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The 9 Best Sight Word Games for Kids and Adults

Posted by Ashley Robinson | Sep 30, 2019 3:00:00 PM

General Education

 

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Anyone (of any age!) who’s interested in increasing their English vocabulary or literacy skills needs to be familiar with sight words—what they are, how they work in the English language, and which words are considered sight words!

One effective way to master sight words is by playing games. Science shows that high-quality educational games can be effective tools to help you learn new concepts and skills. And hey—who doesn’t want to have fun while learning? 

To help you choose sight word games that are proven to be effective at increasing vocabulary and enhancing literacy skills, we’ve compiled a full guide to sight word games and activities for you. Included in this article are: 

  • A definition of what sight words are and why they’re important
  • Three do-it-yourself sight word games
  • Three physical sight word games
  • Three digital sight word games and sight word apps

So by the end of this post, you’ll have nine sight word games and activities that can help you improve both your vocabulary and reading skills! 

 

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What Sight Words Are (and Why They’re Important)

Here’s one way to define “sight words”: sight words are words in the English language that you need to be able to recognize the meaning of right when you see them. That’s why they’re called sight words: you need to be able to recognize them and know what they mean on sight. 

But how is this type of word different from other words that you read? Don’t we recognize the meaning of all words when we look at them? Well, not exactly. We recognize the meaning of most words in the English language through a process called decoding. As we learn to read, we get the hang of letter-sound relationships and letter patterns, which allows us to pronounce words correctly and begin recognizing words we haven’t seen before. 

Kinda cool, right? 

Most people learn how to decode words through phonics instruction in school. But, here’s how sight words are different from all those other words that we learn to decode through phonics: sight words defy standard phonetic patterns and must be memorized. Memorizing sight words is important because sight words account for around 75% of beginning reading material. For children and adults who struggle to recognize sight words, learning to read is going to be a challenging process. 

When we’re able to recognize sight words, we can focus instead on meaning and comprehension while reading, instead of having to decode every single word. You can actually find several lists of common sight words online, but it’s important to know that U.S. schools usually use the Dolch or Fry Sight Word lists. Most often, children begin learning sight words in kindergarten in the United States, but many, many people learn English or acquire full, functional literacy at a much later age in the U.S. as well. 

But what do games and sight word activities have to do with memorizing all of these words? A lot, actually. Literacy learners of all ages are able to memorize sight words more quickly through repeated practice, but reviewing the same material over and over can become tedious or stressful for language learners. Gamifying literacy learning can help learners who struggle with memorization learn more quickly, be more attentive while they practice, and increase their confidence in their ability to learn to read. 

Now that you know what sight words are and why they’re so important to literacy learning, let’s look at nine different sight word games that you can play to increase your knowledge of sight words!

 

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Do-It-Yourself Sight Word Games

If you’re looking for an affordable way to help someone memorize sight words, there are plenty of inexpensive sight word activities that you can put together on your own! Here are three tried and true, do-it-yourself sight word activities for people of all ages. 

 

DIY Flash Cards

  • Cost: Free if you’re already stocked up on blank paper and a marker!
  • Best For: All ages 

While there are definitely sight word flash cards that you could buy pre-made online, you can also make flash cards using your own materials at home. To create your own sight word flash cards, all you’ll need is a pen or marker and blank notecards! 

Sight word flash cards are good for children and adults working on their English literacy and vocabulary. Working through flash cards can help you recognize sight words more quickly and memorize them. You can also use flash cards for practice in the following ways: 

  • Practice saying the word aloud when you see it on the flash card
  • Practice saying the word aloud, then spelling it aloud
  • Practice reading the word, writing it yourself, then saying it aloud

Making flash cards is an especially good activity for kids. They’ll have fun decorating their cards, which has an added bonus of sneaking in some extra study time, too. 

To create sets of sight word flash cards, you’ll probably want to use the Dolch and/or Fry Sight Word Lists, since these lists correspond with those used by teachers in school. Luckily, those are available online for free at the links above. You can use flash cards to study at school, work, or home, or take them on the road for practice as well!

