Teaching a child to read is one of those amazing things that can build your relationship and open new worlds or it can be a repetitively miserable experience. In college I had the opportunity to work for the America Reads program where I would visit public schools and work with the children who needed a bit of extra attention with their reading. Sitting there in the warm afternoons, after a late night of college lifestyle and homework the evening before, I would find myself starting to doze off to the monotonous sound of a sweet child slowly sounding out word after word of their boring readers. After my head nodded a few times I decided that something had to change. If I was that bored, how were they feeling? From that time on I made it my daily mission to come up with original and interactive ideas that were so fun they didn’t realize they were learning.
Now I’m in that stage of life where I am teaching my own children to read. Every Monday my kindergartener comes home, drops her shoes and backpack on the floor, and, with a huge sigh, hands me the list of site words she’s been given to memorize by the end of the week. It all seems so overwhelming to her because, “It’s so boring,” and the sight words often don’t follow the phonetic rules I’ve been teaching her to read by. So I came up with a plan – a beautiful, devious plan. If she will read to me and do our phonics activities, then we can play Bingo. Yay! She loves Bingo. She is all for this plan. Let’s read so we can play. I hand her a Bingo card that is filled with her sight words, but she doesn’t care because it’s a game. Suddenly sight words are fun. Let’s start finding words and get a Bingo. (It might also help that I sometimes use smarties or goldfish for her bingo markers, but all’s fair when it comes to sight words;)
I created blank bingo cards so that I could switch them up and add whichever words I feel like she needs extra work on. We’ve been playing the game a couple of times a week for a month now, and the results are amazing. She can now read over 50 sight words with little effort, and the greatest part is, Mom’s a hero because I play games with her.
Does this sound like something that might work at your house? Here are the things you need to become the Sight Word Bingo Hero in your home. Just add some markers of your choice and you are ready to go.
Blank Bingo Card
Fry’s First 100 Sight Words