with their plastic letters. Have students read the word. Then, erase the word from the board. Have students scramble their plastic letters and try to build the word again. Speak the word as they do so, separating it into phonemes if necessary. Have students read the word they have made to check that it is correct.

c   a   t     

f  r  o m        

       g  o


Louder & Louder

Have students begin reading the words on the word wall in a whisper. As they go along, have them gradually increase the volume until they are shouting the last word.



Divide students into two teams, each standing on one side of the word wall. Give the first student in each team a flyswatter. Read a word from the word wall. The first team to swat the word gets a point. The swatter then passes the flyswatter to the next team member.


Go Fish! 

Duplicate a set of high-frequency word cards that have been formatted for this game. Each student receives 7 cards and then follows the standard playing rules for Go Fish. The goal is to have matched pairs. (Example: Player #1: “Do you have from?”. If player #2 does not have the requested card, player #1 must draw a card and play continues.  



Create two of each high-frequency word cards. Lay the cards face down on the floor or table. Students take turns trying to match identical words. The student with the most pairs wins.  



Use sidewalk chalk and your playground hopscotch grid to create this quick and easy game. Write a high-frequency focus word in each square. Students must be able to read a word before hopping or jumping into each square.



Make a set of dominoes on colored vellum that have a high-frequency word on each end. Play according to regular domino rules.


I Have, Who Has?

Make a class set of cards for this game to practice sight words: “I have the, who has from?" Play can begin with any player and continues until each player has correctly read their card. This game facilitates the growth of automaticity and fluency.







Power Writing

Use dry erase boards or magic slates. Write the word over and over until it is learned, erasing each time. This is a writing task, not a copying task. If the child is using paper and pencil, fold the paper over each time or use another paper or card to cover the previous word. If the child needs a model to start with, provide it. Then cover it and allow the child to peek if necessary. Then remove it altogether. Encourage the children to make sure the words are in their heads.


Flexible Practice

Taking high frequency words to fluency:

Write several times on the practice page    

Rainbow writing

Magnetic letters                                           
Write on the white board

Write in the air, on the carpet                  

Write on a Magna Doodle

Write on a chalkboard

Write words with a wet sponge or brushes on a chalkboard


Word Banks

Write problem words on 3 x 5 cards. Students use the word in a sentence on the other (or dictate a sentence to you), underline the high-frequency word, and illustrate. These cards may be used for flash card activities. If a child cannot remember the word, they flip it over and reread their sentences (context clues) and look at the picture (visualization) as keys to the word. It’s important to use the word in context as a memory tool. Keep the cards on rings or in a “brainabulary” box.

Read & Respond!

Provide a guided reading creative response that requires the children to write the word in a meaningful context. Give the children a sentence starter to copy and complete. For example:

I like the part when                            .  (reinforcing the words like and when)

 My best character was                        .  (reinforcing the words my and was)       

Make sure the children copy the sentence starter, because in this way they are practicing the high-frequency word.


Find And Frame?

After a child reads a passage or story in a guided reading lesson, ask him/her to frame one or two high frequency words. This may also be done after a shared reading of a big book or shared writing lesson. This facilitates word recognition in a whole class setting.


Word Wall

Read the word wall quickly. Read it backwards from z to a. (All go at the same speed to develop fluency and increased rate.)

    Pick one letter list. Read it fast. Read it faster. Read it faster.

   Timed by whole group

What's My Rule? or Guess the Rule: 4 clues, 4 guesses

Teacher or student gives a word clue (i.e., I'm thinking of a word that starts with b) from the word wall. Students write their first guess on their individual white boards. Provide a second clue (It's a noun.) Students write their second guess. Continue with clues/guesses (examples: It ends with a silent e. It has two syllables. It rhymes with, etc.). By the fourth clue, everyone should have the correct word. You will need to model this activity.


More Word Wall


   I'm Thinking of a Word

This is a good activity for developing scanning skills. However, be sure to build in success for all. You need to have many words on the word wall for it to be effective.

I'm thinking of a word. It rhymes with, means the same thing as, is the opposite of, we use this word when, etc. When you know it, raise your hand. Kids can provide the clues later.


ABC Order

Use a set of flash cards for this activity. Each child gets four or five cards to put in ABC order on the floor in front of them. They check with a partner, combine cards and put in ABC order. Add another pair, etc.


Making Sentences 

This is a good activity to use once a week for the whole class or in a small reading/skills group to review words of the week. Start by giving each student 2 cards face down. Each child thinks of a sentence that uses those two words. When a student recites his/her sentence, ask the class, "Can we guess what the two words are?" Students may look at the word wall for help. Gradually move up to more words.


Magnetic Magic

Use plastic letters. Make the word, read the word, and break the word. Later, encourage them to make the word, read the word, cover the word, write the word, check the word, read the word. (Children may peek at the word if necessary while they are learning to write it correctly.)


Daily news

Encourage the children to spell the high-frequency words for you to write in the Daily News story or your specific writing demonstration. Have children come and write the high-frequency words directly into the news story for you.


