Sight Word Center Ideas That Students Will Actually Love

All teachers of early elementary students can tell you that sight words are a huge part of their reading curriculum. What exactly are they? Sight words are words that children should be able to recognize instantly without sounding them out. They are common words found in many texts, and students become very familiar with them. However, they can often be tricky to read and spell since many do not follow common patterns.

Sights words are essential for learning to read with fluency and confidence. Flashcards are a common way to practice sight words, but fortunately, there are other (more fun!) ways as well. 

Centers are a perfect way for students to practice skills in the elementary classroom. Children benefit from working in small groups, as they learn how to collaborate and solve problems as a team. Teachers also benefit from the opportunity to work with small groups or individual students while the rest of the class is engaged in centers. Younger students can move between different activities during centers, keeping them engaged as they learn. Sight words centers are an ideal tool to increase your student’s knowledge of sight words!

There are hundreds of centers you can create to practice sight words, and many are very simple. For example, rainbow words are a fun way to practice writing their words. You can use many different mediums, such as watercolors, markers, or colored pencils. Students write each of the words in different colors. For the youngest students, they can use different colors to trace the words.

 Another option for a center is using magnets to build sight words. A simple cookie sheet provides a tray for students to work on, and they can manipulate the letters to make their words. For a little more sensory play, you can have students create their words with play-doh, then read them to each other. This activity also builds finger strength, which is great for handwriting skills. 

Looking for some no-prep sight word center activities to add to your rotation? I’ve got you! 

These Sight Word Worksheets are perfect for kindergarten students to complete independently during sight word centers.

sight word center

The bundle includes 40 pages of sight word practice that can be used in clear pouches for dry-erase activities, or printed for pencil and paperwork. 

sight word center

Another sight word center option is the Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions resource.

sight word center

This digital learning bundle includes over 90 pages of sight word practice as students find the words, answer questions, and more. The activities are completed in Google Drive, making it a perfect fit for a computer center or as a distance learning activity.

sight word center

 

Love these center ideas? Check out these math center ideas! 

I hope your students love these center ideas! What is your favorite way to work on sight words? Let me know in the comments!


 

How To Have Fun With Phonics

Phonics are an important part of early reading instruction, and therefore a big part of kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Making connections between written and spoken letters and sounds is absolutely necessary in learning to read, so phonics lessons are well worth the time! In order to teach young students most effectively, a broad range of activities are needed. Children love variety, and luckily there are plenty of ways to teach phonics! 

Learning the relationships between letters and sounds can be- well- a not so interesting topic. In order to keep kids excited and learning, teachers can incorporate fun activities. Phonics lessons can include a broad range of styles, so there are lots of options when choosing the best activities for your class. 

Here are some of my favorite activities for teaching phonics. 

One of the easiest, yet most effective strategies is to use songs! Jack Hartmann phonics songs are easily available on the web, and your students will love singing along while they are learning. 

Another fun activity is frog hop blending. Students can move a toy frog (or a finger) along individual sounds, then blend them together to make a word. 

Make and take books are a perfect option to practice phonics skills and word families at home. Students can create the books at school and practice reading the sounds at home. Throughout the year, you may choose to focus on different word families that the kids can read to their parents. 

As students become more skilled with phonics, you may want to try word building and sentence building activities. They can use familiar letter sounds to create new words, and eventually create entire sentences. 

Looking for a variety of phonics activities for daily use? I have you covered! Check out my Phonics Worksheets for Kindergarten and First Grade

phonics

This bundle includes an entire year’s worth of daily lessons. 

Here are just a few of the resources included: 

  • letter identification 
  • letter sounds
  • building words
  • word family work
  • building sentences
  • writing stories 
  • Sight word lists
  • ABC letter cards
  • Word family books
  • Phonics pocket phones

phonics

With one easy download you’ll be ready to tackle these lessons each day with time-tested strategies.

For more reading strategies, check out my post here! 

What are your favorite reading activities? Let me know in the comments!

phonics

 


 

How to Celebrate Read Across America

Read Across America  (RAA) always falls on Theodor Geisel’s birthday without coincidence.  The goal was to create a day to motivate children to read and to celebrate the joys of reading. RAA has been linked to the classic Dr. Seuss books for years with schools dressing up as characters, sharing his work, and cooking green eggs and ham. Ever since Dr. Seuss has been linked to major criticism with allegations that The Cat in the Hat and other Seuss books are racist, the National Education Association let loose of Seuss.  They want all kids to see themselves in popular culture.  Now they are celebrating reading with diverse books during the event.

Even though a child who might bring in their favorite Dr. Seuss book to share with their classmates on their “Show and Tell” day should never be discouraged to share their love of a book, change can be good! This post is not to bash or support Dr. Seuss. Educators are trained professionals and should be trusted to use what is best for their students to promote reading with students. I personally used his work in the past to teach positive lessons about inclusion, social justice, and responsibility for years. However, I encourage you to look and listen to both viewpoints before you move forward with your reading week celebrations to form an intelligent conclusion about what types of books should be included in your week.

