1. Overview

In Sight Words Four in a Row, children will play a variation of the popular game Connect Four, in which they must read a sight word correctly before they can place a marker on the game board. The goal of Four in a Row is to encourage children to read sight words quickly, while also building their confidence through repetition.

You can play this game with your child, or two to four children can play each other.

Image: Sight Words Four in a Row

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2. Materials

For cards, you can use a set of flash cards for your desired word list, in any size. Print out the Four in a Row game board and markers (or use your own game pieces, checkers, etc. for markers). Print everything on thick card-stock paper for greater durability. Cut out as many markers as you need, with each player using a different color.

Alternately, just use your own Connect Four game if you already have one!

Image: If you don’t own a Connect Four game, make your own
game board using our free printables!

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3. Activity

Put the Four in a Row game board between the two players. Shuffle the flash cards and put them in a face-down stack next to the board. Assign a marker color to each player. Flip a coin to decide who will go first.

Player A draws a card from the stack and reads the word out loud. If she can’t read the word correctly within a few seconds, go through our sight words correction procedure to review and reinforce the correct word. She loses that turn and Player B takes his turn.

If Player A correctly reads and says the word, she can put a marker on one of the squares of the game board. Then it is Player B‘s turn. If you (the adult) are Player B, ask the child to “help” you read the word on the card you draw.

NOTE: Remember that “gravity” is a part of Four in a Row the same way it is a part of Connect Four. A marker must “slide” to the bottom of a column on the game board (follow the gray arrows), stopping at the lowest empty square and filling the game board from the bottom up.

Keep taking turns until one person makes a row of four markers on the board — vertically, horizontally, or diagonally — or until all the squares are filled with no one getting four in a row.

As the child gets the hang of the game and knows the words better, challenge her to read the words faster and faster, until she can correctly read each word in one second or less.

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4. Confidence Builder

Ignore the gravity rule and let the child put her markers in any available square on the game board. Alternately, shorten the game by requiring just three markers in a row to win.

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These materials are provided under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Essentially, this means you can do whatever you want with the resources, provided you leave the attribution hallmark on the resources. You may use these materials in the classroom, at home, as part of a for-profit tutoring business, or for any other purpose. (Except starting forest fires. That’s bad.) You do not need to contact us for permission to use the materials. We want you to use them!

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5 Responses to “Sight Words Four in a Row”

  1. Linda

    We really like playing this at home, but searched for less morbid picture alternatives and now build a snowman instead (can’t remember where we found the suggestion, sorry). Game ends when snowman picture is complete.

  2. Paz

    Thank you so much for these!

  3. Husna

    My brother is not talking in school. He is just 5 years old; he only talks at home.

    • Lesley

      If your brother speaks another language at home than English, he may be nervous to speak at school. There is also a diagnosis of “selective mute” – selective meaning that the child can speak but is not speaking due to anxiety (or other reasons like autism) when in social situations. It sounds like your brother should be observed by someone in his school’s Special Education department. Don’t worry – it does often work itself out but it may require early intervention and therapy. Hope this helps.


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