1. Overview

Sight Words Fly Swat is a game for building speed and confidence with identifying sight words. The adult says a word, and the child has to spot the word and splat it with a fly swat. Children find the physicality of the activity fun, and this game is a perennial favorite.

Sight Words Fly Swat is a great way of giving your child(ren) the repetition they need to achieve mastery while keeping them engaged. Because the game is so physical, it is a good game for channeling their energy when they are feeling a bit wiggly.

Sight Words Fly Swat

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2. Materials

The game requires a fly swatter and the Sight Words Fly Cards that the children will “splat.”

2.1 Fly Swatter

  • Plastic fly swatter(s)

Get a fly swatter for use in the game. For younger children, a fly swatter with a shorter handle is easier to use and aim. If you are teaching multiple students at the same time, some extra swatters in different colors will come in handy.

2.2 Sight Words Fly Cards

  • Fly templates
  • Cardstock paper (approximately 110 lb / 200 gsm)
  • Printer
  • Scissors

To make the fly cards, download and print out the relevant set of Sight Words Fly Cards, preferably on cardstock paper. Cut out the bugs with the scissors.

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3. Directions

Set up the game by placing the fly cards out on a table, well spaced out, and word side up. The adult calls out one word at a time. The child must find the word among the fly cards on the table and then “splat” the word with their fly swatter while repeating the word.

For a child that is just starting with sight words, you will begin with around five fly cards. As the child gets more advanced, you can add more words, and words that are deliberately chosen to be similar so that they are harder to distinguish.

Video: How to Play Sight Words Fly Swat
Adult: We are going to play the Fly Swat game. Are you ready to SPLAT some bugs?
Child: Yes!
Adult: I am going to call out a word, and you swat it with your swatter.
            I’ll do the first one. You.
            [The teacher hits the you fly card with the fly swatter.] You. Your turn.

The adult then calls out words one at a time, allowing the child time to find and splat the relevant fly. When the child gets the words correct, offer occasional praise and encouragement. As the child gains confidence, very gradually increase the speed at which you call out the words to encourage the student to develop more speed with their sight words.

If the child gets the answer wrong, or cannot spot the word within ten seconds, use the sight words correction to help the child review the word.

The game continues for 5-10 minutes, allowing you enough time to cycle through the words several times.

Note: We want the fly cards to be identical in all aspects except the words printed on them. So if you are going to decorate the cards, or print them on colored paper, make the flies identical. If they look different, some children will learn to tell them apart using these other characteristics instead of focusing on the words.

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4. Variations

You can change the difficulty of the game, making it easier by using fewer words, using words that are very different, and giving the child more time to find each word. The game can be made more challenging by using more words, using words that are similar (e.g., the, that, and there), and speeding up the rate at which you call out new words.

4.1 Group Fly Swat

A small group of up to four children sit side-by-side in front of the words and compete to be the first to splat each word as soon as you call it out. You want to try and pair up children of similar ability on this game, so that everyone stays engaged.

If you have a more advanced child, she can be in charge of calling out the word.

4.2 Compound Fly Swat

Instead of calling out just one word at a time, the adult calls out two and eventually even three or four words. The child then has to “splat” each of the fly cards in the order they were called. This helps the student develop memory and recall as well as building speed in recognizing the words.

4.3 Reverse Fly Swat

The adult uses the fly swatter to “splat” a fly, and the child responds by saying the word on the fly card. As the child gains confidence, the adult speeds up their rate of “splatting” the words. This game is more difficult, because it requires the child to read the word without any clues from you.

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5. Assessment

An observer can make note of the words the child correctly and incorrectly recognizes in the game to track how they are progressing and the words that may need more attention. To demonstrate mastery of the words, the child should be able to confidently identify the correct word for 100% of the words, with each word taking less than 5 seconds.

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6. Printable Fly Cards

Generate custom fly 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. You do not need to contact us for permission to use the materials. We want you to use them!

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