Since sight words are so critical to reading success because they are used so often and can not easily be sounded out by young readers, it is important to practice them often in order for young students to be able to recognize them on sight.
Since students need to be able to recognize sight words quickly and knowing sight words “speeds up” their reading, I like to correlate sight words practice with racing. After all, racing is all about speed and being fast!
The editable templates used for these activities are available here if you would like to use them with your students.
Fueling Up for Sight Words
I like to get students “fueled up” and excited about our racing themed sight word activities by having these cute treat tags and juice boxes sitting on their desks the first day.
Nuts & Bolts Sight Word Centers
In this center, students string alphabet beads on pipe cleaners to spell sight words. I found the alphabet beads with holes in them and the pipe cleaners at WalMart.
The premise of this activity/center is that students need to help the race team build parts for the race car. I like to call the pipe cleaners and letter beads “nuts and bolts”.
Place a sight word chart in the lid of a pencil box, which I call a toolbox for this activity. Place the pipe cleaners and letter beads (nuts and bolts) in the bottom. Students build the car parts by spelling each sight word on the chart using the pipe cleaners and letter beads (nuts & bolts) from the tool box (pencil box). I like to refer to the chart card as the “blueprint” for the car parts and have students write the sight words on a recording sheet.
You can also punch a hole at the end of a small sight word card, thread a pipe cleaner through the hole and twist the end to secure it on the card. Students then place the letter beads on the pipe cleaner to spell the words. I tell students they are fixing mufflers and fuel pumps LOL!
If you have students that may need the vowels and consonants separated to make it a little easier, a sorting tray can be used in place of the pencil box.
Fix the “Wrecked” Sight Words
There are 2 differentiated versions of this center – students are given just the letters that are in the sight word OR they are given a pile of letters that contain the letters from the sight word and additional letters.
For the first version where students are only given the letters that are in the sight word, I prepare ahead of time by placing the letters in baggies and attaching them to a sight word card. This is a great center for small groups.
I like to get students excited about the center by telling them they are going to be working in the race shop helping the race team fix “wrecked” sight words.
For the first version, place a sight word card on a cookie sheet along with the letters from the sight word. Mix up (wreck) the letters. Students fix the wrecked sight word by spelling it correctly with the magnetic letters. I then have students write the word on a recording page. Once correct, move it off the cookie sheet and place another set on the sheet.
For the second version, place a pile of magnetic letters beside the cookie sheet that includes the letters needed to spell the sight words plus additional letters. Place a card on the cookie sheet.
I tell students they have to find the correct “parts” (letters) to build (spell) the sight word.
Once correct, change cards (the correct sight word can stay on the sheet or be removed). Optional: the cards can be held together with a binder ring so students can flip through them and spell each word.
Racing / Car Themed Sensory Bin
Add black beans to your sensory bin to resemble a road/racetrack.
Place toy cars or any other transportation or racing toys in the bin.
Bury license plate sight word cards in the beans.
Students search in the sensory bin for a license plate sight word card, remove it, read the sight word, and write the word on a recording sheet. They continue to do this until all of the license plates are found.
Oil Can & Dipstick Sight Words Game
This is a twist on a favorite classroom game!
Cover a can with black construction paper to resemble an oil can. You can write the word “oil” on it if desired.
Write your sight words on the ends of craft sticks with a black marker (these are the dipsticks). Leave some of the craft sticks blank.
Put all of the dipsticks in the oil can.
Students play in pairs or small groups.
On a player’s turn, they pull out a dipstick from the oil can. If it has a sight word on it, they read the sight word or you can also require them to use it in a sentence. If they can read the word, they keep the stick. If not, they put it back in the can.
If they pull out a blank stick, they have to put all of their sticks back in the can.
The student who has the most sticks when the can is empty is the winner.
On a Roll Dice Sight Words Game
This is another twist on a favorite game. It requires sight word dice. You can either purchase or make them.
I use these editable cubes from the Target Dollar Spot. They came with a dry erase marker and I simply wrote the sight words on the cubes. I instructed my students to hold the cubes on the edges so as not to rub off the sight words.