 

Put Together a Word Search

  • Cost: Free if you’ve got paper and pen on hand already!
  • Best For: Kindergarten and up 

Creating and/or completing a word search that includes several sight words can be an excellent way to practice picking out sight words quickly. Creating a word search is pretty easy! All you need is a piece of paper, a pen, and a list of sight words that you can incorporate into the word search. For a tutorial on creating your own word search, check out this resource

If you have a friend, classmate, or fellow parent who is learning sight words or helping someone else learn sight words, you can create word searches and exchange them with each other. Not only will you get in extra practice, you’ll also make friends with a study partner who can help you practice your words. 

 

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You can repurpose an old Candy Land game and turn it into a sight word extravaganza...for free!

 

Sight Words Book Land

We’re going to get into some board games you can purchase to practice learning sight words in the next section, but did you know you can also create your own sight word board games with materials you have at home? Sight Words Book Land is one DIY board game option, if you’re feeling a little crafty! 

Sight Words Book Land is modeled after the popular kids’ game, Candy Land, and provides a fun, engaging format for sight word repetition. The game can accommodate two to four players, which is great for family learning. 

To create your own version of the game, you’ll need the following materials: 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to print out your own game board and cards, you can repurpose an old Candy Land game for Sight Words Book Land. If you use a list of sight words online, you can write them on the old Candy Land game cards yourself!

To play, each player starts with their game piece on the “start” arrow, then takes turns drawing cards and attempting to successfully read the word printed on the card aloud. When a player reads the word on a card correctly, they move their game piece forward according to the colored dots on the card they drew. The first player who gets to the end of the board wins! 

 

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If you're not the crafty type, there are plenty of sight word games you can buy, too. 

 

Physical Sight Word Games

When we say “physical” sight word games, we mean word games that use physical materials, like board games or card games. (Don’t worry: we’ll talk about digital games and apps a little later.) 

For many learners, having a tactile learning experience can help them memorize sight words more effectively. We’ve listed four physical sight word games that you can purchase in stores or online to help you practice learning sight words by heart. 

 

Key Education Sight Word Space Station Game

If you’re looking specifically for kindergarten sight words games, Sight Word Space Station could be a great choice! This multiplayer board game can be ordered online and includes all the materials children need to practice reading and memorizing sight words. 

This game is designed for kindergarten through second graders to help this age group practice reading and memory skills by identifying pairs of sight words. Up to eight players can participate in this concentration-style game, which includes 96 game cards total, and 48 color-coded, high- frequency sight word cards. As an added bonus, you can limit the number of card pairs that are in play to make the reading tasks less overwhelming for stressed or reluctant readers. 

Oh, and here’s where the space theme comes in: as matched cards are removed from the game board, an alien space station is slowly revealed. Past parent purchasers tout this feature as a major point of interest for their youngsters!

 

Sight Words Four in a Row

Sight Words Four In A Row uses materials from the familiar game Connect Four in order to build learners’ confidence with sight words through repetition and quick reading. To recreate this sight word activity, you need a Connect Four board, Connect Four pieces, and a stack of sight word flash cards. 

Now, here’s how you play Sight Words Four In A Row: get two players together, place the Connect Four board between them, and take turns drawing a flash card from the stack and attempting to read the corresponding sight word aloud. Each time a player reads the sight word on a flash card aloud correctly during their turn, that player gets to drop a game piece into one of the Connect Four board slots. The first player to place four game pieces in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally wins! 

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Sight Word Bingo

Another classic sight words kindergarten game is Sight Word Bingo. Like several of the board games and card games we’ve mentioned, you could make your own sight word bingo at home, but if you don’t have the time or interest, there are Sight Words Bingo games out there that you can purchase online and have delivered to your doorstep!

