Sight word lessons kindergarten

5 Easy Mini-Lessons to Teach Sight Words – KindergartenWorks

When it comes to teaching sight words there a lot of different approaches. Here's how I like to teach a sight word in 5 minutes for 5 days to kindergarten.

Teach sight words interactively with these five easy mini-lessons.

Let me share why, how and what sight words we focused on - that way you get the entire picture.

Why teach sight words in kindergarten

In kindergarten, we teach how to read/recognize words simply by seeing them. Just as you see a face and recognize it with someone's name attached.

It's automatic. It's an instantaneous response.

Well, it may not be that automatic in kindergarten (or at least at the beginning, for sure) but that's the goal of teaching sight words anyways.

Sight words are usually words that our kindergarten students will run into over and over and could potentially see them in print dozens of times in a day. Sometimes people call them high-frequency words, popcorn words or even star words. Teachers like to come up with many names for things like that, don't you know?

The reason we teach sight words in kindergarten? Because they are reading in kindergarten!

Teaching sight words helps them to read more fluently, fluidly and write more efficiently too.

How to teach sight words

Let me preface that this is my routine that I planned and then tweaked over the years. It was my goal to teach a sight word each week and I wanted to use repetition to my advantage.

My thinking was - the more they see it, use and can be it - the quicker they'll learn it... and the increased likelihood that it'll stick past just that week.

Of course this little list I'm including isn't the only time I ever mentioned sight words. But for the sake of sharing with you - it's the bulk of my teaching sight words whole group.

I simply did one of these each day and fell into a Monday-Friday routine.

It made lesson planning easy for the entire 5 minutes each of these mini-lessons took.

1. Create a tune or a story

Can you sing Mary Had a Little Lamb? Then you can totally use this strategy to teach sight words.

Simply replace the lyrics of a nursery rhyme or familiar tune with the letters spelling the sight word.

Want me to make all of the songs up for you? Check out my sight word songs. Your students will come away with a strong core of 24+ words they can read and spell.

Another option is to create a story for the way the word looks.

The "story" is simply a meaningful way to attach the visual look of the word to the spelling.

Here's an example:

When teaching said - I'd say, "Listen to what these vowels are trying to say. /e/ /e/ The a and the i are trying to be the letter e. They aren't allowed to do that. They are so naughty they should be locked up in jail." And I would talk draw a square with vertical lines (like a jail cell door) on top of the ai.

I'm creating a story to go with the visual look of the word.

That way I can cue them to remember that they are being naughty when a kinder comes across it when reading. I can also cue them, "You want to write the word said? Aren't there some naughty letters in that word that are trying to say /e/? Who was it that we needed to lock up in jail?"

Often they can recall the look of the word and remember it's an a and an i hiding behind the jail door. Of course that isn't expecting a very automatic response from my students, but it's a strategy to build up the skill.

Basically for the first day, I'd introduce and sing. Or I'd introduce and create a story for the new sight word based on its graphemes (like I did for said) or its look.

2. Use manipulatives to build it

Just because you taught a song, chant or story to "teach" what the sight word looks like or remember how it's spelled - that's not enough.

You need to explore what it looks like by changing it and coming back to the original.

Pull out your magnetic letters, playdough or letter tiles under your document camera. Review your song or story and have students help build the word.

Then choose a letter (or letters) to switch out. So - take your word "the" and turn it into "tne". Have students identify what's wrong.

You can also mix up a letter or two and have them identify and rearrange them back into the correct order. Repeat.

Pull this off with a little teaching drama (like they are contestants on The Price is Right) or have them close their eyes in between the switcheroo.

Be sure to always come back to the correct spelling and review your song or story as discussed earlier.

3. Find it in print

Your kinders need to see the word in print. That means not just on a word wall card (though that's good too) but in actual print, surrounded by other words, separated by spaces.

There are a couple different ways to do this. You can do one or do them all.

You attack this one whole group using a big book or shared reading experience. I liked to have my students clap, snap, stomp or wiggle (something kinesthetic) when my finger landed on the sight word as we were reading.

It's easy to have them finger frame or use word windows to find the word in print during small group reading lessons.

Reward kinders for finding the word in print during some independent reading time. You could give out high fives, smelly spots or even a single M&M (some kinda incentive) for finding it.

Review the song or story when wrapping up your whole group or small group mini lesson for good measure.

