15 High Frequency Word (Sight Words) Games for Small Groups

High-frequency words, sometimes called sight words, are crucial in helping emerging readers, like kindergarteners, first graders, and other young learners, become more fluent readers. Whether you are looking for fun sight word activities for the classroom or at home, these fun games will help in learning sight words, build fluency, and engage learners!

What are high-frequency words?

High-frequency words, or sight words, are the most common words in printed English language text. These are common words students will see when reading; therefore, repeated sight word practice will help to build fluent reading.

Why are sight words crucial for kids to learn?

Sight words, or high frequency words, help to build fluent readers. Fluency consists of expression, speed, and accuracy. If kids have to stop reading to sound out each word, this can hinder their level of comprehension of the text. Therefore, learning sight words with automaticity will increase speed and accuracy and help young readers improve their reading skills.

Awesome Sight Word Activities for a Small Group Setting

Keeping activities and sight word games engaging and motivating for our students will help kids master these words and make learning fun. Small groups often provide an excellent way for kids to learn these words, allowing for a more fun and intimate learning environment!

For these fun games, you can use any list of sight words you have. If you do not have a word list, you can use Dolch lists or Fry sight words for common sight words.

Sight Word Bingo

Each student will need a card with a five-by-five table on it (or however many squares you would like on the card). In each square of the table is a sight word. The middle spot on the table is a “Free” spot, so the students can go ahead and mark that spot. The adult is the caller in the game and will say a sight word. If the students have that word on their card, they will mark it. Before the game starts, decide when to call “Bingo .”There are different ways to win this game. There can be a winner when a student has a horizontal row filled, a vertical row filled, a diagonal filled, or a blackout (all spaces filled). When the student has the winning way, they shout “Bingo” and then reads the words they have marked. The best thing about this game is that the students can play this game repeatedly once the teacher explains the game’s general rules. You can play this game over different game cards covering new words. A variation of this classic game is to have one of the students be the caller of the game, which allows that student to read the word to the group. Kids love this as it gives them ownership of the game.

Go Fish

Put a stack of sight word cards facing down between 2 students. The middle area is known as “the pond .”Each card has a sight word on it. There should be 2 of each sight word in the stack. Each student receives five cards. The object of the game is to make the most pairs possible. On a student’s turn, they will ask the other player, “Do you have ______?”. If the player has it, they must give it to the student who asked. If they do not have that sight word card, they will say, “Go fish!” The student who asked the question will pick one card from the pond. It is now the other player’s turn. When players make a pair, they pull the two cards out of their hand and put them on the table. The game is over when a player matches all their cards. If a player runs out of cards, they grab five new ones from the pond. At the end of the game, the players count their pairs to see who has more matching pairs. Teachers can use this fun activity in a literacy center to help with word recognition of new sight words.

Dice Fun

This game has simple supplies, just dice, and flashcards of the sight words you want your students to practice. Lay the cards face up on a table or in a pocket chart. When it is a student’s turn, they roll the dice and follow the directions depending on what number they roll. For example, rolling one allows them to pick a card, read it and keep it. Rolling two will enable them to roll the dice again; rolling three means they have to give one card to a friend. Rolling four allows them to pick a word, read it, and keep it, rolling five, they would have to put back all their cards and rolling six means you lose your turn. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins. A helpful tip for this game is to provide your students with a baggie, bucket, or container to hold their cards in so they can easily keep track of them.

Fly Swatter

Write sight words on a large chart paper and hang it on the wall. The teacher can write the words more than once and in no particular order. Each student can have a fly swatter if played in a small group. If you play this whole group, you can have one student go up with the fly swatter. Say a word and have the student(s) with the fly swatter “swat” (tap) the word when they see it. This action helps to encourage and build active reading and word identification.

Sight Word War

Put a pile of sight word cards face down in the middle of 2 players. One player flips a card over. The first person to read the card gets to keep the card. The card goes to the bottom of the deck if it is a tie. This process continues until all the cards are gone. The player with the most cards wins.

