Homeschooling: A Fun Sight Word Game

{learning sight words : a fun sight word activity}

Every child learns at a different pace, so I do not want to push my children to learn anything before they are ready.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t figure out fun ways to try to get them to learn.  If they think it’s fun, they want to do it!

My four-year-old learned his alphabet very early and easily, and after that, learning the sounds of the letters seemed like a piece of cake.  Some people I know suggested I might try teaching him the sight words.  These are common words that we see everyday, and some educators feel it’s easier for kids to learn them by sight instead of trying to sound them out.  You can buy a pack of word cards for under $4.

I was told that I could introduce about three words each week to my son.  I could hang them somewhere like the refrigerator and just point them out to him each day until he became familiar with them.  The first time I tried this, I could see that he wasn’t ready for them, so I put them away and didn’t worry about it for several weeks.  The next time I tried it, I found out that not only was he disinterested in looking at the words, I was too.  I never remembered to point them out to him!  It’s kind of a boring exercise, if you ask me.

My step-mother gave him a sight word video, and he likes to watch it.  To me, it’s a boring video of words going across the screen and lackluster animations — but I’m not 4 years old.  He likes it, and he has started to learn some words from it.

I realized that part of the reason that hanging the sight words on the refrigerator didn’t work is because he would never really look at them.  I wondered how I could get him to see the whole word.  That’s when I invented this game:

I wrote some sight words on post-it notes (five seems to be the right amount for my son), and then I posted them around our living room — on the wall, hearth, T.V., sofa.  I made sure they were at my son’s eye level.  Then I gave him one card with a sight word on it.  I told him what it was, and I asked him to look for it around the room.  As he looked for it, I repeated the word over and over.  I told him if he brought the word’s “match” back to me, he’d get a sticker.  We have a special piece of paper that he gets to stick his sight word stickers to.

This game has been a success.  Now he’s really seeing the word – he has to study it in order to find the match.  At first I thought giving him a sticker for each word might be a little excessive, but after playing this game with him a few times, I realized he needed the incentive, and I want the game to just be fun for him.

As with everything we do, he can lose interest in it.  He doesn’t want to play it everyday, but even if we do it every once in a while, I think it will help.  This game and his sight word video has helped him learn a few words, and now he gets excited if he identifies a word while I’m reading a book to him!

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