1. Overview

Sight Words Lucky 13 is a card game for 2-4 players. Children collect cards by correctly reading the sight words printed on them. They then add or subtract the numbers on the cards until they have exactly 13 points.

Image: Sight Words Lucky 13

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2. Materials

Create Lucky 13 cards with our Lucky 13 Card Creator, and print the cards out on cardstock paper. Print one Lucky 13 scorecard for each player, plus one or more sheets of Lucky 13 winner cards, all on cardstock paper if available. Cut apart the cards along the dotted lines.

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3. Activity

Shuffle the word cards and put them in a face-down stack. Player A draws a card from the stack 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.)

If she reads the word correctly, she gets to keep the card. She also gets points according to the number printed on the card. For example, if the card has the number 4 printed on it, she gets four points. She can keep track of her points by putting the appropriate number of pennies or checkers on her Lucky 13 scorecard.

If Player A 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.

Player B then takes a turn, getting a chance to draw a card, read the word, and score points. Used cards can go to the side to be shuffled and re-used later.

The goal of the game is to have exactly 13 points. A player might accomplish this easily, by scoring 4 points, then 3 points, then 6 points (4+3+6=13). More likely the child will get more than 13 points (for example, 4+3+8=15) and need to get rid of points. If a child has more than 15 points, then the next time she draws a card and reads a word, she will subtract the number on the card from her point total. So if she has 15 points and then reads a 5-point card, she should subtract 5 points from her 15 to have 10 points. She can keep track of her score by adding and removing pennies from her scorecard.

Players will bounce back and forth like this, adding points if they are under 13 and subtracting points if they are over 13, until someone has exactly 13 points. That person wins that round of the game.

One round of the game could go very quickly or take several minutes. If you play several rounds, give the winner of each round a Lucky 13 winner card. The ultimate winner is the player who has the most winner cards at the end of the lesson time.

If the second player is an adult, the adult should ask the child to “help” them read each card. This will maximize the child’s practice with the sight words.

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4. Confidence Builder

If the children have trouble keeping track of points, an adult can count for them.

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5. Variation

If two players are at different skill levels, have them play from separate sets of word cards. For example, Player A can draw from a stack of cards made from the Dolch 1st grade word list, and Player B can draw from a stack of cards made from the Dolch 2nd grade list. Just mark the backs of the cards so you can keep them organized.

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6. Printable Lucky 13 Cards

6.1 Custom Lucky 13 Cards

Use the Sight Words Lucky 13 Card Creator to create your own custom set of cards. This generator lets you use select from both existing sight words lists (e.g. Dolch & Fry) as well as allowing you to add custom words (e.g., current vocabulary words, names, etc).

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!

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8 Responses to “Sight Words Lucky 13”

  1. Shawna

    I like that math is incorporating into this reading activity and am excited to challenge my kinder-tutee!

  2. D Brooks

    Is the Lucky 13 Winner card still available? I keep getting an error message telling me the page does not exist.

    ADMIN – Hi Darla,

    Yes, it is still available. Give us some more details on the error message, and what you are seeing and we will get it fixed for you.

    • Amber Brewster

      Click the Lucky 13 Winner Card under the materials list. That link works. The one in the directions gives an error message- page not found.

      ADMIN – Hi Amber,

      Thanks for the heads up – we have fixed the issue.

  3. jmb

    I found this site this summer. My students LOVE playing this game. I just downloaded the materials to share with my colleagues. And, it’s a bonus that math is involved, too! Thank you!!

  4. robert croot

    I lost my cochlear hearing and balance and had a cochlear implant 6 weeks ago. I was having a very difficult time understanding my wife (and many other people with soft voices) and just tonight started using the word cards from your Lucky 13 game as word recognition aids. My wife says the word normally, with or without context, and I repeat what I hear her say. We can see a definite improvement in communication with just the first use. I may not be the first person who has done this, but it seems to work really well and I had to let you know.

    Thank you! Bob Croot

  5. Ms. L

    Thanks a lot for sharing your resources for free. God bless you more.

  6. Ettina

    I thought of a variation on this game: Instead of adding numbers, you could base the score on the number of letters, sounds or syllables in the word.

  7. PamelaDowell

    I have created several games using these cards. I am in the process of copyrighting two of the games. Thank you for providing a base for future games.


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