Professional Development

May 1, 2016

Making Sight Words Stick

Sight words are an important part of teaching little learners to read.  As more research has become easily available to teachers, we now know that sight words and high-frequency words are different. You can read more about that here. No matter what, though, when it comes to making high-frequency words turn to sight words and stick, some of my students really struggled with that concept.

Here are few things I did in both my kindergarten and first grade classroom to help sight words stick!

Do your students struggle with sight words? Here are 4 Simple Tips to Help Make Sight Words Stick, plus a FREEBIE!

Use music and motion when learning them!

Brain research supports music and movement with learning abundantly. We love using the songs by Have Fun Teaching YouTube videos. There are videos for more than 50 sight words!

Play sight word games daily!

In our classroom, we played games during transition times, during downtime while waiting to go to lunch, or during whole-class bathroom breaks.

We loved playing Guess My Word, Finish My Sentence, and Write It! Erase it! Write It!

Looking for some sight word games to play using your word wall? These are 3 of our favorite games to play in our classroom! Check them out and grab this freebie so you can play in your room, too!

Grab the directions to play these sight word games HERE for FREE.

Make sure sight words are in front of students all the time! 

An easy way to do this is to use sight words as table names.  I printed the sight words, used sticky tac, and attached them to my community supply tubs on each table. The students loved getting a new table name, too!

Do your students struggle with sight words? Here are 4 Simple Tips to Help Make Sight Words Stick, plus a FREEBIE!

A dear teaching friend of mine likes to put the sight words on index cards, then attach them to a ruler and stick the ruler in her community supplies tub.

If you don’t do community supplies, another idea is to hang them from the ceiling! Any way you do it that works for you is great, just get those words in front of them!

Find sight words and point them out constantly!

Sight words are everywhere. There is a reason that they are what they are. They are all over text and should be all over your room. During shared reading or interactive writing, stop and point them out. Kids can highlight in their own paper books, too. We loved using printable books like my decodable readers for this purpose!

Sight Word Practice Pages

If you are looking for more sight word practice, these are great for homework, morning work, or for small group time as you focus on specific words!

Do your students struggle with sight words? Here are 4 Simple Tips to Help Make Sight Words Stick, plus a FREEBIE!

Grab my sight word practice pages HERE.

What do you do in your classroom to help make sight words stick? I’d love to hear!! 

Do your students struggle with sight words? Here are 4 Simple Tips to Help Make Sight Words Stick, plus a FREEBIE!

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Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? This FREE guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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17 Responses

    1. Hi Maree! They are a free download for my email subscribers! If you would like to be on my email list, you will be given a link to download them automatically! 🙂

  1. I learned this from my long term two-week sub! She wrote the sight word on an index card, pinned it to the wall by the door at the students’ height, and had them say the word and touch it with their hand on the way out the door every time! I for sure noticed a big difference in them remembering those sight words!

  2. I have a question about hanging to many visuals in your classroom.
    I have seen classrooms that are covered wall to wall with charts, words, quotes, etc. I asked several young students what they thought about having pictures , words all over the walls. They said that you just learn to ignore it!! They didn’t really read it much!!
    I am a visual learner and don’t like too much visual input. Can too many visual aids be chaos?

    1. Barb, I totally think too many visuals can be distracting! What I loved doing was stacking my anchor charts. So I had set places that I always hung our anchor charts and then after we ran out of spots, I would stack them on top of each other. Then, if we needed to refer back to one, I would simply lift the ones in front so we could all see it and talk about them. Another option is to put them on rings and use 3M hooks to hang them on the walls! I did this with our shared reading poems each week! The kids could take them down, flip them, and hang them back up, too! It was great! This helped us to keep our focus and new learning on top always, but to also have the option of referring back to our old learning. 🙂

  3. We have a trampoline in our room. The students jump on the trampoline while reading the sight word wall. They choose a word, read it, spell it and use it in a sentence. If they’re only learning letters and sounds then I have them read a letter someone points to and say the letter sound. You could differentiate more by having the student say a word that begins with the letter sound.

  4. I post a list of our sight words that have been introduced beside the hall outside the bathroom door and the kids leave the bathroom, get their drink and stop by to read sight words before lining up to wait for others. This works great as often there are small groups with different levels of mastery for words helping each other! We also use the Higgety Biggetty bumble bee song to practice sight words each day. It incorporated song and movement!

  5. We have a fun way of incorporating our sight words into another “spot” in our room. We hung a small mailbox near the door that we fill it with a new sight word weekly. When the children enter the classroom, they select a word from the mailbox and sign in with their name and the sight word. It’s an opportunity for them to read it and write it and for their parents to be abreast of what word we are working on (always helpful). I LOVE your posts and ideas! I feel so inspired learning from you. Thank you for all you do!

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