High Frequency Word Games to Enjoy at Home With Your Little Learner


  1. What words are high frequency words?
  2. How do I teach my child high frequency words?
  3. How do you play games with sight words?

If you’re trying to encourage your little one to read, teaching high frequency words and sight words is the way forward. When a beginner reader knows 100 of these frequently used words they already have half of the words they need to read. 

We’re going to share the best high-frequency word games to try at home so your child becomes a bookworm in no time.child writing on some paper

What words are high-frequency words?


High-frequency words are those that are used most often in written material. 📚 This term is often used interchangeably with sight words, however, they aren’t always the same. 

Sight words need to be memorised because they don’t fit a standard phonetic or spelling pattern so need to be recognised on sight.

Here are some examples of vocabulary that fall under each.  

High-frequency words list:

✔️ Like, a, it, on, we, can, up, have, be, see, my, his, she, day, that. 

Sight words list:

✔️ Four, pretty, work, the, wash, was, nose, boys, together, laugh.  

There is a lot of crossover between high-frequency words and sight words. Your child will need to learn them all at some stage so playing word games is a great way to help them do this. 


How do I teach my child high-frequency words?


There are a number of ways to teach high-frequency words. We recommend using high-frequency word games to help teach your child. ⚽ After all, what kid doesn’t like to play games? 

By making learning fun, your child will be much more willing to spend time practising high-frequency words. Repetition is key to learning these words so offer your child a variety of games and learning methods to get the fastest and best results. 

Here are some other tips for helping your child learn high-frequency words:

  • Create posters or cards with target words your child is working on and keep them visible around the house
  • Point the target words out when you’re reading them a book
  • Have flashcards with target words on them and run through them every day

Here are some great ideas for DIY high-frequency word games:

  • Write a single word on each block of a tumbling tower game. Then your child has to read the word out each time they take a block out of the tower. 
  • Make your own memory game by writing each target word on 2 pieces of rectangular pieces of paper or card. Lay all of the pieces out in rows so the word is face down. Now your little one has to match the pairs and say the words out loud. 
  • Make your own bingo sheets and when you call out a word your child has to cover it with a bingo marker (e.g. lego piece, coin).

As you can see, you can be as creative as you like and turn just about any regular game into a high-frequency word game. Try and turn your little learner’s favourite game into a high-frequency word game and they’ll be delighted. 

Another way to teach them is using online games.  

How do you teach high-frequency words virtually?

You can find plenty of excellent high-frequency word games online today. 💻 While you may be trying to reduce your child’s screen time this is one great excuse to let them “play” online. Your child gets to learn but is having fun and using up their screen time so it’s a win-win. 

There are literally hundreds of high-frequency word games online. They target different learning levels, and come in a multitude of colours and types of games. Try various games to see what your child prefers and mix them up so they don’t get bored. 


How do you play games with sight words?


👀 Sight word games work in exactly the same way as high-frequency word games. You can use the games we mentioned above (tumbling tower, memory, bingo) or think outside the box. Your main aim is repetition, repetition, repetition.  

Whichever game is the flavour of the month with your child, try and incorporate the target words into that. 

Sight word online games

You’ll find lots of great online games for practising sight words. Most are simple but effective, mimicking favourite classics like bingo or memory. There are also more difficult games where kids need to listen to a sight word and then spell it out. 🔤

As with the high-frequency word games, we recommend you try a variety of different games and see what excites your child the most. The more enthusiastic they are about playing a game the easier it will be to hold their attention. 

You can also combine high-frequency and sight words in any DIY games you make yourself. Many online games do just this. The most important thing is to get the level right and keep your child entertained and begging you to play again! 👾

If you still struggle with getting them to want to learn the words, why not get one of our expert GoStudent tutors to help? You can book a class easily online and arrange a free trial lesson. All of our tutors are friendly, patient, and love to teach.