Learning Sight Words. Gross Motor Reading Game

Sep 14, 2013

Here is a simple Sight Word Reading Game that we played the other day.

As learning sight words is all about repetition and exposure, we try to encourage the reading and writing of the words as often as possible. By turning the reading of the words into a game, you will find children suddenly want to play!

Ages: 3+
(See the Handy Tips at the bottom to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

  • Sight Words Poster (it is more meaningful if the child has made their own but any large piece of paper with the sight words written on it is fine)
  • Playdough
  • Pieces of card with each sight word written on them (optional extra)

  • Challenge the child to pick a word on the poster (which they read out)
  • They roll a small ball out of playdough
  • The child attempts to throw the playdough ball onto their chosen sight word
  • Continue until all words have been achieved 

It was more challenging to get a little ball of playdough to land exactly (and stay) on your chosen word than we'd first thought so each accomplishment was celebrated.

Maddie (aged 4) enjoyed looking over the poster each time to choose a new word. Talk with them about the characteristics of the word. You could ask questions like, What letter does it start with?, What sound does that letter make?, Can you see any smaller words in the chosen word? (ie. "at" in "that") etc.

After much trialling, it was discovered that a smaller underarm toss while kneeling was the easiest way for her to get the playdough balls onto (and to stay on!) the required words. There was a lot of gross motor, movement, coordination and concentration that took place.

There are lots of chances to practice and revisit words while you are playing by having the child read over the words they've already managed to land balls on and discuss the words that are left. 
Will certain words be trickier to land on than others? Why?

Adding to the game herself, she got the cards that I'd written the words onto and started matching them to the words on the poster.

Handy Tips:

Simplify this activity by starting it with fewer and easier sight words. Start with a few basics like, "the" and "and" or some simple 2 letter words that can be sounded-out, like "to," "me," "on," etc.  You can even go back to single letters if that's what your child is working on.

Extend this activity by:
  • First having the children make their sight word poster (like we did here)
  • Having the children make a set of sight word cards and then using them to randomly pick the words that they must land the playdough ball on
  • Using larger/harder sets of words
  • Matching sight word cards to the sight words on the poster
  • Using real balls instead of playdough. This will make it very challenging to have the ball stop exactly on the word but can work if the balls are rolled instead of thrown.

Mix it up by using the same game to help recognise and read letters, numbers, colours, shapes and so on.

- Make it a multi-player game by working in pairs or small groups. Divide the words amongst the players and use a different coloured playdough per player. Taking it in turns to choose and throw, who will be the first to land a playdough ball on all of their words?

-  More activities that help us learn sight words.
(Click the picture to take you to the post)
sight words, literacy activity, kids activity

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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