Teaching Kids to Spell: Sight Words

You and your child can have fun spelling the sight words, words like those that your child writes all the time. Put them on scraps of paper or use commercial flashcards and then use them for “watch and write” spelling activities. Here are some easy things to try:

vision and writing
The simplest way for your child to learn to spell is to look at a word and then write it a few times. Have him do this using ten visible words at a time and play “look and write” games with them:
Get ten visible words on ten pieces of paper. Have your child spread it face down and then ask him to flip each word, peek at it, and then write it down on his paper.
Have your child put the ten words in a pile and ask him to turn each word over, look at it quickly, and then write it down.
Hold the words facing a fan, and ask your child to choose a word, peek at it, and write it down.
Hold the ten words facing a fan, ask him to select one word without looking at it, and then take three guesses on the word he chose. If he guesses correctly, he peeks at it and writes it down. Keep working until he has done all ten words.

Hide and seek
Most children like to hide and search, but young children, in particular, like to search for their words. Hide the ten words around the house and direct your child to them with hot and cold instructions. You know, when she gets close to a word, tell her it’s getting hotter, and when she moves away from the word, tell her it’s getting colder. When she finds all the words, dictate that she writes them down.
Clock racing
If your child wants a challenge, bring out your watch or stopwatch. You can blow a whistle to start it too. Set a time for him to win, dictate the ten words to write. Or you can limit his time to write the words in the first dictation and then have him try to beat his time with each successive dictation. You can play any of the “see and write” or “hide and seek” games against the clock.
keep track
Your child wants to know he’s doing well, he wants to feel proud of himself, and he needs you to show that you’re proud of him too. The best way to track and acknowledge his progress is through visual reminders. In other words, you need a progress chart. You can make a pie chart or a line graph, if you come in handy on the keyboard, or a simple graph that your child sticks stickers on is perfectly fine.
A good way to start tracking progress is to have a ten-week plan, which simply means that you plan to guide your child through ten new words each week for ten weeks, and then draw those weeks out on poster paper. You can draw ten circles to be filled with ten stickers or stars each week, or a bar graph converted into ten bars of ten units each. Better yet, try drawing a line up to the moon for your child to color in or stick stickers on to see if they can spell the space. You can even make a picture out of 100 pieces that you need to color, have a marble bowl filled with 100 balls or have 100 stickers to stick on the door.
Make the most of your media
You can use different materials – such as paint, crayons, and shaving foam – to write the words so that the spelling is more fun. Get a large tray and use some sand, sugar, cream, shaving foam, pudding, clay, or rice. Have your child write their letters in whatever tasty or sloppy medium they choose or have them create letters into words from modeling compound or pastry mix. Get a selection of colors and types and branch into bubble, rainbow or shadow characters for effect. Bubble letters are the chubby kind that kids love to draw, rainbow letters are letters written in different colors, usually color by color, and 3D shadow letters appear.
games to go
These easy activities and games are perfectly suited for those times when you are waiting for soccer practice or a game of cake pop. You may remember some of them from your childhood.
direct oral spelling
Although it’s not actually a game, you might be surprised to learn how much your child likes direct spelling, especially if he’s already practiced the words and is absolutely sure he gets them right. He really loves that you ask him to spell it out loud. In the car, in the supermarket, or in the elevator, ask him to spell a few words for you. Younger, lively kids will want to get involved in this event as well.
Oral spelling with a subject
Think of a topic such as words that end in singular or have more than three syllables, and take turns saying and spelling them. This activity works well with two or more children, and you can make the topics easier for younger children.
Boxes
Chests are more interactive than some games, and the more your child plays, the better the game they can give you. Start by drawing a square grid of points, 4 points by 4 points (16 points in total). Take turns drawing individual lines between two adjacent points. You can draw vertically or horizontally but not diagonally. Your goal is to complete more squares than your opponent. When you complete a square by adding the fourth side to a three-sided square, you place your tick inside your box (usually your first) and you get another turn. “So,” you ask, “Where is the spelling?” Give your child five free spins to start the game, if he spells five words correctly.
words on your back
Do you have a child with a vacant back? Write a word on it with your finger. Type the first letter a few times until it finds out what it is, then do the same with the remaining letters. When your child has figured out the whole word, turn around and give your back to the proverb.
picture words
Words like jumping, walking, and eating are useful to mess around with. Ask your child to draw and round the words to make them sound as he says them. Some characters can jump off a jump, and a pair of feet can be added to the bottom k; Food can be placed on a plate. Let your child come up with good ideas again, about, down, drink, grow, light, small, tent, and two.