The University of Iowa

Beat the Clock: Reading Games Part 2


Posted on: May 7, 2015

Last week I shared how my children and I did a really fun sight word activity called "Sight Word Hopscotch."  It was an engaging way for my kids to build their sight word vocabularies.  This week we tried another game called "Beat the Clock" and found it just as engaging.

Beat the Clock

For this activity, we used two different sets of flash cards. Griffin’s teacher has been sending two sight word cards home a week and we have compiled a rather large stack of them. In addition, I know his class is working on color words and number words as part of their sight word learning so I thought we would focus on color words to see how well he knows them. I chose to have Griffin make the color flash cards to give him some extra practice with the list of words. I showed him a list of color words (provided by his teacher) and had him copy each one onto a sticky note. I didn’t want to overwhelm him by having him write too many words, so I thought doing both was a good balance.

Typically you would want to set a timer for 30 seconds and see how many sight words your child can read within that time frame. Depending on how many words your child has, you may need to decrease that time limit, as it could be too long for your list. Griffin had 34 words in his flash cards and he got 32 words read correctly in 30 seconds the first two times. The third time we tried it he read them all with 1 second to spare. When he realized he made it through the list in less than 30 seconds, he yelled “Woo Hoo!” Next, I tried timing him with a stopwatch to see how long it would take to read the entire list. Instead of flashing them at him, I had them all laid out so he could point and read at his own pace. We added in the color words at this point, which changed it up a bit. He read the list once at 46 seconds. I challenged him to try it again, but to try to read it faster the second time. I asked him if he read it faster would the number of seconds be higher or lower and he said “lower.” This time he improved and read it in 43 seconds. He seemed to like the competition aspect of this activity.

Some things I learned from this activity:

  • Griffin has mastered most of his kindergarten words. Since it is the end of the school year, I will plan to ask his teacher for a list of first grade words we can start working on.
  • He liked trying to beat the clock, but beating his own time records seemed to be a little more fun
  • Laying the cards on the table seemed to be a smoother read for him. He seemed a little flustered when I was flashing them.
  • Next time, I will see how he does with number words 1-20
  • Griffin and I both agreed we will play this game again

“Beat the Clock” requires very few supplies and can be modified easily. It is very fun and we will definitely be doing it again (along with Sight Word Hopscotch) throughout the summer. You should try one of these fun reading games with your children.  They are a fun way to use flash cards with a twist!