Compound Crunch

Duplicate the compound crunch cards and playing mats. Cut out, mount on vellum and 3 x 5 cards and laminate for durability. This can be played in a number of ways: Go Fish with the cards (to match matched sets) or like Concentration with the mats and the word cards.

    dog  + house =




Have children go through the poem of the week, worksheets, math homework, etc. and highlight the sight words of the week. During a parent education inservice that focuses on the need to practice with flash cards, this strategy “highlights” the frequency of sight words in daily print that children are exposed to.


Word Checkers

Make a checker board with a high-frequency word in each square. Set up the board with red and black checkers and play according to checkers rules. The exception to the rule? Students must be able to read each word correctly before they can move to the corresponding square!


Beyond Word Banks

Once words are taken from a meaningful context and are displayed on a chart, word bank cards can be made. Individual, paired or small group interactive learning games may include:

Match cards whose word begins with the same letter or syllable.

Match cards whose word ends with the same letter or syllable.

Match cards whose word is the same.

Match cards whose words rhyme.

Arrange cards according to alphabetical order.

Arrange cards according to the number of syllables in each word.

Make up sentences using the words on the cards.

Make up a story using all the words on the cards.

Find synonyms, antonyms or homonyms.

Find cards whose words have the same root or base word.

Find cards whose words have prefixes or suffixes.

Find cards with compound or derived words.

Arrange cards by the stress on the words.

Make up a story or poem using all or most of the words on the cards.


Bean Bag Toss

Materials: One shower curtain liner divided into 20 boxes with a permanent marker

Bean Bags

Words on large cards

Attach the words to the shower curtain with tape or rubber cement before the game is being played. Put the small numbers on the corner of the cards. Divide the class into 2 teams. Each team will take turns throwing the bean bag to a square. If the student can read the word the bean bag lands on, the team gets the number of points on the card. If the student misses the word, the other team gets the chance to say it. The team with the most points wins the game.


Around the World

Materials: Word Cards

All the students sit in a circle. (Or the students can remain at their desks.) One student stands behind one student who is sitting. The teacher flashes them a sight word. Whoever says it first moves on to the next student. The student that makes it back to their own desk or starting point is the winner. This is a pretty popular game, but the little ones love to try to stop someone who is making it "Around the World"!


Tic Tac Toe

Materials: Chalkboard with the tic tac toe board drawn on it

Word Cards

Divide the class into X’s and O’s teams. Write words in the tic tac toe spaces. Take turns having a member of the team come up and selecting a space to read. If he is correct, they may put an X or O for their team. If they are incorrect, the other team gets to send a player to the board to try the same word. You can keep score if you want. You can already have these boards made up on overhead transparencies to save time and keep the game moving if you are using a variety of words, like the sight word list.

*You can also give everyone a blank copy of the tic tac toe board, and put the list of words on the board. Have them place the words where they want in their board. As you call the words out, you will have to say if it is an X word or an O. The first one to tic tac toe is the winner.



Materials: Blank  "Wordo " cards with 9, 16, or 25 blocks.

Copy of words being studied

Have students fill in the card with the words that you are working on. Tell them that each card will be different and to try to mix up the words they are using. Playing the game is just like BINGO. Call out the words and have the students spell it out loud with you and then mark their spaces. This will give those who are unsure of the word some extra help. The first one with a row covered calls out the word "WORDO"! Let the winner be the one who calls out the words the next time.



Materials: Sight words of 4 levels. Make them on different colored cards and have the type of hit that each represents on each color posted somewhere that everyone can see it clearly.

Places in the room marked as 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and home plate.

Divide the students into 2 teams and let them name themselves. Designate one team as home, and the other as visitors. Mix up the cards. One child goes to the home plate. Draw out a card. Match the color to the type of hit they are trying for. If the student can read the card correctly, they may move according to the type of hit. (A single –move 1 base, a double - move 2 bases, a triple-move 3 bases, and a homerun-go all the way to home plate.) Make sure that you have some strike out cards in the word cards also. If the student is unable to read the word, it is considered an out. After 3 outs, the next team gets to "Bat". Keep the score so that everyone can see.


Erase Relay

Materials: Word lists on the chalkboard

Write on the chalkboard two columns of words that are approximately equal in difficulty. Write as many words on the board as there are children in the relay. Children are divided into 2 teams, and stand in two lines at right angles to the chalkboard. At the signal, the first child in each line points at the first word in his respective column of words and pronounces that word. If his pronounces it correctly, he is allowed to erase that word. The game is won by the side that erases all the words first.


Team Sight Word Race

Materials: A group size set of sight words

The children are divided into 2 teams. Each team takes a turn attempting to pronounce a word turned up from a pile of sight words. If one team misses, the opposite team then receives a chance to pronounce that word in addition to their regular turn. Score is kept on the number of words each team pronounces correctly. Do not have members sit down when they miss a word, but have each team member go to the back of the line after each try whether successful or not. This enables all members to gain equal practice and does not eliminate those people who need practice most.


