Word Wall and Sight Word Activities

Word Wall and Sight Word Activities
R 12
The following activities are designed to teach all types of learners. Some students can
learn simply by writing or hearing the letters of a word. Other students need to “feel” the
letters or visualize the letters and word as a unit. By training their brain in the way they learn
best, you will have more students mastering the words that are being introduced. They will also
have a lot of fun.
Clapping and arm tapping – sight words are words that cannot usually be sounded out. By
helping students “learn” these words in a different manner, you are training them that
they need to “just know” these words when they get to them in text. Sight words need
to be referenced another way. An example would be adding a large red dot to the word
wall card. Whatever strategy works best for you. Have students stand and clap out the
letters to a regular word wall word. When you get to a sight word, instead of clapping,
use arm tapping. Hold your left arm out straight away from your body and use your
opposite hand like a karate chop. Chop the letters of the word down your arm towards
the wrist. When you are finished spelling rub your hand down the entire length of your
arm saying the word.
Students can spell each word on a partner’s back. This works well if all students sit in a
line across the floor, one student behind the next. You write on the back of the person
seated in front of you. The teacher decides the word and everyone “writes” together.
Once you are done, don’t forget to “erase” for the next word. After completing 4 or 5,
have everyone in the line turn around and do the words again.
Students can become the word wall word. As you spell the word, each student makes
their body into the letter of that word.
Students can make word wall words into a memory game. Each student writes each word
wall word on a 3 x 5 card. Students then find a partner. Both students turn their cards
face down on the floor or desk. They take turns turning over two cards. If the word on
the cards match, they get to keep it, if not they must turn them back over and it is their
partner’s turn. They can write the words on two 3 x 5 cards to make a home version of
the game for more practice.
© 2011
Department of Early Intervention & Prevention
In a small group or with a partner. Word wall words are printed on large laminated tag
board or paper and placed in different areas of the room. A word is called by the
teacher or caller and the student in line gets to hop, jump, crawl, or bounce to the
correct card. If they get it right they can take the card with them.
Students can make word wall words on geo boards with rubber bands. The student makes
each letter of the word and another student checks it.
Students can work with a partner to make word wall word cards with alphabet rubber
stamps. The first child shows their partner the word wall word on a card. After
observing for 5-10 seconds, the partner attempts to stamp the letters of the word
correctly on a piece of paper. Partners check the spelling against the word card.
Partners switch for the second round.
Create a word search using word wall words. Go to www.puzzlemaker.com to create a
quick word search.
Create box puzzles for students to place the correct word wall word in. Draw puzzle
boxes down one side of the paper with a list of possible words down the other side.
Students determine which word fits in each puzzle box and write each letter in the
correct box.
bi g
t hey
In a small group or with a partner, students can use bean bags to toss to the correct
word wall word card. Laminated word wall word cards can be spread in an area on the
floor. When the teacher or caller calls out the word, the partner or student needs to
toss their bean bag on the correct word.
Paper towel words. In partners, one student is given a paper towel. They choose a word
wall word and write it in marker on the paper towel. Then they show it to their partner.
The first student then places one hand behind their back and holds the paper towel in
the other hand. They must use just one hand to scrunch the paper towel into a ball in
that one hand. While they are doing this, the partner must remember the word they
read and write it on the board. The first child, using both hands, opens the paper towel
to check the spelling on the board. Partners change places.
Step and spell. Students are put into groups of 3-4. They are given 30 laminated foot
print cutouts. Each group is given a word wall word. They must place the footprints into
the shape of the letters of that word. When all the groups are done, each group gets a
turn stepping on the footprints and spelling the word as they go from letter to letter.
Allow students to practice writing word wall words outside on the cement with side walk
Play Around the World using sight word flashcards.
Have students make BINGO cards using word wall words. Give them a blank BINGO card
with 9, 16 or 25 squares. They are to write FREE in the middle space and a different
word wall word in each of the other boxes. Play just like BINGO.
Play Sight Word Baseball – You need 4 levels of sight words. The first level is printed on
a color of paper that represents “a single”. The second level is printed on a different
color of paper to represent “a double”, etc. The most difficult words are placed on “home
run” paper. Divide the class into 2 teams. When a child is “at bat” they can choose a
word card from the color of their choice. (This allows those students that might have
difficulty to still be successful by choosing an easier level.) If they read it correctly,
they advance to the correct base, determined by the color of their word card. Make
sure you add “stike out” cards in each pile. If a student does not know the word, it is
counted as a strike. Keep score if you like.
