Silly Sentences Sight-Word Flashcards

Mira making silly sentences from her sight-word flashcards

The following flashcard activity is geared for children that already know their alphabet and sounds for each letter.  Once my children are comfortable with their letter sounds I begin to intersperse questions into our day-to-day life.  You see the dog?  D-D-Dog.  What letter does dog start with? There are some great games online or you can make up on your own for this.  A family favorite for us was the beginning sound cards in 1+1+1’s Star Wars Preschool Pack. You can see my girls using them here.

When my girls are comfortable sounding out the beginning letter of words we work on CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant).  For this I love touchable-tangible manipulatives. There’s something magical about “building” a word.  Having your child take each letter and see the word form before them adds a deeper understanding.  For us- it’s been these Leap Frog Fridge Magnets.  I put ours on our large oil-drip pan board or this “travel-size” cookie sheet pictured here with Stella.  I normally don’t have the entire alphabet up at one time like this, but will keep a word family like -at, and then a few consonant magnets so we can make a variety of words together.  Cat, rat, hat, mat, fat, sat, etc.

When my girls get comfortable with sounding out and building CVC words I add in our Sight-Word Flashcards.  The reason I added these in was because I noticed an eagerness in my girls’ desire to read but a frustration when we attempted early readers like the Bob Books and Nora Gaydos series.  Their frustration stemmed from common sight words.  I wanted to boost my girls confidence with some sight words while we continued to work on understanding phonics.

So I created my own extra large Sight-Word Flashcards.  LARGE because my children appreciate big font.  I think it helps them really see the word.  My mother helped me make the first round of flashcards back when Mira was around three years old.  We made dozens of them- maybe even hundreds, and I’ve been adding to them ever since by using words, colors, and objects that appeal to each child specifically.

You may notice some of the words on the cards are written in different colors.  That’s because at the time I made my original batch I was teaching at a Montessori school and had fallen in love with their way of introducing grammar.  I had all these grandiose plans of following through with their concept but never did.  It just never panned out here.  If you are interested you can read more about it on this Montessori blog.

Introducing the cards is easy enough. (So easy in fact you can easily let an older sibling take over.)  I pick 3-5 words to begin.  In the beginning it’s just names of family members, or maybe a favorite color or toy.  I make sure I have the child’s attention and then I literally flash the cards as I read the name.  I usually point along with my finger as I pronounce the word.  We do it anywhere from 3 to 5 times a day but it literally only takes mere seconds to go through.  It can eventually grow to a minute or two depending on how many cards you have in your stack at one time.  I also shuffle the cards each time I read them. Eventually a shift will occur and the child will begin to shout out the card before you have a chance to read it.  After the child has comfortably read the cards by themselves for a couple days I will introduce two or three more cards.  Again, as I introduce these new cards I’ll read it a few times but eventually the child will call out the sight word before you read it to them.

When I add new cards I try to add one “traditional” sight word to the more fun/personalized ones.  {Some traditional examples: the, an, on, by, with, off, and, is, has, be, been, etc.}  Cards can be taken out of the stack if you feel your child has thoroughly memorized it.  You can always add them back in later for review. 

Stella creating Silly Sentences

Eventually you’ll have a pretty decent-sized stack of cards to work with– and then the FUN really begins.  Instead of flashing the cards you can now create SILLY SENTENCES!!! And the sillier and crazier the better because before you know it your child will be asking to create their own silly sentences.  Shuffle the stack, hand them off, and let them create their own mini-masterpieces.  And trust me – laughter will ensue.

***When thinking of words to add be sure to think of your child’s specific interests.  This game is begging to be personalized around your child and family.  Our cards have plenty of astronomy and science related words since that’s something my children hear and see often in our home.  I also try to incorporate vocabulary from read-alouds.  If you plan your read-alouds ahead you can slowly incorporate words from your upcoming story; or you can add them after they have introduced.

While doing our daily flashcards we continue with our phonics and reading lessons as usual. This is a great opportunity to add words from their lessons to their cards.  The sight-word flashcards eventually morph from small sight words and grow to become an engaging reading reinforcement.

I also make a point to add a few verbs ending in -ing so they can make present-tense sentences.  “Mira is swimming with a skinny whale.” “Stella is a silly squirrel.” “Lyra is eating a square yellow bus.”

  Remember the crazier and sillier the better!  

Give them the tools to make ‘em laugh! 

Need help sorting through the long and short vowels?  Check out my Sing-Song Vowel Game.

Is your child ready to tackle blends?  Take a peek at my Consonant Blender Game.

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About Kristen

Home schooling classically with a dash of whatever strikes our fancy.
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7 Responses to Silly Sentences Sight-Word Flashcards

  1. Julie says:

    I had no idea you had taught in a Montessori school!

    • Kristen says:

      It was briefly as a substitute teacher shortly after my oldest daughter was born. The classes I had on the Montessori methods and philosophy, along with my time in the classroom, were a major part of my decision to homeschool. My Montessori experience was very inspiring!

  2. Mud Hut Mama says:

    Did you write this post for me? Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. I love the sentence, “Daddy is a big silly galaxy.” I’d love to see that get illustrated :)

  4. Jenny says:

    I need to try this out!

  5. Amy says:

    Until my son started getting more confident in reading, I hated trying to find early reader books because of their site-word method. We were learning by building words like you mentioned (first sounds, then simple CVC words, etc.) but those books would always throw in big words that you are just supposed to memorize. I started just writing my own sentences for him to read that were truly beginning phonics compatible!

    I love how your girls always look like they are having so much fun! You must be a great teacher =) Thanks for linking this up to Trivium Tuesdays!

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