Summer Activity: Sight Words Go Fish!

Editor’s Note: We are excited to share this fun summer activity by, a provider of free educational resources for teaching children to read—another ally in the mission to promote childhood literacy across curriculum!

Sight Words Go Fish is a vocabulary-themed variation of the classic Go Fish card game, for 2 – 4 players. Introducing this game is easiest when the children already have experience playing the traditional Go Fish game because they will already understand the game dynamics and can focus their attention on the reading aspect. This is of particular importance for younger children, who can get overwhelmed with having to learn a new game and new words at the same time.

The goal is to collect more pairs of matching cards than anyone else. Children must read the sight word on the card they wish to play and be able to read the words that are requested by other players. It is another fun way to give children extensive exposure to a variety of sight words.


Sight Words Go Fish 1 Chelsea Foundation

Photo: Sight Words Go Fish


For Sight Words Go Fish, you will make and use a set of cards with various word pairs. The number of pairs depends on how many words you select when creating the cards. You can also remove some pairs from your deck of cards to make it a more manageable size.

Use our Go Fish Card Generator to create a set of cards and print them out, preferably on heavy-duty cardstock paper. You will want to use a mix of newer words that the children have not yet mastered and familiar words that could use some review.


These instructions are for a game with 3 – 4 players. Sight Words Go Fish can also be played easily with just 2 players.

Video: How to Play Sight Words Go Fish

Deal 5 cards to each player (7 cards each if there are only 2 players), and then place the remaining cards face down in the middle of the circle formed by the players. All the players look at their cards but do not reveal them to each other.

Player A takes the first turn. Player A selects one of her cards 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.)

Player A then selects another player and asks him, “Player C, do you have any cards with the word BEFORE?” If Player C has a card with that word, he must say, “Yes, I have a card with the word BEFORE,” and hand it to Player A, who then gets another turn. If any player struggles with reading or pronouncing a word, take a moment to go through the sight words correction to reinforce the correct pronunciation.

If Player C does not have any of the requested card, he shouts, “Go Fish!” Player A must then draw a card from the stack. If the drawn card has the word she was looking for, she shows the card and gets to take another turn. Otherwise, her turn ends, and the child who said “Go Fish” gets the next turn.

If a player collects both cards of a particular word pair, he puts them in a face-up stack in front of him. The game continues until someone has no cards left or the face-down stack runs out. The winner is the player with the most pairs of matching cards.


Observe the game, whether it’s watching your own child in your 2-player game or observing a group of students in a 4-player game. Make note of which words the children have mastered and which ones are still a bit of a struggle. Be on the lookout for individual children who are struggling with several of the words.

A child is considered to have mastered the sight words in this activity when she can consistently recognize and read all the word cards in her hand with confidence and without any noticeable hesitation.

Printable Go Fish Cards

Create your own custom Go Fish Cards.

Dolch Sight Words Templates (PDF)

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

Fry Sight Words Templates (PDF)

Blank Go Fish Card Template (Write in your own words) (PDF)

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! is a site packed with free games and tools to help parents and educators teach sight words to kids. Their free and printable materials are designed to promote learning in the classroom and also at home. The site’s features include: 1) Twelve fun Games from Candy Land to Bingo, easy to print and customize; 2) Customizable Flash Cards in three different sizes; 3) Classroom-tested Lessons based on the latest research, complete with “how-to” videos; and 4) Templates of all materials using the Fry and Dolch sight word lists.

Featured Photo: Courtesy of


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