w-w-w- wordo!

Tonight we played a game before bed that focused on Sight Words. It is a bingo game–which Maddy and Owen totally heart in the first place–but instead of letters, places, or rhymes, it uses those words in Maddy’s Summer Kindergarten Packet that they suggest she be able to read by the end of Kindergarten. Really, no pressure.

That’s light years from now, right? She’s only just beginning Kindergarten in the fall, so we’ve got time. . .

Anyway, here’s the skinny:

  • WORDO: We used these WORDO boards and WORDO cards. Like I said, we used the words from a that we received as part of Maddy’s Kindergarten packet, but you can really add any words you’re focusing on at the time. I played this game many times when tutoring younger students, and I would use the sight words for that student’s grade or reading level.
Here are the WORDO cards we used.

I started by reading the words on each card, but Maddy and Owen wanted to begin playing, so I scrapped that, said All right, let’s go then! and we began to play.

It was right before bed, and they were eating Cheerios as their snack, so we used Cheerios as bingo markers. Nothing like being able to eat your game pieces when you’re done playing. . . You can really use anything–Foamies, real bingo chips, small erasers, stickers–whatever’s close.

Our WORDO boards in action–Cheerios and all.

I flipped a card from the pile, and I read it out loud. I would say, Am. Am. A-M. I am tired from swimming today. Am. Look closely to see if you have ‘am’ on you board.

We all checked to see if we had the word, then placed our Cheerio down if we did. When a winner got three in a row, he shouted, WORDO! and read each covered word to make sure he really won. We helped if anyone needed it–and often they needed some reminding.

And that’s it. Since our boards only had 9 squares, we played cover-all for the last game, and we really couldn’t shout because Cora had just gone to bed. But overall, I think Maddy and Owen enjoyed it. Easy, fun, and simple.

Here are some variations of this game for different levels of readers. Consider:

-writing 9-12 words on a board and having students write their own words in each box, creating their own boards;

-doing above and then having students switch boards;

-giving students small word cards, having them cut the cards out then glue them onto the boards;

-having students jump up and read the words before they place their Cheerio down;

-having students write their winning words at the end of the game, after they shout, ‘WORDO!’

This game is from Pat Cunningham’s Phonics They Use: Words for Reading and Writing (2000). It’s a seriously incredible resource for teachers, and it’s been reprinted several times since 2000, but as slim as it is, it is packed full of fantastic–and easy–games and activities to use with emerging readers. I haven’t had a need to check out the later editions, but I’m willing to bet they rock.

One of my favorite sites, ABC and 123, featured Sight Word games one day last week. More great ideas!

That’s it for today–a little sneaky learning in the form of one of our favorites–bingo!




  1. Beth- the mama bee says

    Wordo was a favorite that my students liked to. do you know the spelling game sparkle? that's a good one too.

  2. Ellen says

    Hey, Amy! Came to visit. I was so glad to have met you at BlogHer, and thrilled to find your blog—it is PACKED with great tips! I gave you a shout out on the opus I did on all the stuff I learned at BlogHer.

  3. Ethan Joel says

    I chanced upon your blog, and my Mommy loves the sight word game, and she will definitely try it when I am older. Thanks for sharing

  4. Denise says

    Great idea!! Playing a board game called, Er-u-di-tion, is another great way to teach sight words. Our award winning game incorporates over 300 sight words and the letters of the alphabet in an enjoyable, engaging activity, providing both teachers and parents with a useful tool.
    The game takes emergent readers on a fun adventure through literacy land complete with common landmarks and street signs. They earn a bonus roll after correctly identifying a game card. The first player to reach the library is the winner!
    For additional information, please visit our website at http://www.sightwordsgame.com .

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