The Head Chair

Materials: Group size cards

Mark one chair in the circle as the "Head Chair." Play begins when you flash a card to the person in the "Head Chair." A child can stay in his chair only until he misses a word. When he misses a word, he goes to the end chair and all the children will move up one chair. The object of the game is to try to end up in the "Head Chair."


Which Word Wins?

Materials: newspaper, highlighter, word list

Sit with your child and look at a newspaper to see just how often sight words pop up in print. Ask your child to choose a sight word from the list and an article from the newspaper. Look for the word together. Highlight and count the word each time it appears. Try the same thing with a second sight word. Which word appears more often?


Sing a Song of

Sight Words

Practice sight words by singing them to a familiar tune or making up your own. If you run out of words before you get to the end of the song, just start at the top of the list again. Some songs to try include “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”


Jump On It!

Copy sight words on index cards (one word per card). Make a second set of the same words. Scatter one set face up on the floor, leaving about a foot between each card. Place the other set in a stack facedown. Turn over the first card in the stack. Have your child read the word (offer help as needed) and then jump on the corresponding card on the floor. Turn over the next card and have your child read it and jump to that word. Continue until your child has jumped on all of the words. Mix up the cards and play again!


In the Cupboard

Open a cupboard or closet and take turns with your child, finding and reading sight words. Try the ones on the list first, then include other sight words your child is learning. Keep going until you run out words, time, or things in the cupboard.


Rainbow Letters

Turn sight words into rainbows! Ask your child to write a sight word on paper in big letters. Using different-colored crayons, your child can then trace around the word again and again, reading the word each time.



Read My Back!

“Write” a sight word on your child’s back. Can your child guess the word? Trade places—let your child trace a word from the list on your back. Continue taking turns tracing and guessing sight words.


On the Run

The next time you’re going somewhere with your child, play a sight word game. It’s easy—just have your child find as many sight words as he or she can on billboards, signs, and so on. If you don’t have a sight word list with you, invite your child to read the “little” words. You can play this game in a car, on a walk, even in line at the grocery store!



Choose a picture book to read aloud.

Tell children that whenever they hear the word Beep! it means you’ve left out a word. They need to guess what the word is.

Read the story a second time, this time letting children chime in on as many sight words as they know.    


Recommended Reading And Resources

Bear, Donald, et al, Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Cunningham, Patricia and Hall, Dottie. 4 Blocks Literacy Framework

Fox, Barbara (2003). Word Recognition Activities: Patterns and Strategies for Developing Fluency. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Frye, Edward, 1000 Instant Words, Laguna Beach Educational Books.

Throop, Sara (1999) Success with Sight Words: Multisensory Ways to Teach High Frequency Words, Creative Teaching Press.

Young, Sue (1994). The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary. New York: Scholastic.



Learning High Frequency Words

This eleven page booklet covers a variety of topics:

Why Learn High Frequency Word?

Definition of High Frequency Words

Sight Words and Context Clues

The Importance of Sight Words to Independent Reading

Instructional Implications for Teaching High Frequency Words

Beyond the Word Bank


Activities to Reinforce and Teach Sight Words
(Click on above link for reproducible task card size)

This colorful task card collection includes: Bean Bag toss, Around the World, Tic Tac Toe, Wordo, Baseball, Erase Relay, Team Sight Word Race, The Head Chair, Which Word Wins?, Sing a Song of Sight Words, Jump On It!, In the Cupboard, Rainbow Letters, Read My Back, On the Run, Bingo and Beep!


Ways to Classify and Sort Words

There are many ways to sort and classify words on a word wall, in a literacy center, or in a whole or small group lesson:


Words that start the same (beginning blend, consonant cluster or onset)


Words that end the same (rime)


Words that rhyme


Words that contain the same number of syllables (1, 2, or 3)


Words that are the same part of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.)


Words with prefixes, suffixes


Long words, short words


Words I know, words I think I know and words I don't know at all


Words with long or short vowels


Words with schwa sound


Synonyms, antonyms


Compound words


Instant Word Test

This word test has been adapted from How to Teach Reading by Dr. Ed Fry. This is a valuable book for teachers, parents, and tutors! It's full of suggestions for the beginner and the expert. I've used it for years and a copy sits on my desk for handy reference for teachers and parents.

Instant Word Test

Instant Word Practice Sheets

HFW Word Cards for Instant Word Test



Go Fish for Sight Words

Here are cards for playing Sight Word Go Fish. I've put 36 words in each set. I would suggest running them off on colored card stock or vellum. Use a different color for each set. Put matching stickers on the back of the cards (using different stickers for each set) to keep the sets apart. Please note that other sets are available on the Dolch Words page on this site.

Go Fish Set 1

Go Fish Set 2


My Little Book of Words for Special Spelling

This is a handy little reference book that is meant to support early and emergent readers and writers. Each page contains a special group of words that children use frequently in their writing (family, sports, holidays, etc.). I would suggest laminating the cover and then binding the book at the top. You may want to make enough copies for a small group or to place in your writing center. I plan to add other pages in the near future (vegetables, measurement, math, toys, etc.)







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