Sight Words Activities

This post has proven to be one of the most popular on the blog. Thinking about this and reflecting on my own experience with my first child and sight words, I have created a downloadable pack of Sight Word Activities and Games. The pack includes a comprehensive list of 125 words, broken down into 10 small focus lists.

When I was first introduced to sight words, I didn’t really fully understand the role they played in helping kids to read. I was wary of rote learning and wasn’t sure how helpful learning all these words would be. But now having supported the reading process with 3 of my kids, I see that combined with phonics and other literacy strategies, learning sight words is an integral part of the reading journey.

The Sight Word Activities and Games Pack will help make the process of learning these high frequency words more fun and meaningful and can be downloaded for only $4.95 ( 10 word lists with four activities each).

Sight Words Activities

To see more info on the pack and what it includes click here.

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Last week I wrote about some beginner phonic activities that I have been playing with our 5 year old. As I mentioned there, the school that Possum attends uses a combination of phonic and whole of language approach to approach to literacy. (If you are not familiar with these terms Succeed To Read gives a succinct explanation of both.)

A key part of the whole of language approach is the use of sight words and more specifically in our case the system that the school uses is the Magic 100 Words.

The Magic Words playing cards and literacy resources are designed to teach the 200 most frequently used words in English which make up, on average, two-thirds of all the words used in reading and writing.

This is not a new concept and similar lists are known as sight words, Dolch Word List etc. K – 3 Teacher Resources has two PDFs for free down load:

  • Fry’s list of 300 ‘instant sight words’
  • Dolch Sight Word List – 220 words – there are 5 levels ranging from approximately kindergarten to Grade 3.

As illustrated in the photo above, the Magic 100 Words system breaks the list into colour groups. The photo shows the first group of words known as the Golden Words. These “12 Golden Words” account for on average, one quarter of all reading. The idea is that children learn these words by sight which helps them to maintain speed and fluency, so as to have greater comprehension of what they read.

Learning The Magic 100 Words

Magic 100  Words or Sight Words Activities
I have never been a massive fan of rote learning and with these style of sheets it is very easy for the kids to memorise the words as they are located on the sheets. The problem then being that they have no relevance beyond that A4 piece of paper.

To make this exercise more meaningful I have stuck the words onto cardboard and cut out individual cards for each word. I actually made these up a number of these for each colour word sheet when my 10 year old needed to learn them. They are now being used by our third child – hope they make through the next two as well :) .

We use these cards in a variety of ways to help Possum learn the words by sight:

  • Bingo – Select a word from the bag, say it and then match it up to the sheet, until all the words are covered.
  • Memory – Have two of each word, turn them face down on the floor and each player has to find a matching pair of words.
  • Writing Practice – Select a card, say it and write her own list.
  • Sentences – As illustrated above, use the word cards, combined with toys and household objects to make sentences to read.

If you have used these types of word lists before, I would be interested to hear what activities you also did with your children.

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12 comments...read them below or add one

  • Rana July 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    We have been doing a lot of these games too. One of our favorites is Word Bingo.

  • Katy July 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Thank you for the tips! I have needed some new activities for my just-about-5 year old, and he’ll love these!

    How and when the heck do you find time to sit down with Possum to do these activities without being distracted by your other childrens needs?

  • Sharon July 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    LOVE this post. We are doing the Magic 100 at school as well. I really like how you use them with the toys. That is a great idea. It brings these picture less words to life.

    My 3yr old has started doing the “Golden Words” since DD#1 progressed onto the “Red Words” She loves Word Bingo and after a week of doing it whenever she wants to (maybe once a day) she can already recognise which words are “Golden Words” in the books we read.

    I would also like to know how you get the homework in with and/or without disruptions? I have the 4 kids (3 are 3 and under) and do the nights by myself (DH is a afternoon/night shift worker) so things end up being chaotic at times…..or it seems that way anyway. I never seem to get that “quality” time in where Miss 6 isnt to tired. I hope that makes sense.

    Again another great blog post. Its great to have someone out there who has a prepie yet the knowledge of having been there already iykwim. Thanks.

  • Nicki July 24, 2009 at 1:16 am

    A variation on bingo that has been hugely popular in our house is fishing bingo. You use (or make) a magnetic fishing kit and then make your own fish to go in it. Each fish has a word printed on the back. Players fish for a word, read it and see if they have it on their chart. I have a 4yo an an 8yo and they can play this game together by having different levelled charts. If you catch a fish that isn’t on your chart it goes back into the sea!

  • Marita July 24, 2009 at 11:58 am

    We are up to the Green Words now, Annie’s teacher gives us the A4 sheet with the words and also a stack of word cards to play snap and pairing games with. It is really helpful.

    We had some trouble with ‘the’ and ‘that’ at the beginning and I blogged about it.
    http://leechbabe.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/golden-words/

    What worked for us was making one card ‘th’ then two other cards ‘at’ and ‘e’. We took the cards everywhere for quite a while and played matching games. That seemed to really help.

    I’m using a similar technique for ‘now’ and ‘new’ which is once again working well.

  • Melissa Taylor July 27, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Love these ideas, thanks!

  • Denise July 27, 2009 at 11:34 am

    If you want to learn sight words while playing a kid friendly board game you can try Er-u-di-tion. You can buy it online for about $25

  • PlanningQueen August 01, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    It was great to receive so many new ideas! Leechbabe has also reminded me that once they can recognise thw words, you can then get them to start writing them and spelling them.

  • PlanningQueen August 01, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    As for getting the time to these, it is not always perfect, but we have a few things that work, which I will write about shortly.

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