10 Ways To Practice Sight Words

In special education classrooms, our students often need a lot more practice and repetition in order to master skills. We need to be creative in building in different ways to practice these skills so students don't get bored and learn to generalize their skills. Here are 10 ideas for practicing sight words with your students.

In special education classrooms, our students often need a lot more practice and repetition in order to master skills. We need to be creative in building in different ways to practice these skills so students don't get bored and learn to generalize their skills. Here are 10 ideas for practicing sight words with your students.


Discrete Trials

Discrete trials are great for straightforward practice. Typically, we do this type of practice during our work centers. I take data daily at this time to track how quickly students progress and if they are able to maintain their skills when I add new words into the mix. 



Sight Word Of The Week

We focus on one sight word a week during our morning meeting. I choose a word that I want my whole class to practice.... a functional sight word,  a word most of them are struggling with, a word that goes along with our theme unit, etc.  During morning meeting, we practice reading it, spelling it and using it in sentences. 


I laminated the board and then I just ticky tack the word to the board. This allows me to take the word down quickly if a student needs to see it closer or to change it out. It also saves my Velcro and storing the cards takes up less space without Velcro attached to the back. 



Sensory Bin

You can your sensory bin to practice sight words in a variety of ways. For example, students can find a card with a word written on it and read it. Add spelling in by making students spell out the words, too. In the picture below, students found clouds with sight words on it and then spelled it out with rain drop letters. This activity is one of our weather themed unit centers. 




Writing Or Building Practice

Do you every remember something better if you write it down? Our students are the same! My students practice reading and writing their sight words with these reusable sight words tasks. They come in 2 levels so my non-writers use the letter cards to "write" the sight word.




Interactive Books

Interactive books are like gold in my classroom.... All of my students want to use them! They even choose to work for them!! When interactive books are that reinforcing to our students, then we absolutely need to use them to teach. I target all sorts of skills (life skills, math, language, etc.) with them. Here is a page from our life skills interactive book bundle that helps my students practice reading sight words and life skills vocabulary.




Easy Readers

Easy readers are prefect for teaching students to read sight words when they are not in isolation. This is also a great way to generalize sight word knowledge to a functional setting.... students need to be able to read words in phrases and sentences in order to be functional in the world. 

I like to use simple easy readers with each theme unit, to teach math and to target fluency. Here are examples of the books we use in math and with our apples & pumpkins theme unit


Many easy readers follow a predictable pattern, so they are naturally supportive for students who are just learning to read. 


Clap It Out

A quick and easy way to practice words is to clap the word out while spelling the word aloud. For example, I hold up a sight word and the student reads it. Then we clap and spell the word together. Each letter is said one by one while clapping. Students love this one and think you are just having fun You can also use it with a group.



Spelling Sight Words

The more knowledge and practice a student has with a sight word or word family, the easier it will be for them to remember the words. In this task students get to practice reading and spelling the words out. These CVC word builder cards come in two levels, so once my students are able to read the words it becomes a spelling task. 




Write The Room

As you know, my class LOVES write the room activities! It is another great way to combine learning and movement... which research says we need to do more of!! The student below is doing one of the write the room activity included in the transportation theme unit




Fluency Strips

Fluency strips are another great way to practice reading sight words when they aren't in isolation. One of the things I like about them is they aren't too overwhelming to students. It doesn't look like a lot of reading, so my students who are reluctant will engage with it. As a bonus, you can target other skills while using these fluency strips. 




Have another idea? Drop it in the comments so we can all learn!

In special education classrooms, our students often need a lot more practice and repetition in order to master skills. We need to be creative in building in different ways to practice these skills so students don't get bored and learn to generalize their skills. Here are 10 ideas for practicing sight words with your students.


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