1. Overview

Sight Words Memory is the standard Memory card game — sometimes called the Concentration game — with the additional element of having the student read the word on each card as they turn it over. This provides a lot of opportunities for repetition in sight reading.

sight words memory
Sight Words Memory

Learning the Sight Words Memory game is easier if the child has previously played the standard Memory game, but the game is simple enough that this is not necessary.

Memory works very well as a solo game. Memory can also be played in a group of up to four players.

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2. Materials

Memory can be played with just a set of the Memory Cards.

  • Memory Cards
  • Printer
  • Cardstock printer paper (approx. 110 lb / 200 gsm)
  • Scissors

Create Memory Cards with our Memory Card Creator and print the cards out on cardstock paper. Then cut out the cards along the dotted lines. The set should contain two copies of each word you want to review.

Begin with a small set of cards (10 word pairs), and as your child’s competence with the activity increases, increase the number of cards you use in a game. An advanced student can handle up to 25 word pairs.

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3. Activity

The game is played in much the same way as the standard Memory Card Game, with the addition of the players reading the word on each card as they play the game. The goal is to collect as many pairs of matching word cards as possible.

Video: How to Play Sight Words Memory

To set up the game, shuffle the cards and arrange them, face down, in a grid. For example, a deck of 30 cards (15 word pairs) is best laid out in a 5×6 grid, 5 columns of 6 cards each. The child picks one card and turns it over so the word is visible, reading the word on the card. The child then picks a second card and also turns it over, reading the word on the second card.

If the words on the two overturned cards match, the player removes the pair, placing them by her side, and gets another turn. If the words do not match, the player turns the cards back over so the words are no longer showing, and the player to her right takes the next turn.

If a child is unable to read a word or reads a word incorrectly, give the child a bit of coaching to help them correct the mistake and learn the word.

Play continues until all the words are matched and there are no cards left unclaimed.

If a child is struggling with this game, you can read through all the word cards with them prior to the start of play to help refresh their recall of the words. You can also make the game easier by using a smaller deck of cards with fewer word pairs. For an advanced child, you can increase the number of words you use, so it becomes more difficult to find matching cards.

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4. Confidence Builder

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

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5. Extension

When the child finds a matching pair of word cards, have her use the word in a sentence before she can add the cards to her “keep” pile.

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6. Assessment

When assessing a child’s mastery of the words, be sure to separate their reading skills from their skill at playing the Memory game. A child might have mastered the sight words on the cards and also have some difficulty remembering which card is where in the grid. Such a child might be fine with more advanced words but need a smaller number of cards. Another child who struggles to read the words will probably also have trouble remembering the location of the word cards.

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7. Printable Memory Game Cards

You can create your own custom Memory Game Cards, with developmentally appropriate word sets. As the child’s sight words vocabulary expands, you should start to expand your card set with new words and gradually remove the words that have been mastered and no longer need intensive repetition.

7.1 Custom Sight Words Memory Cards

The Memory Card Creator creates custom Memory Card sets. The generator lets you use combine existing words lists such as Dolch Sight Words and Fry Sight Words, and add your own custom words.

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

These Memory Game Cards are governed by the the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. This license lets you use the cards in any manner you want, as long as you leave the attribution logo on the cards. We made these cards so you could use them, and we are only too happy if you use them in your school, library, daycare facility, or for-profit tutoring business. You do not need to contact us for permission to use the materials.

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6. Additional Resources

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5 Responses to “Sight Words Memory”

  1. Nabina

    Dear Teacher, your site is very helpful for ESL teachers. I learned a lot here and wanted to thank you for this wonderful work you have done here. If I knew where you were I would have sent you a thank you card from my entire class, my students would like to say thank you to you too, they send love and hugs.
    Nabina, India

  2. nat

    your very welcome and thank you too.

  3. Ayesha

    Dear Inspirational Teacher 🙂
    From one teacher to another, your site is really an inspiration to us all and very helpful platform. Thank you for sharing your creativity with all of us. Ayesha from South Africa

  4. Jimmy

    I have already found three games that we are going to use in our class room over the next week. The kids are going to love them. So easy to print too. Thanks

  5. gertrude

    Cool. Thank you for this concentration game.


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