Sight Word Games are a super way to help engage children learning to read. Our Sight Word Parking Lot Game is perfect for those that are on the cusp of early reading, but may find themselves more interested in other activities.
Sight word games are fun ways to improve reading skills in children. Our outdoor version is an interesting way to not only learn new sight words, but also increase vocabulary and develop spelling skills.
Learning sight words is an important step to reading fluency. The more you know your sight words the better!
Why should you teach sight words to kids?
Children learn language through exposure to their native language. Their brains are not fully developed until they reach adulthood.
For this reason, teaching them sight words at an early age helps them learn to read before their brains are fully formed.
Early readers can recognize these simple words by looking for patterns such as: “a” or “an” repeated letter, similar letters or even certain sounds like /t/ or /k/.
Teaching kids how to identify these basic building blocks of language will help them build strong foundations for learning English later on.
When should you start teaching kids sight words?
The best time to introduce sight words into a child’s life is when he starts school and learns his first set of alphabetical letters.
When introducing new vocabulary it is very helpful if parents begin with those that have multiple syllables because it allows children to make connections between different parts of speech.
Learning sight words also gives students practice in recognizing longer words. It is recommended to use a variety of methods including flash cards, mnemonics and games.
By five years old, most children already know about 300 common words so there is no need to rush things for your reader.
If you’re worried about starting too late then consider doing some research online to find out what other families do.
You You could try asking friends or family members, even a teacher you may know, who’ve taught their own kids how to read.
Also keep in mind that every child has unique abilities and needs. Always seek advice from teachers and professionals who work closely with young learners as they are an excellent resource!
How to Teach Sight Words
There are many ways to go about choosing which sight word activities to add to your program. You of course want them to be creative and engaging.
Some educators recommend using only one method while others mix up several techniques all together.
The mixture of sight word activities you choose to use at home or in the classroom is totally up to you, but here are some ideas for how to teach sight words to get you started.
Choose a few books with lots of pictures
These types of books tend to have fewer words than storybooks. But they still provide plenty of opportunities to expose kids to words.
Use picture dictionaries
There are thousands of free options available on both iOS and Android devices. They contain hundreds of images and definitions along with audio pronunciations.
Just search for “picture dictionary” and pick one based on its popularity among users.
Play word-based boardgames
Make learning fun with a sight word game like Zingo. Up to 6 can play so you can make it a family game night. The kids won’t even know they’re learning to read.
Make custom flashcards
Print off any text file containing lists of words that interest you. Then cut each list apart and glue the individual pieces onto index cards. Glue the backside down so that the front side shows through.
You’ll want to create sets of 20–30 cards per category. Set aside a specific area where you store the cards.
Have your student look through the cards daily and review what she sees. Eventually, her brain will memorize the pattern and she’ll be able to easily recall the entire group without having to think much about it.
Create a sight word game
Games can be fun way to reinforce concepts related to sight words. This is where our DIY Outdoor sight game activity comes in to play!
If your child or little ones you care for happen to be really into cars, trucks, wagons, bikes – generally anything with wheels – this might be a great fit for them!
One time while playing, our son was so excited he actually pulled the shop vac out of the garage, hauled it around and parked it over a word.
We were both laughing at the interesting selection and then kept on with the rest of the game. Good for him for thinking outside of the box, right?
DIY Sight Word Parking Lot Game
Choose a comfortable place (out of the sun, if possible) and draw parking lines with sidewalk chalk.
Plan to choose words that apply to your child, show up often in books and are appropriate for their reading level.
There are just over 200 high frequency sight words that are basic to adults but have been proven, if memorized, to help little ones read much easier.
Here are links to Dolch Sight Word Lists recommended for each grade level if you’d like help in choosing your words for this game.
How to Play
Once the game board has been set up, round up anything you can find with wheels.
Each time your child reads a word correctly, allow them to pick out a vehicle and park it on that word.
Move on to the next word and repeat the process until finished.
Tips to Help with Hesitant Players
Allow them to choose the order that they read the words in.
Some may want to go right down the line, while others may be be more drawn to letter combinations in a word at the other end of the lot. That’s fine too!
Try to keep the parking lot to a reasonable size for your child’s focus level. Too big might end in frustration for both parties.
Give them a hand… think about the sounds that ‘th’ & ‘ch’ make together. Look at the word ‘you’ not all combinations of letters make sense to little ones so give them a hand!
Teach as you go, and this will always result in more confident smiles. And of course, practice, practice, practice!
How can I adapt this sight word game for my child?
Not into things with wheels? Let them color over the words in chalk, put books or leaves over the words… adjust the game to fit your child’s interests, but be sure to let them lead the way.
You can play sight word activities inside on cold weather or rainy days too! Simply use painters tape for the lines and write the words on paper to place in the spots.
Or make a table sized version and use a toy car, action figures and plushies instead.
Most importantly, just have fun with it!