Students will love these free online sight word games. Each sight word game offers plenty of word recognition activities perfect for beginning readers.
Teaching students to read is one of the most important (and best!) responsibilities we have as teachers. 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! Strong sight word knowledge allows them to understand the majority of the text, even when their decoding skills are still developing.
*It should be noted that while technically there is a difference between sight words and high frequency words (high frequency words are the most commonly occurring words in print and sight words are any word a student can read “at first sight”), when I refer to “sight words” I am referring to the words in the High Frequency Dolch Sight Words list.
What is the best way to teach sight words?
The Science of Reading tells us that effective instruction follows the “I do, We do, You do” model. This means you must stop expecting students to learn sight words through flashcards and rote memorization. Instead, integrate irregularly spelled, high-frequency words into your phonics lessons using the Heart Word Method.
The Heart Word Method requires students to use their phoneme knowledge to map the regular part of the words. You explicitly teach them the sounds that are irregular in the word. The irregular part of the word is the part they must “learn by heart”, thus the name Heart Words.
Once students have received your direction instruction (“I do“) and had plenty of opportunities to practice their heart words with you (“We do“), they need time to practice and apply these skills on their own (“You do“).
Students will 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.
In earlier posts I have shared the 5 Best Apps for Teaching Sight Words and The 7 Best Phonics Apps. While these apps are great, I know not everyone has access to tablets in their classroom, so today I am excited to share a list of 5 Online Games for Sight Word Practice (games that can be accessed on a desktop or laptop computer), as well as my own activities that offer a more hands-on approach to learning sight words.
5 Online Games for Sight Word Practice
The last three games I found come from IXL, a website that offers standards-based personalized learning for students in all subject areas. The site is subscription-based, but they offer a 30-day free trial.
Choose the Matching Sight Words In this game students identify which two sight words are the same. Students can read the words or listen to them read aloud. The game gets progressively harder for kids as they do better.
Spell the Sight Word A more challenging game that has students work to spell sight words they hear read aloud.
Complete the Sentence Here students identify the correct sight word to fill in the blank or complete the 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!
These science of reading-based literacy centers are truly what your students need to store heart words into their sight word memories.
My Heart Word Centers and Independent Activities were designed to be used after you have explicitly and systematically introduced heart words to your students. They offer students the repeated exposure they need to commit the words to memory.
With this bundle, you’ll get FOUR NO PREP heart word center activities. Each activity helps students build phoneme-grapheme associations and work on phonemic awareness skills. They are self-checking and provide immediate feedback to ensure students are practicing spelling their heart words the correct way!
Let’s take a peek at each center activity included in the bundle:
In this digital center, students first hear an audio clip of the word. Then they read a sentence and map the word by moving a chip for each sound they hear. Next, they graph the word by spelling the word with graphemes (letters). Finally, they identify the “tricky” part of the word that they must learn by heart.
Students first read a sentence to hear the high-frequency word used in context. Next, they map the word by placing counters/cubes in the sound boxes. They then graph the word by spelling the word with graphemes and finally, write the word three times.
In this activity, students map the word by popping a dot for each phoneme they hear. Then they graph the word by spelling out the word. You can use the pop-it printables that are included or purchase your own. Either way, this activity is highly engaging for students!!
Here students identify the sound represented by each picture and blend the sounds together to identify the mystery heart word. You’ll get 56 game mats that include 220 words- enough to last year all year long!
In addition to the activities, this bundle also includes information about Heart Words and a high-frequency words list and scope and sequence to help ensure your instruction is systematic and informed.
Typically students who are are learning to recognize, read, and spell sight words also need to develop fine motor skills. Each activity in this bundle offers a hands-on, engaging way for young learners to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they work to read, write, and spell their sight words.
Students use hands-on materials that develop fine motor skills as they play games, fill, cut, trace, and spin sight words. Take a closer at Sight Word Activities for Fine Motor Development for more details about each activity included in this resource!
Download a fine motor sight word FREE activity here!
Each activity offers a hands-on, engaging way for young learners to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they 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!
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!
Be on the lookout for the final post in this series where I’ll share my favorite Sight Word Videos that will have your students singing, dancing and learning their sight words all at once!
Until then, I’d love to hear about any other online games your students love to use in the classroom! Feel free to leave a comment and share your favorites below!
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