4. Form the letters with bodies

Ah, this one speaks to that fact that kinders need to move.

Sometimes we'd form letters in teams to make sight words - but more often than not - we'd simply transform ourselves into letters right there on our classroom rug.

After I'd sprinkle or blow some letter dust across my classroom, we'd magically become letters.

I'd invite a student or two to share with us how they think each letter could be formed with their body. Picture: "How could you make the letter f with your body? Is it easier to make the uppercase F or lowercase f?"

We'd sing the song or spell out the word slowly, morphing from one letter into another and giggling the entire time.

It was fun. Lowercase e's were always the trickiest {wink}

5. Skywrite

Writing the letters of the sight word in the air using GIANT letter strokes is what I like to call skywriting. It's another kinesthetic way of teaching how a sight word looks in print.

We skywrite the word while singing or spelling the word out slowly.

I'd change it up from just using arms for skywriting every once in a while to using another body part - like feet, elbows or tummies - just to keep things fresh. Or try it with eyes closed. That's a good one.

An alternative version of this is playing a partner-style game. They are going to be tracing the word (or last week's sight word) onto their partner’s back with their finger. The partner has to guess which word was spelled out.

That's it?

Pretty much.

The only other whole group activity we did was go over the entire list of sight words using a chant. Kinda like you'd review the alphabet chart everyday - well, we did that with our sight words too. That's also included in my sight word songs bundle and is super handy.

I will say that in addition to these mini lessons listed here we talked about sight words in our reading groups and our writing time too. I'm not going to miss out on a chance to reinforce the word!

They'd also see the sight word the following week in the abc center and our pokey pinning center.

Of course I didn't have to teach just one sight word a week. There were a dozen weeks that we doubled up and I taught two a week to the whole class (like I'd add a color word).

And I'd add more words in our small reading groups for those who were ready for it. Makes sense, right?

What sight words to teach in kindergarten?

This seems to be a very subjective question. Ask 12 kindergarten teachers and get 12 different answers.

But since you're here on my blog, let me share my list with you {wink}

I started with a core set of 24 sight words.

first name, I, me, my, the, like, a, see, so, to, am, an, and, at, do, he, no, we, in, it, is, can, up, she, go

Once most of the class had that list mastered, we'd move on to learning 24 more. Some students would already be working on this list in small groups (or have worked past it).

last name, these, down, yellow, purple, they, said, are, there, day, love, blue, black, green, look, red, pink, this, have, brown, you, here, play, orange

Many teachers have to follow what their curriculum says. Others like to use the Fry word list of 100 words to work from. I happened to have some flexibility with picking my list.

Sight words on demand

Today's kindergarten is yesterday's first grade.

In fact, I never wanted to teach first grade because I didn't want the weight of having to teach someone how to read. Ha, little did I avoid that {wink}

No matter what sight words in kindergarten you teach - make them meaningful and get them in front of your kinders as much as possible.

Here are my tips for making the most out of your classroom to support teaching sight words so that students can read and write them.

This way you can maximize the time you just spent teaching those sight words to the rest of the day in the classroom.

Make a screensaver sight word slideshow

Here's an idea that you can do to keep words rotating in front of your kiddos - literally:

Create a slideshow with your sight words and have them be the screensaver on your classroom computers.

Smart sight word placement

Let's be real - where you place sight words matters.

If they only exist in one place in the classroom - like the word wall or a whole group chart - then you'll be missing out on maximizing your classroom space efficiently.

Here are 3 places to consider to maximize exposure to high-frequency words for your kinders:

Writing folders or journals

Students need to use sight words when they are writing. This is crucial, just as it is when learning to read.

So - keep their sight words handy in their writing folders, or writing journals - whatever you use to have them keep their writing work in.

We kept a copy of the sight word chant right in their folder - hole punched and in the folder clasps.

Students could recite the chant by heart and stop on the word they needed to pick it out to write.

Guided reading group mats

We used work mats during our guided reading groups to work on more skills in a small group setting.

We kept our sight word chants in the bound mats - to go over and use as needed during warm-up activities, reading leveled books and wrap-up activities.

Have the words nearby when students are actually reading!

Teach them how to use sight words to their advantage when learning to read just as you would teach them to use the alphabet chart.

Daily whole group notebooks

To keep things as interactive as possible, each student had a simple composition notebook for our whole group phonics time.