Read Across America Dress Up Day Ideas

Everyone loves to include dress-up days during the reading week.  Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Dress for Success
  • Rainbow Day (Reading is Colorful… Diverse books)
  • Hat Day
  • Camouflage Day (read books about animals)
  • Neon Day (Reading makes you BRIGHT… Science books)
  • Wacky Day (Wear clothes backward, mismatched, crazy hair)
  • Character Day (Dress up like your favorite book character)
  • Pajama Poem Day
  • Wax Museum Biography Dress Up Day

Magic School Bus

FRESH Read Across America Activities

My favorite reading celebration activity now is to have a Book Tasting!
This is where students get to read a little (a taste) of different book genres.  You can use any books you have access to from the library.  Students read them for a few minutes and then switch to a different genre.  This does require a little prep to set up the room to look like a restaurant, but this resource can help you out! It is a fun escape room with the book tasting! You can have it low key with the printed placemat or go all fancy with students dressing nice and you dressing up as a hostess or waiter.

Book Tasting Escape Room

Wacky Week Ideas

Do you love Wacky Wednesday? Why not do a whole WACKY week of reading activities?

For math, have wacky reading word problems to solve. Invite students to create a wacky animal with different animal parts.  Then, they can write about their animal with details. Using any rhyming book, have students create a wacky rhyme. Use mystery pictures of hidden objects that are out of place for students to find. Make a day of Where is Wacky Waldo and share those books. Mess your room up with an upside-down clock or socks sticking out of the tissue box, see if the kids even notice during the week.

Try a Wacky Digital Escape with your students! This one has riddles, puzzles, hidden pictures in art, and non-sense word activities. If you are virtual, let them wear their favorite wacky hat while they do the escape.

March Themed Activities

Finding reading resources that are March-themed can be used with any book during the week.  You can do a reading Write the Room activity with words like library, spine, characters, fiction, etc…  Rhyming words, nonsense words, St. Patrick’s Day-themed activities in any subject area can inspire reading across curricular.  Students can take a reading pledge and get certificates or bookmarks to encourage reading. March is a great time to introduce reading about hot air balloons.  The season for hot air balloon rides runs from April to October. Kids are fascinated with them!  Curious Gorge has a book about hot air balloons.  Others include The Great Balloon Hullaballoo, The Noon Balloon, The sky Above my Eyes, and My Hot Air Balloon.

Free Reading Pledge Printables

Some teachers use a circus theme in primary grades to promote reading during the week celebration.  Their activities included books about animals, popcorn, snacks during reading/writing time, animal and clown crafts, guest story readers, dress-up clown day, Write the Room activities where students look for book titles, and ended with a reading carnival with prizes and games.

elephant hatElephant Hat – Never Forget Reading Rocks

What’s the Point?

The purpose of having Read Across America is to get your students reading! Not just to read, but to enjoy it, love it, and want MORE! Whatever theme you choose, make sure you are sharing your joy of reading books with your students.  Then, watch them grow.

Grab a FREE Reading Pledge and bookmarks

Read more about using Theme Days to Teach in Elementary

Let us know what activities you will be doing to encourage reading!

 

Homework Ideas For Kindergarten

Homework is a tricky topic in most schools, especially in the younger grades. Homework in kindergarten is sometimes completely forbidden by the school, left up to the teacher, or required for all students. In my experience, homework for kindergarten students can be beneficial. It can reinforce the skills learned in the classroom and get parents involved in the learning process. However, it must be developmentally appropriate for our youngest learners. 

In order for homework to be perfect for kindergarten, it must be short enough to maintain students’ attention.

Pages and pages of written work will frustrate kids, and busy parents do not want to complete more school work for hours each evening. Short, meaningful assignments will keep kids and parents engaged. They will also be more likely to positively influence learning. 

In addition to the amount of time assignments take, the content of the assignments is also important to consider for kindergarten students. Research has shown again and again that reading with a parent (and independently) for 15-20 minutes daily is extremely beneficial to young learners. So reading together is probably the most important part! 

Assignments should also reinforce basic skills with targeted practice. It is not the time for learning completely new concepts. Additionally, assignments with oral components are perfect for kindergarten students. As they interact and talk with their caregivers, they are learning important communication skills. They are also cementing their understanding of the concepts they’ve been learning at school. 

So- short, meaningful, targeted homework that involves parents seems to be the perfect recipe for kindergarten.

That’s a lot to think about when making assignments. If you don’t have the time to plan and prepare assignments that fit your needs for homework- my Kindergarten Homework Packets might be the answer! 

homework

This bundle includes homework packets for the entire year. They are editable, but can also be printed and used immediately. The homework packets are set up to go home every three weeks. You choose three books to send home with each packet, and your students will have everything they need for meaningful homework. 

homework

Sight words as well as Common Core standards for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies are all addressed throughout the year. Activities include written and oral activities that are perfect for school-home connections. Your students will enjoy their homework, and you can rest assured that it is appropriate and engaging. 

homework
For more kindergarten ideas, check out my morning work ideas here! 

What are your thoughts on homework in kindergarten? Let me know in the comments!