Adding sight words to hopscotch stretches your child's body and her mind.

Sight Word Activities for Kids

by Shellie Braeuner

Sight words are your child’s gateway to reading. These little words are frequently used and don't always follow normal phonetic rules. This makes them difficult if not impossible to sound out. Children must simply learn to recognize the letters and memorize the word. The Dolch sight words splits 220 of the most common sight words into lists for preschool through third grade. Helping your child memorize these words will give her a boost in both reading and spelling.

1. Sight Word Fishing

After cutting simple 4- to 6-inch fish shapes out of cardboard, write a sight word on one side of each fish. Slip a paper clip over the spot where the fish’s mouth would be, then place the fish word-side down on the table or floor. At the end of a string, tie a round magnet with a center hole, if available. If not, use any magnet that will stay on the end of the string. Give the child the magnet tied to the end of the string. Ask him to “cast” his magnet into the pool of fish. Whichever fish latches onto his magnet he draws in. He must read the word on the fish to keep his catch, otherwise it “gets away.” The game ends when he has all the fish. Two players can compete for the most fish caught.

2. Sight Word Sidewalk

Write a series of sight words on a sidewalk, driveway or blacktop area in sidewalk chalk. As you call out the word, your child looks around at the words at her feet. She chooses the correct word and runs over to stand on it. If she has trouble, ask her to listen to the first sound and use that to help her choose the correct word. As she becomes more adept at the word list, try adding them to hopscotch. Write a word in each square. As she hops to each square, she has to read the word.

3. Sight Word Concentration

Write two copies of each of the sight words from your list on index cards. Lay the cards face down on the table. Go first to show your child how to play. Turn over two random cards and read the sight word. If the cards match, you get to keep the pair and take another turn. If they don’t, turn the cards back over and try to remember where they are. Alternate turns with your child, starting with six to eight words. This gives your littlest player a chance to remember. As your child becomes more adept at both reading and remembering, add words until you can play with the entire list.

4. Writing Sight Words

Give your child the chance to feel sight words by letting him write them in different substances such as finger paint, shaving cream or flour. Finger paint has its own paper. Spread shaving cream and flour into a jelly roll pan. This is basically a cookie sheet with a half-inch side all the way around. Say the word and let the child remember how to spell it before asking her to write the word in the substance. Smooth out the paint, flour or cream between words.

About the Author

Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.

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