The most common words found in print are often referred to by educators as sight words. Children in kindergarten, first and second grades spend time learning high-frequency sight words to develop fluency in their reading. The Dr. Fry word list contains 1,000 high-frequency words broken down into leveled lists of 100 words. Children typically begin with List 1, progressing to the next list when all or most of the previous list's words are mastered. You can help your child learn sight words with fun, interactive games and activities.
Laugh it Up With Silly Sentences
Use silly sentences with students on the first three or more Fry word lists for word variety. Prepare for silly sentences by writing about 20 nouns describing people on note cards in red ink (people, children, animal, mother). Create a second pile of words in another color with verbs (think, found, say, put). Write the same number of "thing" nouns in a different color (letter, sentence, hand, feet, tree). Create a fourth pile with "place" nouns in a different color (school, house, country, sea). Prepare a fifth pile of cards in black ink with connecting words (the, of, in, at, a). Model how to randomly choose a card from each deck to create silly sentences (The children found a tree in the sea). The child can read the silly sentence or copy the sentence on paper for additional practice. Modify the game for children who only know a few words by asking them to choose only one or two cards to read, then create the rest of the sentence verbally.
Create a Rainbow
Give kids a lot of practice with each word by creating "Rainbow Words." Begin by writing one sight word on an index card in pencil. Ask the child to trace the letters with a red crayon or marker while saying each letter aloud. Repeat the trace with every other color of the rainbow (orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). When the tracing is complete, challenge the child to turn the card over and spell the word from memory.
Playing Pow! is Lots of Fun
A lively card game is an engaging way to help children practice reading sight words. Create a pile of 20 sight words on 3-by-5 note cards. Use cards the children can easily read. Create another set of seven cards with the word, "Pow" written on them. Write, "Lose a turn" on five cards and "Take another turn" on five more cards. Place all of the cards in an old coffee container. Taking turns, each player draws a card and reads it. If they read it correctly, they get to keep the card. If they get a "Pow" card, they must place all of their cards back in the can. The player with the most cards when all of the cards run out is the winner.
Swat That Word
Active children will appreciate a game where a fly swatter is the weapon and a word card is the target. Place individual word cards around the room, on the walls, under chairs or in hard-to-reach places where the kids can only reach them with a fly swatter. Give your child an unused fly swatter and ask him to find as many words as he can. When he finds a word, ask him to swat it as if it was a pesky fly, then read the word. If desired, time the game to see how many words he can find and read in one minute.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images