Teaching Sight Words to Reluctant Readers Part 3

While I tend to do most of our teaching of sight words in context and through fun repetition, I do like to reinforce learning with games whenever possible.  Any game that gets my children moving is a big hit at our house. So this sight word hunt game is perfect!

Step 1: Place colored sight words around the house


Step 2: Make sure your student has a coordinating crayon for each color you chose.

Step 3: Once a sight word is spotted, have your child find the corresponding sight word on their grid sheet and color the box the same color as their word. 

sight word hunt

You can download the game all ready to go right here or make up your own!

We also like to play Go Fish, and Memory with our words. I have him say the word before he can take it when we play memory just to make sure that he does know it. If he can’t say it, then he can’t keep the match.

I like these games because they are quick to put together with note cards and can easily be changed.

I love to use games and items that we already have to incorporate play with our words, I showed you this game at the end of last year with our car mat, Zack also loved this game that I found over at The World Gone Blue Blog, using his nerf guns! I have pinned tons of other sight word games over on my Pinterest page. Check it out!

Although I would love to incorporate more games into our schedule, the reality is we can usually only get to one or two games a week per subject, and that might be a wee exaggeration some weeks.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the Series for more ideas


Teaching Sight Words to Reluctant Readers Part 2

As I stated in the first post in this series, I believe that teaching sight words {and vocabulary} in context is the most effective way to get the words to actually move from the front of the brain – all the way into the sticky part way in the back. {obviously not a biology major} Winking smile 

When we teach in context and not in isolation we bring the words to life, we give them a purpose and our children see that the words we use, have a use.

When we first started formal school for Zack I used the units from The Moffat Girls. They were bright, and fun and the repetition was great. But much to my dismay Zack hated it. While my older daughter looked on with green envy in her eye over the “fun” activities her brother got to do. I was met with much groans and frustration. He didn’t want to color, cut, and paste even if the activities were so darn cute!

So this year I scrapped all that cutesy stuff and stuck to the basics. Our day is much more enjoyable, although not without it’s struggles.

Here is how it looks now.

I start the week by introducing a few new sight words. I usually only choose 5 and I make those five words part of his spelling for the week.

I provide lots of exposure to those words through books, magazines, lessons, activities, and  games. I also try to point them out when ever we see them while we are out and about.

sight word matching

I consider the words mastered when I am able to hand him a book with those words in it and he can independently read it.


If we get to the end of the week and he is still struggling (sigh, it does happen) then I just add those words to the next weeks list.




Next week I will share some of the fun games we have done to reinforce our learning.

Teaching Sight Words to Reluctant Readers Part 1

Nothing has caused greater frustration in our homeschooling than teaching Zack how to read and spell. I have had to dig deep into my teaching repertoire to come up with activities and strategies that will work for him. Traditional ways of memorizing sight words have not been successful for us. And although it can be frustrating,  it is situations like these that make me thankful that we do homeschool, I know that there is no other teacher that would be able to dedicate the time to him that he needs to acquire these skills.

Despite what my wayward son would believe, sight words are relevant. Once he is able to read all of the words on the Dolch sight word list, he will be able to read up to 75% of the words printed in children’s literature. Therefore, being less frustrated and more successful with all of our school work.

There are several effective strategies for teaching sight words but the one that I have found to be the most effective for us, is teaching them in context.  When children see words used in natural ways rather than in isolation they are more likely to remember them because they develop an understanding of the word’s significance and meaning.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to find a leveled reader or a children’s book that is familiar to your child and write 5 to 7 sight words from the book on to flashcards. Review those words before reading the story and then as you come upon the word point out the matching flashcard. You can also have your child point to the flashcard as you say the word. If you are reading the story together your child will likely be more focused on the words and have an easier time reading those words in context in future readings.

I picked a book that Zack was very familiar with to explain this lesson. You can see that he has most of the book memorized. Although this was an easy activity for him and he knew most of the words. One of his spelling words this week was “some” when I asked him to read it to me he pronounced it “summy” It just goes to show the importance of me teaching him sight words in context.

If you make it to the end of the video, you will see him “spazzing” at the end and me getting his ummmm…attention Winking smile 

Another way I work on teaching sight words in context is to take the same book or leveled reader and type out the story. Take those same flashcards and as your student reads the story they can use the flash cards to mark the words in the story with a bingo marker or a highlighter. You could also read aloud the story in the book and your child could follow along on the paper. When he comes to a sight word he marks it.This activity obviously works best with shorter stories or abbreviated ones.

sight word matching (2)

Here is a list of a few popular emergent reader books

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? My First Reader Bill Martin (150 sight words)

Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books) by Dr. Seuss (700 sight words)

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (60 sight words)

Olivia by Ian Falconer (235 sight words)

Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers