6 Ways to Help Struggling Students With Sight Words

Sight words are sometimes difficult for students to master. They don't follow all of the "normal" rules for reading. This can easily lead to frustration and overwhelm for students. This puts added stress on you as the teacher. It is our job to meet the needs of all of our students so we can be sure that they are successful with us and in the future. Here are my favorite 6 ways to help struggling students with sight words.

Use these 6 fun activities to help your struggling students with sight words this year.

Repetition is Key

Practice makes perfect! This applies to sight words as well. Kids need to practice with their words multiple times a day to master them. You don't want to just drill and kill. There's no fun in that. Variety and repetition are key! Add a little fun and engagement to get your students excited about learning their sight words. If it is more about the game or activity to them, they won't even realize all of the important sight word practice they are actually getting. 

6 Sight Word Activities for Struggling Students

#1 Small Group Practice

Reading groups are beneficial for so many reasons. Students always benefit from the small group environment and one-on-one time with their teacher. I love to use small groups for differentiated instruction, intervention, and progress monitoring. 

Small group practice is a great way to target and differentiate sight words instruction for your students.

All of my kiddos have a fluency folder that we use during small group time. Sight words are just one of the things we work on during our fluency practice time. We play games, we practice reading and writing sight words, and we track the words that have been mastered. My students love to track their progress and see their growth over time. We celebrate all success! You'd be surprised how excited they get over a sticker when they have mastered a word or list.

#2 Word Cards

I'm sure you're thinking yeah, yeah, yeah,  of course I use word cards. Word cards are popular to use during whole group instruction and for good reason. I like to take it a step further and give all of my students their own set of word cards. This allows them to practice at home, in the car, or during transition times. 

Word cards like these are great for helping struggling students with sight words because you can assign a set to each student for them to use to practice as often as needed.

I like to laminate them, put them on a ring, and store them in a plastic bag so they last all year.  It's so easy for students to grab their cards and go through them.

If you are looking for some ready-made sight word cards you can find them here! There are over 350 word cards including all 300 Fry words. Plus blank cards so you can add your own words. They will save you so much time and be so beneficial for your students!

#3 Bingo

Who doesn't love a good game of BINGO? How about blank bingo cards that can be used again and again for any skill or concept?! You can prepare these cards yourself, or begin by providing the word list and letting students fill in their own bingo cards. I opt to let students do it so they get both reading and writing practice. Your students will love playing games like Blackout and 4 Corners. Bingo is great to play together during whole group instruction or in small group time. 

A BINGO activity like this make practicing sight words fun and easy for those students who are struggling.

I did all of the work for you with this Editable Bingo Board resource. It's quick and easy to set up a Bingo game.  All you have to do is type in the words (or math facts, or vocabulary words, or whatever you want to focus on) one time and the bingo cards will automatically fill in for you! Three different sets are included with 9, 12, and 16 words. 

#4 Digital Practice

Kids love technology! That's why I incorporate technology and digital activities any chance I get. Boom cards and Google Slides are two of my favorite ways to do this. 

These digital sight word activities get students reading, spelling, and typing their sight words.  That's a lot of great sight word practice on one screen!  The activities are all interactive so your students will stay engaged the entire time. 

These digital sight word practice pages for Fry words are great to use for students struggling with sight words. They will practice listening to the word, reading the word, typing the word, unscrambling letters, identifying the word in a sentence, and more. 

Digital activities like these make practicing sight words fun and easy and can be used at school or assigned as homework for students to practice at home.

You can grab the set for Fry's First 100 Words here and Fry's Second 100 Words here. These activities will be super useful in the classroom and for distance learning. 

#5 Matching Game

Any time I can add games into the classroom I do.  It's this magical learning time where the kids forget they are learning and just have fun.  And you know what . . . they still learn. Classic children's card games are a great way to introduce games into centers. From Go Fish to Memory Matching your students will love playing card games.  

Make practicing sight words for students who are struggling into a game by printing out cards like these and playing a matching game.

All you have to do is just trade out traditional cards for sight word cards.  You can make the cards using 3x5 index cards or if you want ready-made cards, grab these sight word cards.  I like to use them in so many ways, and card games are just one of them!

The matching game is so much fun to play with sight words. I love to use it as a reading center. I have found it easiest to set up a game with 12 cards that includes 6 different words. The students will mix up the cards and lay them out on the table with the words facing down. They will take turns turning over 2 cards while trying to find a word match. As they turn over the cards they are to read each word aloud. The player with the most matches at the end of the game wins!

#6 Swat

Swat is another fun interactive game to play with your students. It can be done with your entire class as a review or used in centers or small groups. All you need is a flat surface like a tabletop or whiteboard and a couple fly swatters. 

Turn practicing sight words into a whole class activity with a fun swat game like this.

When I play with the entire class, I like to call two kids up to my board together. They face the class with their back towards the board. They each have their own fly swatter. I write two or more sight words on the board. As I call out a sight word the two students turn around and swat the correct word. The first one to swat the correct word wins. 

This game is fun to play in teams. The kids get really into it and it is a great way to help students struggling with sight words get some extra practice in.

You've Got This!

I know that sometimes it can be really frustrating when you've tried everything to help your students master their sight words.  Take a deep breath and tackle tomorrow with a fun new activity.  I hope these 6 ways to help struggling students with sight words gave you some good ideas to start using in your classroom. 

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Looking for ways to help your students who are struggling to learn sight words this year? These activities will give your students lots of practice with sight words in fun ways they will actually love doing over and over again. Use these sight word activities in class, in centers, as independent practice, or as homework to get in tons of fun sight word practice your students will love. #thechocolateteacher #sightwordpractice #sightwordactivitiesforstrugglingstudents

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