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5 Sensory Ideas for Sight Word Learning

Support your early reader with these hands-on, active learning ideas for mastering sight words.
on June 11, 2018

If you have an early reader in your family, chances are you’re working together on learning sight words, which are words that appear frequently in written and verbal communication. Many sight words are irregularly spelled and therefore difficult for children to decode or sound out phonetically, which is why most reading programs recommend that children learn to recall these words automatically. 

There are many different ways to learn sight words but, generally speaking, the more opportunities a child has to engage with a set of words, the more likely they will be able to recall them quickly and correctly at first "sight." One fun way to help your child learn sight words is by providing her with opportunities for active, hands-on learning that helps to connect her brain with her body — the act of connecting with the word physically helps to reinforce what the word looks and sounds like, and the five sensory play ideas shared below help to do just that.

5 Sensory Ideas for Sight Word Learning

1. Have fun rolling play dough snakes and have your child use the snakes to form the letters to construct each word.

2. Invite your child to shape the letters of each word from pipe cleaners, arranging them in the correct sequence to form the word. You can then mix the letters back up and invite your child to unscramble the word as quickly as he can.

3. Spread a layer of table salt over a large baking pan or decorative tray and invite your child to write each word with her finger. Add a little extra magic by following our instructions for creating a glittery sensory writing tray.

4. Create a Sight Words Ladder Run (check this post to see how) to engage your child’s whole body with his sight words list.

5. Be inspired by this Superhero Knockdown Game, using sight words instead of letters. This energetic game is particularly fabulous for children who learn best when they are up and active.

For even more ideas to support your beginning or struggling reader, you can find 50 more playful sight words activity ideas over at Childhood 101.

Featured Photo Credit: © nafterphoto/shutterstock

About this blog

In the Raise a Reader blog, get advice, tips, and resources from our expert contributors on helping your child read at every age and stage. Each week, find book recommendations, literacy activities, and more to spark your reader's interests.

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