Sight Word Tic Tac Toe

Below is one of the easy ways to put a twist on an original game! Give the students a tic-tac-toe board and a pile of sight word cards. The students will flip a card over, read it and spell it before putting an X or O on the game board. This activity is an easy and low prep game, yet one of the favorite ways Kindergarten students like to review sight words!

Treasure Hunt

Here is one of the most fun sight word games, but it will require additional prep—flip plastic or paper cups over so they are upside down. Put small erasers, stickers, or small toys, like a toy car or squishies, under a few cups. Write a sight word on each cup. Set up the cups on a table so students can read the words on the cups. On a player’s turn, they will read a word on a cup and flip it over to see if one of the little treasures is hidden. If it is, they can keep it.

Shazam! Stick Game

Write sight words on popsicle sticks, one word per stick. On some sticks, write the word “Shazam!” on it. Put the sticks in a tall container with the blank end of the stick facing upward out of the container. When it is a student’s turn, they will pull a stick and read the sight word. They get to keep the stick, and then it moves to another student’s turn. This process continues as so until all the sticks are gone. If a student chooses a “Shazam” stick, they must put their stick back into the container. The Shazam stick is left out of the container once someone draws that stick. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins.

Salt Writing

This game is one of the best ways to incorporate a tactile activity for sight word instruction. Spread salt on a baking sheet or tray, say a word, have your students use their fingers as pencils, and write the word in the salt. Students can also complete this activity using shaving cream, sand, or rice.

Build Sight Word Towers

Building with blocks is always a fun way to learn for students. Write a letter on a single building block, like Legos or Mega Blocks. Have students build towers by spelling a sight word. The spelling of the sight word will be vertical for the towers. To make the spelling horizontal, which can be easier for some learners, provide them with a build plate, or something they can hold the blocks/bricks in place. This hands-on activity also encourages fine motor skills.

Sight Word Tallies

This activity is one of the best low-prep, free-sight word games! Provide students with a list of 3-5 sight words and children’s books. Have the students go on a hunt for these sight words in the books. When they find one of the words, they will put a tally mark next to it. After a set amount of time, they can see which sight word they found the most.

Cooking up some Sight Word Pancakes

Write each sight word on a brown circle that looks like a pancake. Face the “pancakes” up so the students can read the words. When it is their turn, students will choose a “pancake,” read the word on it and then flip it over using a spatula. This task is a fun way to practice sight words and fine motor skills for the little hands of our students!

Sight Word Bracelets

Cut strips of construction paper for students and provide the students with stickers, crayons, markers, and of course, a sight word list. The students will write the words on the strip of paper and decorate it. When they are done, roll and tape it so the students can wear it home with the sight words they are to practice. They can go home and read the words on their bracelet as a reminder of words to practice!

Find it! Trace it!

Nursery rhymes are such a great way to develop strong reading skills. Provide students with a printout of a nursery rhyme and see if they can go on a sight word hunt! Have them pick their favorite color and trace the sight words they find. They can use a different color each time they spot a sight word to make it more engaging for students as they search for sight words in the context of a familiar text!

Who’s on an egg hunt?

Put a strip of paper with a sight word on it inside each plastic egg. Hide the eggs around the room. The students then find and collect the eggs, open them up, read the words, and write them on a piece of paper or use it in a sentence. This activity allows for movement and sight word practice at the same time!

Keeping different activities new and fresh for basic sight words makes learning more fun while providing extra practice for our young learners. This continued practice is the first step in helping them become more fluent and successful readers!

Other Resources

We have many other articles with ideas (including activities & games) that will help you teach your little ones. If you want some activities or worksheets about teaching words that start with the Letter G check out this article. If you would like activities for Teaching Soft G Sounds check out this article.

More from Clever School Blog

Sign up to receive these great articles delivered directly to your inbox.