Today, I am going to tell you about a very simple, LOW PREP game that really WORKS to help kids practice their sight words! Actually, it could be used to practice any concept, and the kids really love it! The funny thing is that I’ve used it with Kindergartners, first graders AND second graders- and they have ALL just LOVED this little game! We call it “The Cube Game” because they earn Unifix Cubes while they play, but if you play it, you can call it whatever you want! 🙂
I have to say that this game has been SO effective with my second grade intervention kids this year that I think it is really making a huge difference on their sight word recognition! Most of the words that they are working on are not recorded on any of my sight word DVDs, so it couldn’t be that! We do use my Sounds Fun Phonics Cards and DVD every day faithfully though, and if we find one of the Sounds Fun “chunks” in a word, we definitely do its movement and/or sing a snippet of the song! Of course, not all of the sight words follow general phonics decoding rules, so we also discuss how certain words are “rule breakers.” I think I’m going to have to make a “Word Jail” on my wall so we can put some words in it that don’t follow the rules!
You will need some sight word flashcards that you would like your kids to learn to read, and that’s the only thing you need to prepare. I do like to give each child their OWN baggie of flashcards with their name on it. Their goal, then, is to learn to read ALL of the words in their own baggie. As each child learns each word, they get to either rip it to shreds, or keep the word for themselves as “bragging rights” that they learned the word! Think of them as brag tags!
Note: By far the easiest way to get a set of personalized flashcards (including ONLY the sight words each child NEEDS) is to use ESGI. I test my kids on the sight words (and now also phonics, too) using ESGI. Then I print out only the words the children need to work on, and put them in the child’s baggie. That way, each child is only working on the words that they NEED to learn- not just random sight words from the stack! This helps me really push each child towards mastery of the sight words! It truly works like a CHARM, because I see real growth on those words every single time I test the kids!
I can’t say enough good things about using ESGI for this purpose! Yes, I send the flashcards home, but who knows if the parents even use them? Sending them home isn’t nearly as valuable as how I can use ESGI flash cards in the classroom to help get every single child in the room as close to mastery of both phonics and sight words as possible!
You may wish to try a 60 day free trial of ESGI to see for yourself how it works. Yes, I’m an affiliate, but I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t truly believe it was such an excellent tool, and totally worth the price. I can’t teach without it! By the way, if you use the promo code B7755 you can get $40 off your first paid year!!
Besides the flashcards, the only materials you need are some linking or unifix cubes, or even some other type of little block, such as a Lego or Duplo. My kids this year especially enjoy Unifix Cubes! They also like the colorful wooden one inch cubes.
The Set Up:
Place each child’s flashcards on top of the baggie with their name on it. Put the words that are the most important for them to learn first on the top of the stack. Get a small group of children around the table. This game is best played with no more than six children at a time, otherwise they have to wait too long for their turns.
How To Play:
Pull a flashcard off of a child’s baggie. Ask him to read the word. If he can read it, he gets a block and can start building something! If not, put the word back ON TOP of the stack for him to try to read again NEXT TIME!!!! (This is what makes this game a little different- if they miss the word, they get it back again!) The play continues like this with each child taking turns and collecting cubes. If the teacher is convinced that a child really knows a word, then the child gets the flashcard to either keep or rip to shreds! Some of the kids enjoy ripping up the flashcards into little itty bitty pieces, and then putting the pieces into a baggie to take home! Other kids like to keep the flashcards as a prize or a type of Brag Tag.
The End of the Game:
The game is over whenever the teacher wants it to be, LOL! Whenever I feel like the kids have had enough, I tell them that the time is up, and they all start counting their blocks. The children that have put theirs into stacks, usually hold their stack up to see whose is tallest. The one that has the most is the winner!
As I mentioned above, this is a great little game to help the children reach mastery on just about any concept, although I’ve used it most frequently with sight words and math facts. The reason why it leads to mastery is because the kids work on their own personal set of flashcards with the goal of learning as many as possible. They usually are very happy to be given a block to play with while waiting for their turn to read a flashcard, and that seems to be enough! It keeps their hands busy, and most of them really enjoy building even just small towers while they wait their turns. I have also seen kids whispering their next word to themselves over and over while they wait, as if to help themselves remember the word next time- and all of that for a silly cube! Isn’t that funny? 🙂
I hope this is something you can use! Have a great weekend!
P.S. If you haven’t already, check out our newly animated Sight Word DVDs!!
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