For those of you who are looking for creative and engaging ways for your kids to practice sight words you might want to give word searches, crosswords and word scrambles a try. It is a great way to make learning sight and spelling words fun!
As a kid I loved word searches. I know some do not think they have value but I totally disagree. If set up properly, they can be a great way to slip in more sight and spelling word practice. Plus the kids love these fun activities! There is plenty of research that shows that more sight word practice helps kids.
Breaking The Code
Some kids like the challenge of breaking the code with the scrambled words, where as others like figuring out which word is missing from the crossword sentence. Finally, they all like finding the hidden words in the word searches.
There are lots of word searches, crosswords and word scrambles out there to pick from. But I wanted a different kind of word search. One that made them actually practice writing the words, not just circling the words.
I made my own unique word searches where the kids find the word twice, then have to write it twice. These searches are set up with the words only going horizontal and vertical, there are no words going backwards. I made 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade word searches using all the Dolch words. I then made corresponding companion 2nd & 3rd grade crosswords & word scrambles that I could print on the back side for the word searches.
There are five different searches for each group of Dolch words so this gives the kids plenty of practice. If you have issues where kids tend to copy from their neighbor, you can pass out the five different versions at the same time.
I made sure to number the word searches, crosswords & word scrambles so I could easily identify which word search went with which crossword and word scramble so they can be used together and printed back to back. I had to add a bonus word a few times to get the crosswords to work.
Since the Dolch sight words only go up to the 3rd grade, I used my 4th & 5th Grade Spelling Lists to create the 4th & 5th grade word searches. Recently, I had a 5th grade teacher tell me how she loved how her kids didn’t realize how much spelling practice there were getting in using my 5th grade word searches. Loved hearing this!
Teachers tell me are great for morning work, homework, early finishers, literacy centers, ESL/ELL students, Special Ed, word work, Daily 5, choice time, independent work, warm up activity and reading stations. Use them as a fun away for review or a perfect addition to your sub plans!
For differentiation, you can use the grade level above and below. The worksheets look the same so kids won’t notice who is doing what grade level ; )
I am slowing adding simplified holiday versions you can use. So far I have a St. Patrick’s Day and another one for Earth Day. These have one word search, one crosswords and one word scramble that use words for that holiday.