1. Overview

In Sight Words Hangman, children will play a sight words variation of the classic game of Hangman. A child will draw from a stack of flash cards and must read each word out loud to collect cards. But for every mistake, another body piece gets added to the Hangman!

You can play this game with your child, or two to four children can play each other, competing to see who can read the most words before the game ends.

Image: Sight Words Hangman

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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 Hangman game board and body pieces, preferably on thick card-stock paper, and cut out the body pieces shapes. Or use pencil and paper or chalk and chalkboard to draw your own Hangman “scaffold.”

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3. Activity

Put the Hangman board in front of the child, with the body pieces next to it. Shuffle the flash cards and put them in a face-down stack next to the board.

The child draws a card from the stack and reads the word out loud. If he can’t read the word correctly within a few seconds, go through our sight words correction procedure to review and reinforce the correct word. Because he missed the word, he moves the head piece into its place on the board. That flash card is returned to the bottom of the face-down stack of cards.

If he correctly reads and says the word, then he can move that flash card to a “keep” pile. Continue in this way, until all the body pieces have been added to the board. Add the head, then the torso, then the two arms, and finally the two legs. That ends this first round of the game. The child can then count up the number of flash cards in his keep pile — that is his score.

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

Also challenge him to beat his own record in subsequent games, collecting more and more flash cards for his “keep” pile before the game ends.

NOTE: If you have multiple players, each one should have his own board and set of body pieces. The winner is the person with the most flash cards in his “keep” pile after everyone has put all their body pieces on their board.

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4. Confidence Builder

Cut some of the body pieces in two, giving the child more chances to make a mistake before the game ends.

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5. Extension

Start the game with the head and maybe the torso already on the board. This gives the child fewer opportunities to make a mistake before the game ends.

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6. FAQs

Q: Why can’t I just play traditional Hangman with my child, where she guesses individual letters?
The purpose of sight words instruction is to teach a child to recognize a whole word on sight. We have found that the best way to do this is with lots of repetition, seeing these words over and over. So playing the game with flash cards, seeing numerous whole words, is more effective sight words practice than a game focusing on just one word, one letter at a time.

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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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11 Responses to “Sight Words Hangman”

  1. paris and alexis

    we love this game

  2. Skylar

    I like sight words hangman it is so so cool and good I love ya

  3. Belinda

    This game needs to be removed or changed to something that does not look so racist and morbid. How about making a snowman, a flower, a tree, a kite….

  4. Joshua

    this is perfect because it is a brain teaser!!!

  5. MIchelle

    I varied it and called it “Build A Person” and likened it to Build A Bear. I did not use a rope and I gave varied gender options.

    • Peggy

      I agree! Why not take a picture of a Teddy Bear and cut off the head, legs, arms and torso and call it build a bear 🙂

    • Susan

      Gender options for children!? Not appropriate.

  6. Cyndi

    are these freebies?

  7. Alicia

    This is great, but we no longer do the hangman, as some other people have mentioned. We do a Spider hanging from a web. We do the web, a body, two eyes, a smile and the 8 legs.


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