Four and a half year old Pebble (never forget the half!) is so desperate to learn to read. We’ve played and learned with letters for a long time now, but I haven’t pushed anything too formal. I believe that play is way more important than anything else at this age. Now, though, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Pebble is just ready to learn more. There’s no reason why we can’t play with words!
It doesn’t get much simpler than this game and Pebble loves it! Grab a whiteboard marker and an old sock. Write some sight words on the fridge, pop the sock on your child’s hand and ask them to have a go at reading the words. Start with two or three words, and tell them the words the first time you play. If they can read a word, then they can erase it using their sock eraser. Pebble was giggling as she jumped from side to side, swiping words faster and faster. She quickly figured out that it’s easiest to wipe off the repeating words first, then attack a different word. As she learns more words we’ll add those to the routine. That’s your sight word practice done!
We have a white fridge – I haven’t tried this on stainless steel but the internet tells me that you can. Test out a small area on either a white or stainless steel fridge before you go nuts covering it with words. Some dry erase markers are more stubborn to wipe off than others. I found a basic glass cleaner (like Windex) cleaned the fridge up easily afterwards. You can buy dry erase paint (whiteboard paint), if you’re really keen, and choose somewhere in your house to set up a whiteboard wall. Or use blackboard paint or a small blackboard. We have a mini whiteboard and a mini blackboard, but there’s something about standing up and moving that makes this activity extra fun for kids.
Why learn sight words? Sight words (or high frequency words) are the most commonly used words, and often are words that can not be decoded by sounding out the letters. When children learn to recognise these words instantly, by sight, it makes it much easier for them to read simple books. I use the Magic 100 Word list (not sponsored) and have also used the Dolch and Oxford word lists.
Other ways to use your fridge: You could also use this same activity to practice other things, like letters or numbers.
Looking for more sight word practice ideas? Try these:
- Word wall on a fence (The Golden Gleam)
- Gross motor reading game (Learn with Play at Home)
- Multisensory ways to learn sight words (Susie’s Home Education Ideas)
- Sight word popsicle stick puzzles (And Next Comes L)
- Sight word paper planes (Lessons Learnt Journal)
- 10 ways to learn sight words (Learn with Play at Home)
- Sight word dominoes (No Time for Flash Cards)
- Hippety hop sight word game (Learning 4 Kids)
- Hockey sight words (Making Learning Fun)
- Squish and seek sight words (Playdough to Plato)
- Where’s the bear? (Sprinkles to Kindergarten)
- The ultimate list of sight word practice ideas! (Childhood 101)
- Sight word drag racing (Playdough to Plato)
- Tic tac toe sight words (Pinterest – source unknown)