Erase Relay – Write two columns of equally difficult words on the white board. Write as
many words as there are students participating. Students are divided into 2 teams. Each
of the teams stands in a line at their list of words. Taking turns, the student must read
the first word printed in their team’s column. If they get it right, they erase it. The
next student reads the next word and erases it if correct. The game is won by the team
that erases all of the words first. You can also allow students to choose the word they
wish to read and erase to allow success for all levels of learners.
Secret message – Using paper, chalkboards, scrap paper, etc., students are instructed to
write the first sound they hear in each of the words I say in order to spell the secret
message. Example: I say “clown, apple, teacher” and they write CAT.
Brain chair – Place chairs in a circle with one chair in the middle (the brain chair).
Students sit in a chair with one student at the brain chair. Show a sight word flashcard
to the student in the brain chair. If they read it correctly, they stay there. If they are
not correct, they move to the next chair in the circle and everyone moves up one chair so
that a new person is in the brain chair. The object is to be in the brain chair when the
flashcards run out.
Tic Tac Toe – Make a Tic Tac Toe grid using word wall words. Students play in partners.
They take turns reading a word in a chosen space. If they read it correctly, they may
place an X or O in that space. If they are not correct, their partner can choose to read
that word or another to secure an X or O.
Choose a word that goes along with your current theme or science study and has several
letters in it. For example the word “Penguin”. Write each letter of this word on a
separate 3 x 5 card. Make several cards for each letter. On the other side of each
card, write a word wall word. Mix the cards up and put them into a deck. Partners play
by taking turns choosing a card. If they can read the word wall word, they get to keep
the card. The object of the game is to be the one to spell “Penguin” correctly using the
cards you have collected.
© 2011
Department of Early Intervention & Prevention
Sing the letters for word wall words. Below are some samples and you can get more at
The Wheels on the Bus
The letters in the word are d-a-y, d-a-y,
d-a-y. The letters in the word are d-a-y and the word is day.
If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it spell “good”. g-o-o-d. (Clap on each letter) If
you’re happy and you know it spell “good”, g-o-o-d. If you’re happy and you know it
then your word wall words will show it, If you’re happy and you know it spell
“good”, g-o-o-d. This works for 2, 3, 4 and some 5 letter words.
BINGO (with 5 letter words)
There was a class that had a word and “after” was its name-o. A-F-T-E-R,
A-F-T-E-R, A-F-T-E-R and “after” was its name-o.
To Teach the Word “WHO”
Who let the dogs out?
W-H-O (clap each letter)
Who let the dogs out?
© 2011
Department of Early Intervention & Prevention
Students can spell the letters of the words while moving. Here is a list of possibilities:
Riding a Harley – climb on your motorcycle (pretend to “sit” and hold handlebars) and rev
your engine (using your right hand) for each letter. When you say the word pop a wheelie.
Erupting Volcanoes – begin squatting on the floor. As you say each letter of the word
move up until you are standing. When you say the word “erupt” and jump. You can also
whisper at the beginning letter and get louder as you get closer to erupting.
Karate chops – chop each letter of the word and then say the word with a karate kick.
Bodybuilder – do a different bodybuilder pose for each letter and then the word.
Ketchup bottle – shake each letter like a ketchup bottle.
Disco – place one hand on your hip and point to the sky with your opposite hand and then
down past your opposite hip like John Travolta.
Boxer – “punch” the letters and hold both hands above your head (like the winning boxer)
for the word.
Mexican Hat Dance – Move one foot in front at a time while saying the letters and bow
or curtsey for the word.
Stomp – stomp each letter with 1 foot and use both feet for the word.
Hula – swivel your hips for each letter and the word.
Calisthenics –jumping jacks, push ups or toe touches for each letter and rest on the
Basketball –dribble each letter and “shoot” the word.
Baseball – Swing on each letter and run in place for the word.
Speedy – spell each letter and then say the word as fast as you can while clapping each
S-L-O-W motion – say each letter while clapping in super slow motion and say the word
at the end.
Voices – use a robot, mouse or opera singer for each letter and the word.
Bird – fly like a bird (flap your wings for each letter and “soar” for the word).
Hold your nose and spell.
Beat it – beat each letter on your desk.
Cheer it – Give me a _____! Give me a ______! What does it spell??
© 2011
Department of Early Intervention & Prevention