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Making sight words and learning to read fun!

Updated: Jun 24, 2019

My daughter is getting ready to go into kindergarten so we've been focusing on reading lately. Sight words are a super important part to reading. These are the words that keep repeating on a page (the, she, he, said). You can't always sounds them out, so if your kids don't have them memorized it will make reading super frustrating for them. Memorizing sight words is a big part of learning to read, but how do you get a preschooler interested in memorizing sight words? You have to make it a game!

My daughter's favorite game to play with me is Go Fish. So we've been playing Sight Word Go Fish. I got a stack of index cards and wrote each sight word I wanted her to learn on two separate cards. We started with about 70 sight words (140 index cards), so I broke the game up into two separate piles and she gets to choose which one she wants to play. We shuffle them, then deal 6 cards to her and 6 to me. She goes first and usually chooses a card she knows and asks me if I have it. If I don't have it I tell her to go fish. Then it's my turn. If I have a word that I know she doesn't know I will hold it up and show it to her and ask her, do you have said? Sometimes I'll jokingly use it in a sentence to reinforce it. "I said do you have said?" We go back and forth like this. If I can tell she is looking at a word and doesn't know it I will say, "Are you wondering if I have where? I'm helping her all the way through, because if she starts to get frustrated it is no longer a fun game and she won't want to play it! The best part is she can see through the index cards, so she's always looking through my cards to get matches more easily, which makes it even more fun for her.

To make this even more fun you can throw in some words or names of things your child loves. Pony, Elsa, your pet's name, etc. We have a whole Go Fish deck of Disney princess names and objects that relate to princesses. My daughter helped me come up with all the names and words for this deck. This game will quickly become more than just memorizing sight words, your child will learn to read!

If your child does not like Go Fish you could try to find a game that they do like. Bingo, hide n seek (you hide words and they have to go find them). Or make up your own new game! Just remember to keep reading fun, or they won't want to do it!

Another super fun thing you can do after your child has learned a few sight words is write sentences in the bath. I use dry erase markers and write directly onto the tiles (avoid writing on the grout). I include a variety of sight words that I know she already knows and a few words she may not know to challenge her. Afterwards the kids get to erase them, they love this part.

Learning sight words is a game changer. Before sight words my daughter really didn't have much interest in reading. She would even get annoyed when I would point to words as I would read to her. "Just read the book Mommy!" she would say. Now she doesn't mind and even has fun learning new words!

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