1. Overview

In Sight Words Tic-Tac-Toe, children will play a game of traditional Tic-Tac-Toe, with the added wrinkle that they must read a sight word correctly before they can place an X or O on the game board. The goal of Tic-Tac-Toe 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 children can play each other.

Image: Sight Words Tic-Tac-Toe

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2. Materials

For cards, you can use a set of flash cards for your desired word list, in any size. For the game board and markers, you can print out ours or make your own. Print everything on thick card-stock paper for greater durability, and cut apart the X and O markers.

Alternately: use chalk to draw a game board on a chalkboard or sidewalk. Use masking tape to make a game board on a table or the floor. Mark the X‘s and O‘s with chalk, checkers, or whatever you have handy.

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3. Activity

Put the Tic-Tac-Toe game board between the two players. Shuffle the flash cards and put them in a face-down stack next to the board. Decide which player will use the X markers and which will use the O markers. Flip a coin to decide who will go first.

Player A 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.

Once he has correctly read the word, he 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.

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

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.

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4. Extension

Increase the length of the game by using a 4×4 game board. The children will have to read more words correctly in order to make a row of four markers.

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5. Variation

If Player A reads a word incorrectly, Player B gets to put down a marker.

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6. Assessment

As you observe this game, make note of how long it takes children to read the words. Are several children getting slowed down by one or two words? If so, give these words extra attention in your next lesson. Also look out for individual children who move slowly throughout the path.

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7 Responses to “Sight Words Tic-Tac-Toe”


    Even better, have students read a word from the deck and write the word on the tic-tac-toe board in their own unique color. Their opponent uses a different color pencil. This promotes not only reading the word, but writing it. Three words in a row in your color is the winner – just a different spin on it!

    • Ashanti

      I am an elementary education teacher having to teach my almost six year-old daughter the basics, since we missed so much of kindergarten.
      I am so glad I found this site because I love the modification you suggested for this activity. It will certainly keep my daughter busy.

    • April

      Wow! I absolutely love this! I’m going to do this tomorrow with the girls I tutor! Thank you!!

  2. dhiyaa mahsuri

    My kids love the tic tac toe game!

  3. lisa

    Great Game!

  4. Rebecca

    I do not know which game to do first?

    ADMIN – Hi Rebecca,

    The games don’t have a pre-defined order. If they are young, start with the simplest games. I think Sight Words Fishing is a good place to start.

  5. Rebecca

    I love this game and this website. Makes teaching words so much easier.


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