Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sight Word Candy Land

Do your RtI kiddos struggle with sight words? Whew, mine sure do! I freak out at the beginning of the year when I do a screening and they know about 20 sight words! I needed a plan! Sadly, in my experience, many struggling students are not going to care a twit about tracking their growth on a graph, chart, or table. They view that as work and work is often something that they avoid like the plague! Also, many students are on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. So, I needed something with tangible rewards. My kiddos would jump through flaming hoops for a treat! Then, inspiration hit and Sight Word Candy Land was born! I can't wait to share this with you! It is super easy to implement!

Step 1: Deciding What to Track 
I am required to use Dolch Sight Words, but you can easily tweak it for Fry's Sight Words (25 or 50 at a time) or whatever word lists your reading curriculum requires. Divide the words into seven categories. This will give you a goal for each character. My seven goals were Preprimer words, Primer words, 1st grade words, 2nd grade words, 3rd grade words, then I split the 95 most common nouns into two categories: 45 most common nouns and 50 most common nouns. 

Step 2: How to Assess
I personally use flashcards for assessing sight word fluency. That way the order is always different. I have my flashcards sorted and stored by level. Everyone starts with the preprimer words. When they can read the word fluently (no sounding out allowed), I place it in a stack. If there are miscues or delays, I place it in a separate stack. I won't sign off on that level until every word is in the fluent stack. So, it may take a few rounds of assessment before they meet their goal. I am including a tracking sheet where you can keep a record of each student's level.

Step 3: Decorating (This is my favorite part!)
I covered my bulletin board with black fabric and added a black border. Then, I hot glued an old Candy Land game board in the corner. You can often get these at a yard sale or thrift store for practically nothing. I posted the characters (included in Google Doc link below). I trimmed a plastic page protectors and hung them horizontally to make pockets. You can download the Candy Cane font at I typed the words in a document, adjusted the size, and changed the font color to pink. Then, finally, I die cut gingerbread figures for the students. They all pick one and write their name on it with a Sharpie. I hid the names in the pic to protect their privacy. When a student reaches their first goal (Plumpy), they get to put their gingerbread man in that pocket. The kids LOVE moving their gingerbread man to the next character!

Step 4: Treats!
The last step is the kiddos favorite!  I always keep the treats a secret and they can't wait to see what they have earned. All you need are the little certificates in the Google docs file below, Ziploc bags, and the treats. The suggested treat list is in the file, too! Just for an example though, when my kids master their preprimer words, they get a baggie with a mini-certificate and a Little Debbie Gingerbread Man because their gingerbread man piece is on the board. See?  Super easy! All of the prizes are cheap, too. I often buy bags of them at the Dollar Store. I can make enough for 60 kids for about $5. When I am trying to get reluctant or struggling readers to master sight words, that is an investment I am willing to make!

I am hoping and praying that I did this whole Google Doc thing correctly. If you run into problems, please let me know! I will try to fix it! This file includes the prize list, mini-certificates, tracking sheet, and bulletin board characters.
I hope that your kids enjoy their adventures in Sight Word Candy Land! I would love to hear what you think of it! I have more posts like this one coming. Please follow my blog if you'd like to see them! Thanks so much!


  1. I love this game! You are so clever. I'm just curious, what do you do with students who master all of their sight words and get to the end of the game quickly? Or does this game progress throughout the whole year as new sight words are introduced?

    1. Aww, thanks so much! I also do something similar with math facts that I will be posting about soon. I use Sight Word Candy Land with my RtI students who struggle with sight word acquisition. So, new levels are introduced after the majority meet that goal. The entire game takes us all year.

  2. I came across this post tonight and thought about my days in kindergarten and how great this would have been for my RTI guys. I teach prek now and just assessed the kids this week on letters and sounds. I was sad and frustrated that Istill have a handful in my morning and afternoon class that are really struggling with their letters and sounds and I thought how wonderful this would be for them, as I am running out of things to get them motivated. Would you consider making a game set that said Letter-Sound Candy Land? I would be willing to pay for it in your TPT store if you ever did decide to. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea with us. I am definitely saving this and putting in my should I ever go back to teaching kinder or first.

    1. HI! I am so glad that you like this idea. If you will email me at, I am sure that I can make some changes for you. Please have in mind how you would like the levels/characters divided up. :)

  3. Thank you! I cannot wait to use it with my struggling readers.

    1. You are so welcome! I hope that they enjoy it! :)