Activities and Lessons
for Language Arts

Sight Words Game: Flash Cards in Disguise
~ Lori Jackson

I have been doing lots of reflection on how to increase reading rate, and we are just getting started as a district in taking this on. When it comes to automaticity, I think it is a bit like math facts. Whether it is truly fact recall or speedy derivation, it does not matter as long as it is efficient. We are really putting an emphasis on word study in our lower grades--not the learning of words, but the learning of spelling patterns. I still believe that is more important than memorizing lists. That said, there has to be a bank of commonly known words for a child to use to anchor reading and that bank has to grow.

One flashcard game that I sent home with primary kids was simple beyond belief and although I laughingly called it 'flashcards in disguise', the kids did not tire of it. Imagine a 9x12 inch sheet of construction paper divided into six equal spaces (2x3 grid), each space labeled with a number from one to six. In a baggie, what are truly flashcards--called game cards-- which were the sight words under study (in duplication, so each word appeared more than once). Cards are shuffled and distributed face down to the six spaces. A die is tossed and a card is drawn from the corresponding stack. If you read it, you keep it. If others read it, fine and dandy, but it goes back in the stack. Winner has the most cards. Can be extended with word sorts.

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