Sight Word Tallies

Since my youngest daughter is heading into first grade in the fall, we’ve been focusing a lot on sight words.

She’s got a great handle on some, but as you know, there are many to learn.

We’re trying to keep up the practice over the summer, but I definitely want to keep things simple.

That’s where Sight Word Tallies comes in. It’s easy to prep. Simple to do. And, it’s fun.

Help your child learn to recognize sight words with this fun Sight Word Tallies learning game.
 This activity was so easy to set up.

I started by making a list of sight words that my daughter needs to learn. I chose only six. I didn’t want her to be overwhelmed by too many.

I made it into a pretty chart so it would look good in the pictures for you (plus, I like making things pretty). But, this is not at all necessary. Grab some paper and jot down a few sight words.

All you need to worry about is to leave room for your child to write their tally marks.

Now, it’s time for the fun.
Give your child the chart and a book. They need to go through the book and make a tally mark each time they find one of the words.
It can be slow going and they may not get through the whole book. We didn’t. Our focus was on sight word identification and not reading. We’ll read the book together later.
At the end, add up the tally marks. Which word did you find the most often? The least?
Can I give you a quick word of advice?
I made the mistake of not comparing my list of sight words to the book when I did this with my oldest. Oops. It was a lesson in frustration. Page after page and no sight word in sight.
Take the time to make sure the sight words are actually in the book you’re using. The activity is so much more fun when you can actually find the words!
I loved this sight word activity because it was easy to prep and fun to do. Plus, it added in a bit of sneaky math practice with the tally marks. We’ll do this a few times over the summer just to keep working on our sight words.

Are you looking for more reading activities? Try one of these:

Sight Word Islands – get outside and practice your sight words on the driveway.
Sight Word Pick and Spell – a fun game that is similar to bingo
3 Easy Ways to Practice Sight Words – the easiest ideas ever!
Stacking Rhyming Words at Better Than Homework – a fun way to play with rhymes.


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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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