Updated: Aug 22, 2021
By far the best way to teach is by making a game out of everything. It turns a dull class into a fun class and disinterested learners into engaged learners.
Great games can be adapted to use for repetition, recognition, recollection, reinforcement or review. (See my teaching article about using the Five Rs: >>>here<<<)
"Play is our brain's favourite way of learning."
Whatever you call it, used over the millennia by millions of teachers! The teacher simply says a sight word, then learners identify the word and whack it whilst repeating the word! Great for small groups or big classes alike, vary teams, vary teams, organise rounds, timed challenges, easy to adapt.
Ask questions about the sight words e.g. Q: Which word means also? A: and. Or you can create sentences with missing words (Dolch words!) e.g. I wish I could have a green ____ a blue hat. Simply ask the learners to fill in the blanks.
My Dolch Sight Word PowerPoints (for all levels) are >>>here<<< each PPT contains a quiz for that PPT's selection of sight words. The quizzes are at the end of the PPTs for you to play with your learners after teaching them the words. Each quiz consists of 10 sentences with missing words. After each quiz, the answers will be revealed-on-click. My learners have great fun with these each week!
Noughts & Crosses/Tic-Tac-Toe/Four-in-a-Row/UNO/Jenga/Pick-up-Sticks
Play your favourite games, just ask sight word questions or ask learners to read sight words before making their moves.
This old favourite is also a great game when learners are more familiar with a group of words or sounds. It encourages learners to voice sounds and words in their minds. They use their imaginations to create variations of words that will fit. The game will also help learners to remember the shape and spellings of words.
Also great for learning the spelling and shape of sight words. Online generators are free on many websites. You can tailor-make crossword clues according to your learners’ levels.
Cricket/Football/Basketball/Table Tennis/Pinball/Beach Ball whatever you like, just ask a question or read a card before each bowl/throw/penalty shoot etc. Perhaps you could even write words on the balls themselves!
Ask questions/practise reading whilst building to the moon with foam blocks, Lego/Duplo, Jenga blocks, cups, playing cards, matchsticks or whatever comes to hand!
Charades/Pictionary/Name the Opposite or Rhyming Word/Jeopardy
Get creative, no need for realia or prep, just dive in and have fun!
Using words instead of numbers. I display flashcards on the board as I read each word. No need to work hard on this, click >>>here<<< for pre-prepared ready-to-go free BINGO game cards, and there’s a game creator if you need it!
The Memory Game
The Memory Game is good fun. I’ll print two copies of a selection of sight word flashcards (the words they most need practise with), then arrange them face down on the board using magnets. Each player/team can turn two cards over per turn. The aim is to remember each flashcard’s word and position after it is revealed, then match two the same on your turn.
Write words with board markers on the colours, or place sight words on the colours, or play with just the sight words. Game on!
I have … Who has …?
I have … Who has …? is exciting, but the class has to be in the right mood, as each player only has one card (due to the size of the class), and some learners can quickly switch off! The game snakes its way around the class, as one learner says “I have he, who has she?” for example, and the next learner says “I have she, who has be?” etc. etc.
Online games are also exciting, racing games or some kind of level climbing games with multiple players to represent different teams in the class. I’ll ask them questions about the sight words and their meanings and award the winners! e.g. This word has three letters. It means “to be allowed to,” or “to be likely to.” It can also be a noun. The noun is a month of year. I asked my Daddy “____ I have an ice-cream?” Yes, it’s May! :O)
There are some great online games here: www.education.com/games/sight-words/
Have a word hunt for flashcards in the classroom or have them hunt for words in their favourite books. See who can find the most sight words and maybe write them down too!
Tape some sight words to the underside of the fish in a magnetic fishing game. Hook the fish and read the words!
Adapted Board Games
Tape sight words to the board of a Snakes and Ladders game, or perhaps Ludo or even Monopoly! As a player lands on the square have them read the words.
Yes, you guessed it, you can tape sight words to the dominoes and read them as you line them up! You could also ask questions before giving the learners their dominoes. Jenga blocks are also useful as dominos.
Playing Card Games e.g. Old Maid/Beg of your Neighbour/Please & Thank you
Make pairs of sight word cards, then share them between a few people. You must ask the next player in the circle for the card you need to make a pair. Each player takes it in turns until there is only one card left, in the hand of the loser! There are lots of variations of this game, including one in which you must say please and thank you or you have to return the card.
This is great if your learners know many sight words and can spell them well. You can have games of sight words only. Difficulty can be reduced by showing all the letter tiles, rather than drawing them from a bag. You might also have a larger number of letters each, or remove letters, which aren’t required (Q/X/Z etc).
I hope you can use the games or adapt them into your routine. Have fun, and feel free to send me emails with any more games or ideas I can include, I’d love to hear from you.
All the PPTs I discussed are available via my Teacher Pay Teachers store: >>>here<<<