Inside: A quick and easy learning activity “Sight Word Find” – absolutely the best way for kids to work on sight
How do we make learning sight words fun?
Before I even launch into this activity or the prep / how-to, I need to make something really clear: memorizing sight words is NOT reading and it is NOT how kids learn to read. Learning sight words is a very SMALL part of reading.
And while memorizing ANYTHING can be tedious and boring, we can spice it up with Sight Word Find.
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Learning sight words is NOT the same as reading.
When a child is reading, they are doing a complex skill involving the identification of sounds, blending those sounds, and using them to build words.
Now, when a child is learning sight words, they’re actually doing a really basic skill: memorizing. No different than when they learned letters or numbers.
Here’s a symbol – or with these words, a group of symbols – and this is what you say when you see it.
A says Aaaaaa.
/s/ /a/ /i/ /d/ says said.
Please just remember that there is a HUGE difference between the complexity of actual reading and learning sight words.
First, let your child to learn A LOT about reading.
Then, introduce sight words to fill the gaps and give them words they can’t sound out.
True sight words are words like the, said, come, want, was, and could.
No matter how much decoding knowledge a child has, you can’t sound these words out. But you sure do need them to make reading work.
These are the kinds of words we need to help our children memorize to help them unlock reading.
But remember, we don’t need or want our children memorizing every word. They need to have solid decoding skills to go along with these sight words.
Here’s how to make this sight word find activity…
I based this activity off a classic from Days with Grey – hers is a name find.
For this version, I’m having my 6-year-old sight word find.
This gives him a chance to learn about sight words and practice them with his WHOLE BODY rather than asking him to memorize them off of flashcards.
When he has a chance to hunt and search for words like this, he has a chance to make the learning stick that much more.
The Materials List for sight word find activity:
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- Butcher paper (this is what I use)
- Painter’s tape
I picked 7 sight words for my son to find. I wrote them in various colors, in various directions, and using capital and lowercase letters.
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Let the fun begin!
I called out a word and how to mark it: “Find the word SAID and circle it. Every time you circle it, say the word.”
We did this on repeat for all seven sight words and can you even imagine how much better and more effective this method is for learning sight words than flash cards.
He’s repeating the word.
He’s visually discriminating the word from other word.
This is the kind of whole body learning we want for our children.
Sight words are great – but we need to do them right
Asking our children to memorize hundred of words, calling them sight words and then call that ready – this is not what our children need or deserve.
They deserve to learn the complex skill of reading, not a memorized half version of it.
When our children are older and reading difficult texts, trust me: the kids who actually learned to read will shine. The kids who learned to memorize will struggle.
For the words that they must learn as sight words, activities like this sight word find are the best we can offer. Fun, engaging, and memorable.
When will you make a sight word find activity?