When it comes to teaching sight words in educational therapy, or in any educational setting, really, we either find ourselves a nice little premade set of flashcards, or we go through quite a bit of tedious cutting and writing and creating DIY flashcards of our own. It’s not the least bit exciting, which is why today’s game really makes me happy!
In case you missed them, Game 1 helps children build visual spatial skills. Game 2 helps strengthen rhythm and beat. I also shared why those skills are so important for our students with learning differences to develop.
When it comes to sight words, which are words that we typically have to memorize in order to read and spell correctly, you probably already know why they are so important. If reading sight words doesn’t eventually become automatic, then reading in general is going to suffer.
And how much do YOU love flashcards? Yeah, me either. Since our students with reading and learning difficulties often struggle with sight words, it is my pleasure to share…
Game #3: Zingo Sight Words
Zingo is a bit like bingo. Zingo does offer non-sight word versions of the game as well, but today we only want to talk sight words.
One of the most entertaining bits of this game is the Zinger, or the fun little contraption that the word tiles go into. Slide the Zinger forward and two word tiles magically appear.
Speaking of the word tiles, they are the perfect, most adorable little size for children’s hands, which make them fun and easy to manipulate. Fair warning, if you have infants around, the tiles could become a choking hazard, so use caution.
Once the two word tiles appear, players want to be the first to find that word on their game card, if it’s there, and say the word out loud. That player then claims the word tile and places it on top of the word on their card. The first to fill up their card wins. You can also play only 3 in a row, or all 4 corners, just to mix it up and make the game go faster if you wish.
Keep in mind that Zingo Sight Words is designed for early learners who are just learning to read and recognize sight words. For our older students in therapeutic intervention settings, this game is not overly young looking to turn them off to it.
That said, you could find plenty of ways just to use the tiles by themselves in order to reinforce sight word recognition. For instance, place the tiles in a cloth bag. Let your child pull out and identify one sight word at a time. It’s not really a game in that sense, but it is good practice.
Another alternative would be to show your child three sight word tiles at a time, hide the words after three seconds, and then see if your child can remember all three. If that’s too easy, try four, and so on.
Remember silly sight word sentences? Use the tiles, perhaps two or three of them that you pull out of that cloth bag, and create as many sentences as you can.
Those are just a few ideas. I’m sure you can think of more.
What I Love About Zingo Sight Words
First of all, goodbye flashcards.
Game play is fast.
It also builds concentration and processing speed, as a happy side effect.
It’s easy to play. Nothing too complicated here, so the focus is really only on the sight words themselves.
It includes 2 levels, for 2-6 players, which means everyone can play together.
It strengthens memory of sight words, of course, but that means it also strengthens memory in general.
It requires a bit of visual discrimination in order to match the word tiles with the words on the game cards. This offers good practice.
The words on the game cards include fun graphics to aid in recognition and keep it visually appealing.
It’s appropriate for multiple ages, especially those who are having difficulty learning sight words.
I’m not an affiliate, but if you’re interested in learning more you can check out Zingo Sight Words at Fat Brain Toys (one of my favorite places, by the way).