This post may contain affiliate links. You may feel free to use them or not use them. It costs you no extra, but I make a small commission. (Please see my/our full disclosure for further information.)
Reading drills and repetitive practice exercises are no fun for kids. Sadly however many of our students with special needs or struggling readers do drills constantly. They probably do these most when it comes to learning sight words. However, there are more fun ways to practice sight words that will get your students more engaged and help them learn! These are three of my favorite sight word games!
No one likes drills.
Well, some people like drills, but generally not teachers. Doing drills over and over again gets repetitive and boring for us. Teachers tend to be more creative people, which is why I think it’s important to always have some sight word games in your back pocket.
Games are a great way to learn. Any teacher worth their salt knows that games improve participation as well as a host of social-emotional skills.
So when you play academic games, like ones about sight words, you improve student participation with the material, and help them learn better!
So what might look like playing, is actually some very strategic learning, which is the best kind!
Before we dive into games to play though, let’s do a quick review of sight words.
Do you want freebies?
If you are a special education teacher or a one-on-one service provider make sure to join my email list! You get access to my free resource library, which includes a checklist of reading skills! It can help you observe your students as they read, and note what they do well and what they don’t! That way you can choose to target specific areas!
What are Sight Words?
Sight words are words that are commonly found in reading that children are expected to know and recognize right away without needing to use decoding skills.
Each grade level has different sight words associated with them.
It’s very important that students learn their sight words as immediately recognizing these words is a part of a strand on the Scarborough Reading Rope.
To learn more about the Scarborough Reading Rope, click here!
There are lots of ways to practice them, such as flashcards, spelling drills, and more. I’ve even seen some rubber wrist bands for students to wear in class so they can practice their sight words during their downtime.
However, because this skill is so vital to reading and reading comprehension, many teachers tend to focus on drilling these words over and over, when there are more fun ways to learn them.
Keep reading to learn my three favorite sight word games!
Sight Word Toss
This one is a great one to play and a favorite of my younger kiddos. Chances are you already have all the tools you’ll need on hand.
- Cupcake/Muffin Tin
- Paper cupcake sleeves
- Small candy or fruit you can throw
- I normally use M&Ms or grapes
To start with, write your sight words on the bottom of the cupcake sleeves and place them in the muffin tin.
You and your student can take turns throwing the motivating food item of your choice. If you get it in the tin and can read the word inside, you may eat the food.
I like to sometimes mess up and struggle to let my student help me. It makes it more fun that way.
It’s no secret that I love puzzles, crosswords, and word searches! Wordsearches in particular are great for working on spelling and visual scanning skills.
Often students with disabilities need extra work on their visual scanning skills, and if you combine them with sight words, you get to kill two birds with one stone!
The one challenge to this is that making your own word searches can be time-consuming, which is why I have a bundle of grade-appropriate word searches available for purchase at a discounted price.
Click here to buy and save hours of your time!
I had my students start playing hangman again over Zoom during the pandemic. It was a dark time, but at least we had a good time working on reading and spelling.
Hangman is great for working on spelling sight words. So you can play a special edition of Sight Word Hangman, where kids and teachers can only pick sight words as the secret letter.
It’s a great chance to teach your students about the irregular spelling patterns often found in sight words, as well as which letters are most commonly used in English, how all words need vowels and making logical choices in their selection.
When you think about how many skills you can work on with that one game, it’s almost irresponsible not to play it!
Games are an effective way to teach academic concepts, as well as life skills. That is why I make sure all my students spend at least part of their session time playing games.
I hope these sight word games make your instruction time more fun and effective! Make sure to follow me on Instagram and send me a DM. I want to know which one was your favorite!