Power Up Your Child’s Sight Word Practice – Part 2

In Power Up Your Child’s Sight Word Practice – Part 1 we discussed one effective strategy for identifying which sight words may interfere with your child’s reading fluency.  Here in Part 2 we move into a slightly more engaging way to improve sight word recognition, especially recognition of those words that you uncovered in Part 1.


If your child has reading difficulties, sight word trouble is likely part of the story. Try Sight Word Slam, one of three powerful strategies to help ensure sight word fluency.

Sight Word Slam


For this you’ll want a pack or two of index cards, a pen and some crayons.



Step 1) Create a deck of sight words.  Write one sight word per index card, using words that are at your child’s level.  You’ll want to play with a minimum of 20 cards but larger decks increase the fun (and the practice).  Your deck should include a mix of easy-to-read and slightly challenging words.  If you’re not sure what these are, refer to Part 1.

Note: Be aware that some students have difficulty with the contrast of black ink on a white background.  If using pure white index cards, consider using a blue pen, or your child’s favorite color, when you write the sight words on each card.


Step 2) Before we get to the slam part of Sight Word Slam, let’s see if any of the words in the deck create confusion for your child.


Show one sight word to your child at a time.  Create 2 piles based on how your child reads the words back to you.

  • One pile, “the easy word pile,” is for any card that your child reads instantly and correctly.
  • The second pile, “the tricky word pile,” is for words that your child either reads incorrectly or hesitates before reading correctly.



Step 3) Take a card from the tricky word pile.  Ask your child to practice this challenging sight word in 3 steps:

  • First, trace each letter of the word with a crayon, saying the SOUNDS of the letters while tracing. (Sight word sounds don’t always play by the rules here, so guide your child as best you can.)
  • Next, trace over the crayon markings of the letters with a finger, feeling the texture of the crayon while saying the SOUNDS of the letters while tracing.
  • Finally, read the sight word out loud.

Repeat step 3 for all of the tricky words.


Step 4)  Review “the tricky word pile” again as you did in step 2.  Place any of the newly mastered words into “the easy word pile.”   Continue practicing any words that your child still struggles with until they, too, land in “the easy word pile.”  Now you have your deck.



Step 5) Take turns being the dealer.  Dealer holds the deck, words facing down.  Deal one card at a time, face up in clear reach of both of you. 

IMPORTANT: Be sure that your child always reads each card right side up.

The first person to first read the word correctly, then slam the card with their hand gets to keep the card.  If you slam the card but read it incorrectly, your opponent keeps the card.  After dealing the final card, the person with the most cards wins!


Have fun. Power Up Your Child’s Sight Word Practice, Part 3 is next.