Students can play individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
Students take turns rolling the sight word die. They read the word that is face up on the die, find it on their sheet, and color one of the tires above the word. The first player to get all 4 tires for each sight word wins.
Parking Garage Hands-On Mat Activity
I made simple garage mats for this activity and taped a few together to resemble the garage stalls at the race track.
Place a toy car on the road at one end of the mat.
Say a sight word.
The student drives the toy car down the road, parks it in the correct garage stall, and reads the sight word.
Repeat for each word (students can back their car out of the garage onto the road for the next word).
Digital Pit Crew Sight Words Practice
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love using Boom Cards for engaging practice (and so do students)!
Boom Cards not only enable me to make sight word practice interactive and self-checking but I can also add real racing sounds to make it authentic and exciting as well!
I get students “revved up” by telling them that they are going to get to be the tire changers on a racing pit crew! I emphasize that it is very important for racing pit crews to put the correct tires on the car as fast as possible in order to get their team’s race car back in the race as quickly as possible.
Students have to put the correct sight word tires on the race car by first listening to the crew chief tell them which tire to get, then picking the correct tire, and putting it on the car.
Here is a short video of the sight word Boom Cards in action:
Click here to see a playable preview and try the Boom Cards for yourself.
Driving Around the Room License Plate Activity
Place sight word license plates cards around the room.
Give each student a clipboard and a recording sheet.
Students “drive around” the room and search for the license plates. When they find a license plate, they read the sight word on the license plate and write it on the matching license plate on their sheet (the license plate with the matching registration number).
They continue until they have found all of the license plates on their sheet.
Car Headlight Game
Hang sight word cards on the wall.
Give students small flashlights.
Dim the lights. Say a sight word and have a student shine a “headlight” on the correct sight word.
Light Up the Press Sight Word Hunt
Find any type of racing articles in the newspaper, in magazines, or online.
Have students use highlighters to find and highlight sight words in the articles. Young students love using highlighters!
Sight Words Award Certificates & Treat
When my students learn their sight words, I like to give them something special to reward their efforts.
If they have been working very hard and making good progress on their sight word lists, I surprise them with this cute treat. It is 2 mini chocolate doughnuts that represent wheels.
Once they master their sight word lists, I give them a personalized certificate to recognize their achievements.
Sight Words Reward Tags
Since we use reward tags to recognize other achievements throughout the year, students wanted them for their sight words as well. They love receiving them and are so proud to show them off and “brag” about all they have learned!
I created two editable versions, one rewards them if they have been struggling with a certain word and finally master it, the other rewards them for mastering a certain number of words. If you would like to use these with your students, click here to view the editable pack and book.
Where can I get these sight words materials for my students?
If you would like editable versions of the printables used in this blog post, they are available for download at the following links:
Print & Digital Sight Words Bundles
You can download editable versions of the print materials as well as the digital Boom Cards together in money-saving bundle packs for grades
- Preschool Sight Word Bundle: Editable Printable Pages & Digital Boom Cards
- Kindergarten Sight Words Bundle: Editable Printable Pages & Digital Boom Cards
- First Grade Sight Words Bundle: Editable Printable Pages & Digital Boom Cards
- Second Grade Sight Words Bundle: Editable Printable Pages & Digital Boom Cards
Editable Sight Words Printable Materials
If you would like only the printable sight word materials featured in this post, click here.
Digital Sight Words Boom Cards
If you would like to use the self-checking digital Boom Cards with your students, please click the appropriate grade level links below:
Looking for ideas and I saw this page. Thank you for your bright ideas! I just bookmarked this for more ideas. Excited to share this to my nephew. He’s into McQueen stuff and he’d like this for sure.
Glad it was helpful! I hope your nephew enjoys it!
I love all these wonderful ideas for sight words. I am going to try out the beads on the pipe cleaner. We are still working on her confidence in recognizing the letters on their own. I might just have her string single letters of the alphabet in order to change it up.
Thank you, Ashton! I’m glad the sight word ideas were helpful and she enjoys practicing letters and words with the beads.