They would bring these and their pencil boxes every day to the whole group carpet as part of our routine.

When we would be doing the alphabet chart, they would be following along on their copy that was shrunk and pasted into their notebook's inside cover.

When we would be doing the sight word chant, they would be following along on their copy that was shrunk and pasted into their notebook's inside back cover.

Doing this takes this sight word chart, which otherwise would only be available for the teacher to handle, and makes it mini-sized.

It places it directly in front of them gave them more access to it, made it more "theirs" and they could also get this anytime they needed the reference material.

Let's wrap it up

It's my goal here on KindergartenWorks to help you think, organize and teach the way you want to.

With the big picture of why, how and what sight words we taught in our kindergarten classroom... it's my hope that you can be more successful in teaching sight words.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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The Best Tips to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarteners


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It’s important for beginning readers to develop a bank of sight words to support their early reading. If you’re wondering how to teach sight words to kindergarteners and preschoolers, it’s a task that can be done, but it will definitely take time. Read on for some great tips to get them started early.

What are Kindergarten Sight Words?

Sight words are also referred to as “high frequency words” because they are words that appear most frequently in texts. 

Some examples of early sight words are “the,” “I,” “a,” and “am.” As children progress with their reading, they can begin to work towards recognizing longer sight words, such as “they,” “said,” “where,” and “have.”

The goal is for children to recognize sight words instantly, without needing to devote much effort to sound them out. This frees up their efforts for words that require more strategies to solve. 

For example, a book written for a beginning reader may include the sentence starter, “I am” on each page, with endings such as “swimming” or “running” completing each sentence. Children with a well-developed bank of sight words can instantly and effortlessly recognize the words “I” and “am. ” 

This allows them to focus their word-solving strategies on the final word in the sentence. They may use strategies such as making the first sound and looking at the picture cue.

When to Teach Kindergarten Sight Words

Not every child is ready for sight words at the same time. Similar to talking and walking, learning sight words is a developmental stage that children begin at different ages. Usually, it should not be before about five years of age. 

Before learning sight words, make sure the child has developed pre-reading behavior. Once your child begins showing an interest in letters and words, it indicates that a child is growing closer to reading.

Children are not required to recognize every letter before they begin learning sight words. A few letters and their sounds will let them get started with pre-primer sight words.

How to Teach Sight Words to Kindergarten

It can take time for children to learn sight words depending on their age, motivation, and cognitive skills. However, teaching kindergarten sight words with the right strategies can help any child to improve quickly. 

If you’re looking for how to teach sight words to kindergarteners or preschoolers, here are some great tips and strategies to do so.

My Favorite Tips to Teach Kindergarten Sight Words

1. Start with a Small List of Words

It is easy to find lists of sight words to begin introducing to young children. However, it is important that educators do not overwhelm beginning readers with long lists of words to learn. Start with one or two words that you would like to focus on. Give children many opportunities to practice these words and solidify their learning, before introducing more words.

2. Make it Motivating

Children can be motivated to learn sight words that hold personal significance to them. For example, a child may enjoy learning how to read the word “mom” or “dad.” 

Also, achieving quick success with sight words can motivate children to keep reading. Learning sight words like “I” and “a” may be easier than other words and give children an instant boost in their reading confidence. 

3. Don’t Introduce Visually Similar Words Together

Keep in mind that children who are learning to read may find visually similar words confusing. For example, it is not uncommon for beginning readers to mix up the words “the” and “here.” 

To cut back on the confusion, do not introduce visually similar words at the same time. Also, make sure that children have a solid recall of the first word before introducing the second.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

As you introduce new sight words, it is very beneficial to continue revisiting previously learned words. Even if they seem to have mastered a word, once you introduce new words, they may forget what was previously learned.

Continue to go back and reteach or quiz your children on previously learned words to make sure that they still remember them.

Worksheets can provide children with a variety of ways to review their growing bank of sight words. Coloring, matching, writing, and reading activities all help to solidify their sight word recognition.

5. Use Books for Carry Over

A key component of learning sight words is to recognize them in context. Some children may be able to identify a sight word within a list of words or on flashcards, but when it comes up in a book, they have trouble. 

Children should be exposed to a variety of books at their current reading level that include sight words they have been practicing. Choosing “just right” books is important. 

