First grade students benefit from learning to read words quickly and automatically. This is especially true of high-frequency words (words that appear frequently in written language, and which often do not follow phonetic rules). The key to learning these words, of course, is having lots of exposure to them with repeated practice. But if you’re puzzled as to how to go beyond the basic flashcard approach to sight word practice, here’s an activity that can help! In this “out-of-the-box” approach to practicing sight words, practice looks a lot like play!
What You Do:
- Spread out the puzzle pieces on a flat surface, and flip each piece over to the back side.
- Use the marker to write a sight word on the back of each puzzle piece. (Note: Your child can assist with this step, too. Just be sure that each word is written neatly, clearly and with correct spelling.)
- Now, have your child put the puzzle together! After he reads a word on a puzzle piece, he may flip it over to look at the image on the other side and add it to the puzzle. If it’s a hard word for him, tell him what it is, but leave it with the word visible so he can come back to it later. Soon, the puzzle will be finished, and so will your child’s sight word practice!
Some common first grade sight words include: the, from, at, him, her, she, that, there, is, it, in, you, your, out, are, give, by, put, what, look, little, let, some, has, going, as, for, had, how, then, my, said.
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.