Sight words. While there is disagreement on what should make up that list and at what level, we know that they are important to helping our emergent readers gain confidence, fluency, and comprehension. When students know the sight words, their cognitive energy is freed to tackle more challenging words. And since many do not follow the ‘rules’ of the English language, decoding isn’t often an option. Multi-sensory approaches are important in this retention, but in the age of COVID, digital rules. To that end, the team at Education to the Core has compiled some of our best digital resources and games for sight words (#multisensoryincluded) – and once you see them, you’ll want to permanently add them to your rotation!
The digital version of our bingo dauber sight word mats includes 49 sight word bubble activities. (Word List: small, set, put, end, does, another, well, large, must, big, even, such, because, turn, here, why, asked, went, men, read, need, land, different, home, us, family, until, children, side, walked, car, miles, night, feet, white, sea, began, grow, took, river, four, carry, state, once, book, without, stop, second). Students have a target word and have to ‘pop’ each bubble with the target word using colored markers. As an added bonus, you can use the mats to practice other words on the mats!
But you don’t have to take our word for it: “I used this resource through distance learning with my K-1 struggling readers. Not only did it help them learn specific high-frequency words, but it also assisted in helping me keep track of what high-frequency words my students did and did not know which helped with IEP writing and progress tracking. This is a great tool to utilize in any K-2 classroom.” – Danielle J.
2. Beat the Teacher
One of my favorite digital resources and games for sight words is Beat the Teacher and what kid doesn’t love to beat their teacher at something?! This is easiest using a document camera, but you could also do it without. On a whiteboard, slowly write out one of the sight words you’re working on. Students try to guess what the word is prior to you finishing writing the word. If they get it before you are done writing, they earn a point for the class. If not, you get a point! (This is a fun game to play in a variety of content areas, not just for sight words).
This colorful and engaging resource contains 45 sight word mats (Word List: could, don’t, can’t, we, look, are, making, very, take, was, so, am, walk, by, with, his, where, was, get, come, got, playing, is, your, can, like, went, will, see, eat, go, play, love, have, at, going, ate, saw, need, you, make, my, in, want, help). Each mat has a focus word with multiple sentences in which students need to read the sentence, type in the sight word, then drag over the appropriate box to complete the sentence (there are picture clues!). Sentences are as simple as “I (will) ____.” and get as complex as, “I am playing (with) the _____.”
But you don’t have to take our word for it: “I teach middle school but bought this for my own child. He loved using this and requested to use it over and over. Very colorful and fun to use for him. Thank you!” – Mrs. Vuotto
There are a number of ways to play sight word bingo virtually, but we found this free bingo card generator. You simply type in your list of sight words, choose your card size, and they’ll get you a link for up to 30 different cards (for over 30 cards you will need to subscribe). You choose what words to read out and have the students find. I found that using a laminated list of the words worked well so I could check off the ones I used for each game, but you could just as easily create a Google doc with the words and check them off that way. The directions are here for how to play this virtually, or you can print the cards. You can also have students create their own bingo cards using a set of given words!
One of my favorite ways to bring some inclusion into the classroom – and practice sight words using a multi-sensory approach is to have the students use sign language to practice their sight words. This resource includes 50 digital sight word sign language cards, but once you’ve got the basics, you can loosely expand the practice to include any word (granted this would be without the visuals and the self-check). Words included are: over, new, sound, take, only, little, work, know, plane, years, live, me, back, give, most, very, after, things, our, just, name, good, sentence, man, think, say, great, where, help, through, much, before, line, right, too, means, old, any, same, tell, boy, follow, came, want, show, also, around, from, three, small).
But you don’t have to take our word for it: “I absolutely love this product! My students could practice sight words and learn sign language. It was especially helpful because I have DHH students in my class. Great way to build community.” – Eloise M.
“I love teaching my students sign language and this is perfect. The movement really helps solidify their sight words.” – Melanie N.
While you don’t have any say what sight words are used, this memory game starts with a 3×4 grid of cards, and students find six different matching pairs of sight words. When they find a match, the game reads the word aloud and puts the pair, face-up, at the bottom of the screen. The levels increase in difficulty.
Our Sight Word Passages are another two-for-one resource where you get both paper and digital copies of the product – offering you options and flexibility! These passages contain four focus sight words per passage, two multiple-choice questions, two fill-in-the-blank questions, and an answer key. There are 81 passages included in this set and they can be used in a number of different ways including small group instruction, intervention, literacy centers, fluency, word work, morning warm-up, and more! Since each word is in more than one passage, students get the benefits of repeated practice.