Asking children to read books that are far too difficult can create frustration. To learn new words, practice word-solving strategies, and sight word recognition, children need experience reading books at their instructional level – not too hard, and not too easy.

As you introduce sight words, pair them with books that are filled with the words you’re focusing on. There are many texts written specifically for beginning readers that use patterns and repetition to teach sight words. 

The goal is to provide children with lots of exposure to new words and to do so in a context where they can achieve success.

Beginning readers should read the same book more than once, providing them with more opportunities for practice and developing confidence in their reading. 

6. Pair Reading and Writing with Sight Words

Another great strategy for how to teach sight words is to take advantage of the relationship between reading and writing. When children learn how to write a word, they can typically read it as well. 

As you’re teaching sight words and incorporating the use of leveled texts, consider ways to involve writing as well. One way is to use a sentence stem from a book children have just read. 

Using the earlier example of a patterned text that begins each page with “I am,” children could write their own “I am” sentence after reading the book. This provides them with practice writing two sight words. 

Letting them choose their own ending for the sentence allows them to personalize their writing. Some children may wish to go a step further than writing one sentence and can create their own “I am” book.


Use Sensory Items For Writing Sight Words

Preschoolers and kindergarteners may enjoy exploring different modalities to write words. Have them experiment with chalk, whiteboard markers, or pastels. 

They can also practice writing their words in salt trays, shaving cream, or sand. In addition to writing sight words, children can build the words using materials like magnetic letters, letter tiles, or stamps.

8. Use Visual Cues (Word Wall)

A great tool to help children remember how to write sight words is a word wall. This is a visual display of words they have been introduced to. 

Word walls can be put up on a wall or bulletin board or can be a small, personal chart kept at a child’s table or desk. It’s important to make sure that words are displayed clearly, with the letters formed correctly. Beginning readers and writers can find fancy print confusing.

Word walls are also a great way to keep track of which sight words you have introduced. They also provide another way for children to review their words.

Related Post: Printable Sight Word Flashcards

Easy Activities for Learning Kindergarten Sight Words

Sight word activities are the perfect way to introduce and reinforce kindergarten sight words. The activities can be simple to put together and still have a big impact. Here are a few of my favorites!

This Roll & Read Activity is super simple! All you need is some dice and the FREE printable. The children roll the dice, and then read the words in the column matching the number on the dice. You can use the free printable, or make your own worksheet with any sight words you are currently working on.

This would be the perfect activity for spring time – but really any time is a great time for egg activities! Simply write the sight words on the paper in the shape of an egg. Next hide the words inside the easter eggs, as your kids (or students) read the word, have them find the match on the paper.

This activity from Juggling with Kids looks so much fun! Make a little parking lot with sight words, call out a word and your little one can park the car in the correct spot. What a fun way to learn kindergarten sight words!

4. Magic Sight Words

Write sight words in white crayons on white paper. Give your students some crayons, watercolors, or markers, and let them color the sheet of paper. Watch as they are amazed at the magic word that appears! Have them read the word they just revealed.

Playdough makes everything fun! Have your kiddos form their sight words from playdough, and read the sight word they created.

Kindergarten Sight Word Games

After introducing a new word, we don’t want to abandon it before a child has had adequate opportunities to solidify its recall. Sight word games are a great way to teach sight words by reviewing and adding new words.

1. Memory

One example of a sight word game is Memory. Each word needs to be written on two flashcards. All the flashcards are turned over, face down. 

Each player takes turns choosing two cards. If they match, the player keeps the cards and gets another turn. If they don’t match, the player flips the cards back over and the next player has a turn. 

The game ends once all the cards have been matched. The winner is the player with the most matches.

Another simple sight word game is Zoom. A sight word is written on each flash card. The same word can be written on a couple flashcards if you like. 

The word “zoom” is printed on several flashcards. Players take turns choosing a card from the deck. If they choose a sight word, they read the word then place the card in their own pile. 

If they choose a “zoom” card, they get to steal everyone’s cards. Once all the cards have been chosen, the player with the biggest pile wins.

2. Sight Word Bingo

Sight Word Bingo is another way for children to review their sight words. Bingo cards made for dry-erase markers can be reused but paper and pencil also work. 

Each player needs a bingo card that has a different sight word in each box. You also need a deck of flashcards with each word written on a card. 

One person chooses a card and reads the sight word. The players look at their bingo card to see if they have the word, If so, they check it off. 

