Have a beginning reader? Use these free printable sight word flash cards to build reading skills and fluency with fun games and activities kids will love!
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Teaching a child to read is one of the most incredible experiences of parenthood. Learning to read opens the door to infinite opportunities for learning and exploring the wonders of the world, and it’s nothing short of magical to see a child sound out their first words and begin to take control of their own learning.
So, if you have a child who can sing their ABC song like a pro and is beginning to show interest in reading, it’s time to break out the sight words!
What are sight words?
Sight words (also called “high-frequency” words) are the words that your child will encounter most often in reading. Some of these words can be sounded out using phonics skills, but your child’s fluency will increase when they can recognize these words quickly “on sight.” Other sight words do not follow typical spelling rules, so they must be memorized.
Sight words vs. phonics…Do kids need to learn sight words?
Learning phonics skills is critical to reading instruction. Kids will become better readers in the long run if they understand the building blocks of the sounds that letters and letter combinations make, so phonics instruction is critical.
However, some words just don’t follow the rules (those rebels!), so memorizing sight words helps kids acquire these irregular words. Even for words that can be sounded out, it’s helpful to memorize the high-frequency words because it makes kids faster, more fluent readers.
The key is that we need to teach kids both phonics and sight words. Building these skills in tandem creates confident, capable readers and sets kids up for success in school and life.
If you’re ready to get reading, sight word flash cards can help!
What you’ll love about these flash cards:
- There are 120 different words to learn! By the time your child has learned all the words in this set, you’ll be amazed at how much they can read.
- They were created using a combination of the Dolch and Fry sight word lists. These sight word lists have been the core of sight word instruction for decades, so you’ll be right in line with what your child is learning in school.
- The words are grouped, as much as possible, according to their spelling patterns. This helps keep the focus on phonics instruction, even when kids are memorizing sight words.
How to use sight word flash cards:
This set includes 15 pages of flash cards, 120 words total. That’s a lot of words! Don’t try to use them all at once. Introduce the words to your child gradually, focusing on a handful of words at a time to build their skills without overwhelming them.
As much as possible, I have tried to group words together that follow similar spelling patterns (e.g – be, me, & we) to help kids make connections between words and see the phonics patterns within the sight words list.
Not sure where to start? Try introducing these 10 pre-reader sight words first (they’re on the first 2 pages of cards):
the, a, I, to, and, was, for, you, is, of
For more information about current best practices in teaching sight words, see this article from Reading Rockets.
Note: Before teaching sight words, make sure your child is confident in their knowledge of the alphabet. For help with this, check out these Free Printable Alphabet Flash Cards.
Are you ready to get your own FREE set of sight word flash cards? Sign up below!
Once you have printed your flash cards, keep reading for a full tutorial on how to make your cards last for years to come!
How to make your flash cards last–Let’s talk about laminating:
I highly recommend laminating your flash cards to make them last longer. You can certainly use them without doing so, but paper only lasts so long.
If you don’t have a laminator, I have to say, I think every mom needs one. They come in SO handy, especially if you are the type to do learning activities at home with your child (which you probably are, since you’re reading a blog post about DIY sight word flash cards…just sayin’).
How to assemble your printable flash cards
What to do:
- Download and print the free printable flash cards on white card stock paper. You could use plain paper, but they will be stiffer and more card-like if you use card stock.
- Cut out the flash cards (there are four per page). I used my paper cutter to keep the lines super straight, but you could use scissors in a pinch.
- Laminate eight at a time. Make sure you leave space between the cards in the laminating pouch so you can cut them apart later.
Pro Tip: Put a dab of glue on the back of each card before setting it in place in the laminating pouch. This will help it stay in place as you feed it through the machine.
- Once cool, cut the laminated pages into flash cards. I like to round the corners so that there are no sharp points to poke anyone.
- Now you’re ready to play!
They take a little time to put together, but it’s a great excuse to sit down and watch your favorite show while you work on it. We’ve had our cards for years, and they are still holding up great!
Want more ideas for teaching kids sight words? Check out these posts:
- Fun ways to practice sight words with beginning readers
- “Roll and Graph” Sight Word Game
- Super-sized word search: a sight word learning game
Make the most of your flash cards with Flash Card Fun: a set of 52 printable activity cards that will help your kids learn foundational academic skills like letters, numbers, shapes, and sight words…all with a simple set of flash cards!