But you don’t have to take our word for it: “I love this resource for practicing sight words! Knowing them in context and reading them in a list are two different things. Thanks for providing a fun and engaging way to practice reading and writing sight words.” – Mary D.
8.Build It: Sight Words (Digital)
This is part of our larger Pattern Blocks 1:1 Centers for Individual Use bundle, in which you get paper and digital use of the contents. In the sight word set of slides, students can build 105 sight words, then count how many blocks they used to complete the task. Kids love building and using pattern blocks is a huge hit – just like this activity!
But you don’t have to take our word for it: “Students love pattern blocks, so this one was a big hit in my classroom! I love the ties to literacy with the phonics patterns and sight words and math with symmetry and sorting. And this was perfect for this year where everything needs to be individualized.” – Taylor P.
In my classroom in the spring, the chat box feature of Zoom was never an issue. And then, one of my students figured out how to use it and the floodgates opened. I ended up having to disable chat because of the nonsense messages distracting students from the task at hand. But what if we used this tool to our advantage? How could I use this currently annoying feature as a tool for digital resources and games for sight words? Well, my first graders loved a challenge, so we played a game to see who could quickly type in the word or number (or anything else!) I requested. It had to be quick, but it also had to be accurate (staving off those kids who just did it quickly and made mistakes for the sake of speed). Use this whole group or small group to practice sight words!
A paper resource in the digital resources and games for sight words post? Yep. Don’t worry. Let us explain. Yes, this resource is printable, intended for use with paper and pencil (or better yet, fun writing tools). But many of the activities in this bundle of 30 are easy to adapt to digital instruction – students can easily complete some of the activities on their own paper using the resource on screen. Plus, you’ll LOVE how easy this makes sight word practice when you are able to have them in person again.
11. Musical Sight Words
This is a modified version of musical chairs – with an individual flare! Kids simply need a piece of paper or whiteboard and marker. You play music while they walk around their own chair at home. When the music stops, they sit as quickly as they can, write the word ‘quick and pretty,’ (my way of saying do it quickly, but neatly!) and show it to the camera. Then, repeat! Getting the kids up and moving, including music, all while practicing sight words? Yes, please!
In keeping with the musical theme of #10, singing is ALWAYS a hit. Plus, singing helps kids remember, so… yep. It is worth making a fool of yourself (“I’m a teacher, not a musician,” comes out of my mouth more often than I care to admit!). There are so many sight word songs available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure, but we love these:
- For Review: Jack Hartmann Dolch Sight Word Review
- For Introduction: Jack Hartmann New Sight Words 1 (more versions also available)
- By Guided Reading Level: Jan Richardson Sight Words – Jack Hartmann (Level H is linked here, but each level has a song) – These are also great for introducing the words!
- For Any Need: Harry Kindergarten The Sight Word Song (Version 1) (more versions are available), Harry Kindergarten Reading Robot (Version 1), Jack Hartmann Popcorn Words, Sight Words: FortNite Song (for the FortNite obsessed kids, plus you can have them get up and match the dance while they’re practicing!)
13. Snowperson/Spaceperson (Alternative to H_ngm_n)
When you know better, you do better hits home with this one. As an alternative to the game we’ve probably all played, let’s take a collective step towards doing better and eliminate this game. You can accomplish the same practice with a snowperson or a space person being drawn (or a flower, or a butterfly for example!). You draw lines (using a document camera and whiteboard or a digital whiteboard you share on your screen) for each letter of the sight word of your choice and students guess letters. Each wrong guess leads to the next part of the picture being added by you. If they get the word prior to the picture being finished, they get a point – if you finish the picture before they guess the word, you get a point.
However, you choose to engage your virtual classroom in sight word learning, remember to keep it fun and pull in as many multi-sensory approaches as you can for the best results. Let us know your favorite digital resources and games for sight words below!
Written by: Kristin Halverson
At Education to the Core, we exist to help our teachers build a stronger classroom as they connect with our community to find trusted, state-of-the-art resources designed by teachers for teachers. We aspire to be the world’s leading & most trusted community for educational resources for teachers. We improve the lives of every teacher and learner with the most comprehensive, reliable, and inclusive educational resources.
If you enjoyed what we have to offer at ETTC, be sure to join our email list, so you won’t miss a beat.