Cards continue to be chosen until a player gets “bingo.” This may be one line of words, words that create an “X” on the card, words in the four corners of the card, or even every word on the card.

Related Post: Sight Word Bingo Printables


This game could not be any simpler! All you need is a cup, some craft sticks, and a marker! Simply write the words you are practicing on the craft sticks, and add a few sticks with the word YIKES! Each child pulls out a stick and reads the word on the card. The play continues as each child reads the words on their stick. When a YIKES stick is pulled, the child is out for this round!

This is a cute and easy game for teaching kindergarten sightwords! Simply write a few sightwords on the bowling pins, the kids can take turn rolling the ball and knocking down the pins. The child who rolls the ball must read the word on the pins that are knocked down. If they read them correctly they keep the pin! Whoever has the most pins will win the game!

5. Sight Word Hide and Seek

For this activity, print out some sight word flash cards, laminate and cut out for durability, then hide the cards around the house (or classroom) when the kids find the words they must read them to you. Great idea to get those bodies moving!\

Apps to Practice Kindergarten Sight Words

Althought I think hands on activities are the best choice for learning sight words, apps do have their place in the world as well. Here are a few of my top pics for apps that will help you practice Kindergarten sight words.

You can get Reading Ninja on Itunes for just .99 this game is perfect for learning three letter Kindergarten Sight Word – definitely one of my favorites for beginners.

This app is FREE in the app store, and is perfect for practicing sight words. Your little one can practice over 300 sight words using this app – with or without sound.

This is a perfect app for little ones to be engaged in! They simply need to choose the sight word that is called out. If they get the answer correct they are celebrated by super fun letters.

Introducing children to sight words is an essential part of teaching them to read. Watching their bank of known words develop is exciting to see! As they accumulate more words that they can instantly recognize, their confidence in both reading and writing will grow.

Now that you know how to teach sight words to kindergarteners and preschoolers, you can get your children and students learning and reading in no time! Be consistent with the above strategies and they’ll love learning to read and write.

Author Bio

Alesia is a founder of, an educational website that helps elementary school teachers and homeschool parents with hands-on worksheets, activities, and thoughtful articles.

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Literature lesson in first grade: doctor_sidorov — LiveJournal

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When Sidorov was little, in kindergarten he was taught to address adults by his first name and patronymic. Not Aunt Nina, but Nina Alexandrovna. Not Uncle Petya, but Pyotr Emelyanovich. Sidorov at first did not understand why Petya's name was Peter, but then he understood. When they told him that he was not only Kolya, but also Nikolashka (don't deceive me like Paranka Yashka). nine0014 And once there was a case at their school. Nikolai Nikolaevich Ilyushin served as the head teacher there. A plump and clever uncle in a suit from a local atelier (and they sewed some fashionable clothes there). Slovnik. Once, in the first grade, he replaced the ill class teacher Evdokia Tarasovna with Sidorov and talked about synonyms in Russian. And he said a very interesting speech about the synonyms "eat", "eat", "eat", "shamat", "eat", "eat", "eat", "eat", "eat". nine0015

The word "pisat" many of Sidorov's classmates delighted, because they immediately associated it with the word "pisat". They had not read books and had never seen such a word before.

And Sidorov sat in Nikolai Nikolaevich's lesson and listened to him with all his ears. Because he had read all these words before. And the terrible head teacher became a very interesting teacher. Sidorov used to be very afraid of the head teacher, even more than the police. And after this lesson I stopped. And he even fell in love with this fat man, who treated the first graders so respectfully and in an adult way, telling them about synonyms in Russian. nine0015

A year later, at one of the ceremonial assemblies (at that time ceremonial assemblies were held in schools regularly, five or six times a year), the chairman of the Komsomol Committee of the school, leading the ceremony, had to pass the microphone to Nikolai Nikolayevich. And I forgot his last name from excitement. And according to the regulations, the surname had to be called. Then she did not lose her head, but shook her hair and cheerfully, with Komsomol enthusiasm, shouted out:
- The floor is given to our Nikolai Nikolai Nikolaevich! nine0015

Everyone clapped and rejoiced.

Tags: USSR, childhood, memory, Russian language, school


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    Early childhood is a happy time for a little person who learns peace. It is during this period that the foundation of morality is laid, spirituality, reverent attitude to folk culture, oral folk creativity, the formation of the inner world of the child takes place.

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