How To Teach 2nd Grade Sight Words: Activity Ideas For Teachers

Author: Sarah Perowne

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Reading and recognizing 2nd-grade sight or high-frequency words is one of the most important stepping stones for creating confident readers. The recognition of sight words helps children spend more time decoding other tricky sounds in the English language, but it doesn't have to be boring or time-consuming! Here we have some minimum prep activity ideas, fun sight word games, and how-tos that take little time for teachers, parents, language learners, and homeschoolers.

Fun Sight Word Activity Ideas & Resources

These must-know sight word activity ideas are simple, easy to implement, require minimum preparation, and work on basic sight vocabulary in the second grade for increasing reading ability. They could be used as part of your sight word lessons or when you need a quick bell ringer activity.

Find The Sight Word Treasure Hunt

For this handy assessment resource, you only need a few basic things lying around your home or classroom. First, write the words you want to focus on, on a balloon or small piece of paper. You could use colored papers to make the game more visually appealing. The sight word instruction begins when you say go! Students have to find as many sight words as possible hidden around the room. To make it more difficult:

  1. Provide a basic sight word checklist that they tick off and say out loud every time they find one.
  2. Put students into teams, or they can do it individually for smaller classes. This activity can be extended, as you could ask them to find the sight words they found in a storybook or even have them team up to create a short story or skit.
  3. Use this resource to assess your students' knowledge of sight words.

What Sight Word Am I?

A fun take on the classic game Who am I? Have your students wear sight word crowns. You can easily make the crowns together to save time or even tape the sight word flash cards to their backs. The key to this sight word game is that the students must figure out what word they have on by asking and answering questions like what am I? Asking WH questions helps other children recognize sight words, aiding their reading fluency. Choose basic sight words or partner children up to make this game more inclusive and suitable for special education children. You could play match the sight word, where children must find their matching sight word pair.

Sight Word Monster on Whiteboard

This sight word activity is extremely easy to do and requires almost no prep time. It's also an excellent resource for the whole class when you have a few minutes to spare or individual work for kids having a difficult time with regular sounds and basic phonics.

First, draw out a monster on a whiteboard, and give it some eyes, a nose, a mouth, and arms. Label these with a points value and a combination of phonics and sight words. Make sure the monster's features are big enough for the students to see visibly, and it's clearly labeled with the points and words. Students are given a small object to throw at the monster. This could be a small ball or a scrunched-up piece of recycled paper. The aim of the game is to get as many points as possible and for students to use their spelling skills to say the sight word out loud. For example, say a student lands on the monster's nose, and the sight word is AROUND with a total of 5 points. The student has to say the word out loud and then do an action that indicates the meaning of that sight word. You could choose from a more complex high-frequency word list for more fluent readers.

How to Utilize Stencils

Alphabet letter stencils are a great way to get kids working on basics in reading because we all know that simply memorizing sight words in 2nd grade isn't going to cut it. Children need to be actively exposed to high-frequency words with fun activities that will stick to their long-term memory. Utilize tracing and stencil worksheets, or even grab a stack of magazines and cut out letters together. You can use these letters to build Dolch word-specific collages or to make simple sentences.

Dolch 2nd Grade Book Recommendations

Here is our compiled list of sight word books suitable for 2nd graders that teachers and homeschoolers can use as part of their guided reading strategies. It may inspire your reading corners for this year's guided reading material!

Bob Books Set 2

Bob's books are a clear winner, and though the majority of books this author creates are more catered towards 1st-grade and kindergarten sight words, this book contains key sight words with plenty of repetition. Perfect for reading basics and language learning in the 2nd grade.

I Want My Hat Back by John Klassen

Meet Bear in this visually stunning, playful storybook that will delight your students and have them roaring with laughter as they increase their reading abilities. I Want My Hat Back is a great chapter book to work on comprehension skills.

I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey

Expose your students to emotions and work on acceptance of others with I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey. Tiny Porcupine wants a cuddle, but no one wants to hug him because of his prickly spikes. This book contains common sight words and rhyming text that will keep your students on their toes as they increase their reading habits.

The Days The Crayon Quit by Drew Daywalt

In this funny book, students will meet the crayons they use every day. Blue needs a break, pink wants to be used, and beige is fed up with brown. It's a great way to reinforce colors and phonic recognition to younger students and introduce point of view and opinion writing skills for older elementary students.

The Proudest Blue

This stunning chapter book follows the story of Faizah and Asiya as they balance school and others' opinions with their Islamic faith and traditions. It's an uplifting story, full of new experiences, sibling bonds, and taking pride in who you are and what you believe. You could also use this book to inspire a writing skills review at the end.

If you're looking for more game and activity ideas on sight words, we have tons of digital resources to help you save time on planning and reduce the pieces of paper you use! Why not check out sight words for first-graders or sight words for 2nd-grade students? We've got Dolch word lists and much more!