Did you know it takes 50 repetitions of a sight word in order to commit it to memory? BUT… through play this number can be reduced dramatically – by more than half!
We have been inspired by this concept to bring you a selection of activities that through play, immerse your children in non-threatening, engaging activities which will ignite their senses, develop fine motor skills, encourage verbal language and problem solving and most importantly, help your child recognise, at a glance, a sight word.
So where do you begin? How do you introduce sight words?
It is important to incorporate actions/rhymes/simple sentences, including the focus sight word, to help children remember them.
For example, when introducing the word ‘and’, you may show the word card and say ‘it is this and that’, placing emphasis on the ‘and’ as you say it. As you say the sentence, place one hand out at a time indicating the ‘this’ and the ‘that’. You will be amazed at how quickly your students will remember their sight words when you couple them with simple actions and repetitive sentences!
Then when your children are practising sight words:
Repetition is the key!
Don’t limit the teaching of sight words to just one part of your teaching day. Introducing a new sight word or two on a particular day may take no longer than 5 minutes. Here are some ways you can use sight words regularly during your day:
– Remind students of the sight word as you are reading to them.
– Randomly ask them during the day to read the sight word card you have left on the board.
– Have a secret password for students to read as they leave the classroom for playtime, etc. The secret password would be the sight word for the day. You can find a free template for this in our Free Resource Library.
– Have students see if they can find the sight word in books they are ‘reading’. You may like to give your students special ‘sight word glasses’ as they are looking through books for the sight word of the day. Or you may like to complete a ‘Sight Word Snapshot Camera’ and then have your students use these to take ‘photos’ of the sight words they find in the books they read.
Learning through play.
Learning sight words should be multi-sensory. Don’t limit your students to paper and pencil activities. Make sure you provide sensory play opportunities for your students to engage with the words using their whole body. Play, and in particular sensory play, will increase your student’s ability to remember their sight words. You may like to explore some of our Sight Word Play Packs for simple themed sight word activities that you can implement in your classroom straight away!
Sight Word Activity Sheets
Allowing your students the opportunity to interact with their sight words in a more ‘traditional way’ should not be avoided as this may be the preferred learning style for some of your students. However, like all things, moderation is the key.
Students like these activity sheets because they are predictable. Each sheet has the same activities so once they know how to complete one sheet, they will be able to confidently and independently complete the others. The use of the sheets then gives the students a confidence with the words they are interacting with.
To make the activity sheets less ‘dull’ for your more reluctant learners, you might like to slide the sheet under a protector pocket so they can use whiteboard markers to complete the sheet. Laminating the pages would also achieve this same result. Giving a variety of coloured whiteboard markers might also add a little extra spark to the activity.
It is important your little learner’s feel comfortable when working with new sight words. Never force them into saying a word or sounding out a word they are not confident with. Feel free to help them. With practise, and reassurance, they will begin to remember the words in their own time.
Remember, each learner is on their own journey. Through repetition and play you can support your little learners to success as they are ready.