One of the best and most important jobs we have as teachers to young learners is teaching them how to read. While there are many skills and strategies we use to do so, one that gets a lot of time and attention is word recognition.
Although not a substitute for the ability to decode (also important!), the ability to recognize some words automatically, or on sight, contributes to reading effortlessly and with understanding. Words that can be recognized this way are known as sight words.
Sight word practice is so important for young readers! For one, it allows them to free up cognitive resources so they can focus on the tougher words that require strong decoding skills. Secondly, knowing sight words is a huge confidence booster for students! If they have strong sight word knowledge they will be able to understand the majority of the text, even when their decoding skills are still developing.
Students spend a lot of time working on word recognition. To keep things fresh and engaging it’s important we provide them with a range of sight word activities that offer different ways to work with the words.
To help keep your students engaged and motivated during their sight word practice I’m planning to share a short series of posts that focus on different ways to teach sight words in the K-2 classroom.
Today I’m excited to start by sharing 5 of the best sight word apps, as well as resources of my own that will provide a more hands-on approach to sight word practice.
5 Best Apps for Teaching Sight Words
Reading Ninja An engaging educational game that helps kids learn to read three letter words by sight, sound, and touch.
With 150 words to choose from, you pick which ones the students will work with. The game supports 3 difficulty settings: EASY, MEDIUM, or HARD. Reading Ninja on iTunes $1.99
Spelling City There are lots of FREE sight word activities within this one app including: word searches, memory, hangman, find the missing letter, and more!
It can be used as an app or on desktop.
Sight Word Learning Games and Flash Cards This app includes 6 different sight word games. Students might tap words they hear read aloud, spell words they hear read aloud, or go through sight word flash cards. It includes all 220 words from the Dolch list.
You can see the instructions and get a preview of the app here: Sight Word Games and Flash Cards on iTunes $2.99
Learn Sight Words This FREE app includes 300+ sight words and is easy for both teachers and students to use. You can choose to turn the sound on so that children can listen to the sight words as they practice, or turn it off so that they can read them independently.
Words are arranged into 9 different lists, or students can work through all 300 at once! It also allows you to flag challenging words that may need extra attention.
Sight Word Sentence Builder This app is a fun game that covers all levels of Dolch Sight Words and lets students practice them in context. Using grade appropriate Sight Words, children assemble short sentences from given words.
The player receives visual and auditory feedback indicating whether the response is correct. Once the student answers correctly, the exercise moves to the next sentence.
More Sight Word Practice Activities
If you are looking for additional ideas to give your students more hands-on sight word practice (without a device), I’m happy to share some of my very own sight word activities for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students!
First, there is my FINE MOTOR SIGHT WORD BUNDLE which includes 6 different activities that pair sight word practice fine motor skill development.
Each activity offers a hands-on, engaging way for young learners to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they are work to read, write, and spell their sight words. Download a fine motor sight word FREEBIE here that can be put to use right away!
Students will use hands-on materials that develop fine motor skills as they play games, fill, cut, trace, and spin sight words. Take a closer look at the post Sight Word Activities for Fine Motor Development for more details about each activity!
Student engagement is peaked by giving them a hand lens to search for the hidden words in the seasonal picture! I love that they have to pay close attention to the spelling of the high frequency word spelling as they write them in word shape boxes. Be sure to grab the FREEBIE to try in your classroom in this post!
Sight word practice is an integral part of reading instruction for our young learners. I hope that the resources I’ve shared today will help you keep this important practice fresh and engaging in your classroom and keep your students motivated and loving the process of learning to read!
Be on the lookout for my next post, where I’ll share 5 online games for sight word practice! (These are activities that can be accessed on a desktop or laptop computer, rather than a device like an ipad or smartphone.) Until then, I’d love to hear about any other apps your students love to use in the classroom! Feel free to leave me a comment and share your favorites below!
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