1. Overview

Sight Words Go Fish is a vocabulary-themed variation of the classic Go Fish card game, for 2-4 players. Introducing this game is easiest when the children already have experience playing the traditional Go Fish game, because they will already understand the game dynamics and can focus their attention on the reading aspect. This is of particular importance for younger children, who can get overwhelmed with having to learn a new game and new words at the same time.

The goal is to collect more pairs of matching cards than anyone else. Children must read the sight word on the card they wish to play and be able to read the words that are requested by other players. It is another fun way to give children extensive exposure to a variety of sight words.

Image: Sight Words Go Fish

↑ Top

2. Materials

For Sight Words Go Fish, you will make and use a set of cards with various word pairs. The number of pairs depends on how many words you select when creating the cards. You can also remove some pairs from your deck of cards to make it a more manageable size.

Use our Go Fish Card Generator to create a set of cards and print them out, preferably on heavy-duty cardstock paper. You will want to use a mix of newer words that the children have not yet mastered and familiar words that could use some review.

↑ Top

3. Activity

These instructions are for a game with 3-4 players. Sight Words Go Fish can also be played easily with just two players.

Video: How to Play Sight Words Go Fish

Deal 5 cards to each player (7 cards each if there are only 2 players), then place the remaining cards face down in the middle of the circle formed by the players. All the players look at their cards but do not reveal them to each other.

Player A takes the first turn. Player A selects one of her cards and reads the word on it out loud, moving her index finger from left to right underneath the letters as she reads. (An adult should demonstrate this reading technique at the start of the game to teach or remind children how best to read the word.)

Player A then selects another player and asks him, “Player C, do you have any cards with the word BEFORE?” If Player C has a card with that word, he must say “Yes, I have a card with the word BEFORE,” and hand it to Player A, who then gets another turn. If any player struggles with reading or pronouncing a word, take a moment to go through the sight words correction to reinforce the correct pronunciation.

If Player C does not have any of the requested card, he shouts, “Go Fish!” Player A must then draw a card from the stack. If the drawn card has the word she was looking for, she shows the card and gets to take another turn. Otherwise, her turn ends, and the child who said “Go Fish” gets the next turn.

If a player collects both cards of a particular word pair, he puts them in a face-up stack in front of him. The game continues until someone has no cards left or the face-down stack runs out. The winner is the player with the most pairs of matching cards.

↑ Top

4. Confidence Builder

To make the game a little easier, especially for a younger child, simply use fewer pairs of cards.

↑ Top

5. Assessment

Observe the game, whether it’s watching your own child in your 2-player game or observing a group of students in a 4-player game. Make note of which words the children have mastered, and which ones are still a bit of a struggle. Be on the lookout for individual children who are struggling with several of the words.

A child is considered to have mastered the sight words in this activity when she can consistently recognize and read all the word cards in her hand, with confidence and without any noticeable hesitation.

↑ Top

6. Printable Go Fish Cards

Create your own custom Go Fish Cards or use some of our pre-made templates below.

To download a template, right-click and select Save As.

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!

↑ Top

15 Responses to “Sight Words Go Fish”

  1. Jonathan Mitchell

    This is a great site for learning.

  2. CT

    Thank you for providing some great learning materials!

  3. Janet

    Thank you so very much for these fantastic resources.

  4. Shanda

    Is there any way to make the words bigger on the cards?

    ADMIN – Hi Shanda,

    The text size for the Go Fish cards is fixed. It’s set to be as large as possible while still accommodating the longest sight words in the Dolch and Fry lists.

  5. Yazmin

    I love sight words

  6. b o mahony

    thank you very much for a great resource.

  7. Laurie

    As a resource teacher, I am always looking for ways to make learning fun and engaging. Thank you for this resource.

  8. Kamaya

    These are awesome! Can’t wait to start “playing” with my son and nephews! Thanks for the great resource!

  9. Kimber

    On the template, why is the middle space just a large fish?

    ADMIN – Hi Kimber,

    The free space in the middle is one you get automatically at the start of the game. It automatically counts as filled.

  10. Cheryl

    I LOVED this. I was searching for something that would engage my daughter and help her not to be as frustrated as she has been with the flash card and ink dot strategies. Love that we can now include our whole family, including older brother. Thank you!

  11. Lia

    Thanks for sharing! I really loved the sight words fishing game. Cute 🙂

  12. Patricia

    I teach Dyslexia and I use this game to help with sight words. My students think they are playing a game but they are really learning their sight words. My students really love these games. The games are really helpful!

  13. Jordie

    I love this resource, I was just wondering on your main picture before clicking into the cards the little boy is holding cards with fish on the back. Is there any way of making every second page of the resource, boxes of fish pictures the same size as the cards to be able to print them back to back. To allow for picture to be on the back of the cards ?

  14. Aviva

    Hi, thanks for the game. However, there are two mistakes as far as I can see at the moment (I am sitting with the Fry 100 list in front of me). You have “sit” instead of “its”, and “oil” instead of “am” in the first 100 game. Maybe you could fix that? Thanks!

  15. Keisha Lipscomb

    I am a teaching assistant in Cleveland Public Schools and I was asked by a teacher who seemed to be struggling, yesterday with getting her students to be able to retain the sight words they were working on. She asked me what do you do? When I went to research, to hopefully answer her question. I found this website. It is very insightful, with great ideas and information. I’m going to share this information with her. Thank you!


Leave a Reply