Sight words bingo works pretty much exactly like regular bingo. The caller calls out the word on a card or shows the card, then players search their cards for a match. If they find the sight word on their playing mat, they cover it with a chip. Learners get practice reading 46 words, increase their vocabulary and word recognition, and build reading and spelling skills. 

There are many variations of sight word bingo games that you could purchase, but most versions comes with 35+ playing cards, 260+ playing chips, calling cards, caller’s mat, answer guide, and a storage box. They also come in different difficulty levels: we’ve linked to an easier game, but don’t be afraid to bump up the challenge. 

 

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There are some great apps out there that can help you take your studying on the go! 

 

Digital Sight Word Games and Sight Word Apps

The last category of sight word activities we want to give you some options for is sight word apps and sight word games online. We’ve selected games that you can play on desktop or mobile so that you can have sight word games with you wherever you go. 

 

Learn Sight Words

  • Cost: Free! 
  • Best For: Kindergarten and up 

Learn Sight Words is an iPhone and iPad app designed for children. The 300+ sight word flash cards are based on the Dolch Word List (which we linked to above) and can be used for various forms of sight word practice. Reviewers say that if you’re looking for a sight words kindergarten game that’s compatible with what children are learning in school, Learn Sight Words is a great choice!

Children can use the app themselves to read sight words, listen to sight words, practice with app-generated mixes of 25 sight words per day, flag difficult words for extra practice, and view words in alphabetical or random order based on their grade level (the app has settings for pre-k through third grade). As an added bonus, the app’s “read aloud” feature can be temporarily turned off so children can practice saying the words aloud all on their own!

This sight words app doesn’t have a lot of fancy bells and whistles, but it’s easy for children to use for straightforward practice with sight words. 

 

The Sight Word Adventure

  • Cost: About $3
  • Best For: Kindergarten and up 

If you’re looking for a more immersive sight word game experience, The Sight Word Adventure is a great pick. This app offers seven different sight word games based on games children will likely be familiar with already—like bingo and whack-a-mole—and features a friendly kangaroo as a guide through the different games. 

The app allows you to select a level, ranging from pre-k to third grade, and tailors the sight word games to the designated learning level. The games are also structured into two categories: reading games and writing games. The reading games help learners recognize complete sight words, and the writing games test their ability to reproduce the words on their own. 

Parents might be interested to know that the app is customizable: you can include new sight words or prioritize specific words based on your child’s progress, which is trackable through the app’s parental dashboard. Finally, The Sight Word Adventure app is Voice-Over compatible, making it accessible to learners with disabilities. 

 

Education.com Sight Words Games

  • Cost: Free!
  • Best For: Kindergarten and up 

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for sight words kindergarten games, check out the various online games provided by Education.com. Their repository of free sight word games includes everything from puzzles, to time-based challenges, to digital card games—and they’re paired with lively narration and engaging sound effects. 

Each game in the Education.com collection is prefaced by a one-paragraph description of the skills children will learn and practice, which age group the game is ideal for, and the option to view which state or national learning standards the game aligns with. The variety of types of sight word games available on this single site will keep children interested in learning sight words!

The only caveat here is that you’ll need to create an account with Education.com, and when you set up your account, you’ll be asked to indicate if you’re a parent or teacher. In other words, if you’re interested in using this resource for your own child or your students, you’ll have to do all of the online registration yourself. Additionally, since this is an online portal, you’ll want to supervise your children as they play. (The online-only aspect makes this resource super convenient for adult learners, though!) 

 

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What’s Next? 

If you love learning through games, we have many more recommendations on our blog. Be sure to check out our posts on spelling games, learning games for toddlers, and alphabet games.

If you’re working on your sight words, you may be interested in building some of your other vocabulary skills, too. Here’s an article on the 265 vocab words you should know to help you improve your vocabulary even more.

Vocabulary and literacy go hand-in-hand. To learn more about how to improve your reading comprehension skills, be sure to check out this resource. It’s full of expert advice and helpful tips for young adult and adult learners. 



These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

 

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Ashley Robinson
About the Author

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.



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