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How to Teach Sight Words with Animals

How to Teach Sight Words with Animals | Gryphon House

Our Learn Everyday About Animals book is a great resource for preschool teachers wondering exactly how to teach sight words in their classrooms. Grabbing the attention of your preschoolers long enough to shape their emergent literacy skills through sight words can be difficult. Making the process of learning as engaging and interesting as possible is a wonderful goal for teachers to keep in mind when introducing literacy to their students.        

Having children use animals as a way to develop their literacy skills through sight words is a fun and engaging way to keep your students focused on learning!

 Here are two animal activities you can use to teach sight words to your little learners today:


ABC Sort

The children will:

  • Develop their literacy skills.
  • Identify animals by name.


  • Set of lowercase alphabet cards
  • Set of animal picture-word cards (try to have at least 3 per letter)
  • Bag for the picture-word cards

What to Do:

  1. Display the lowercase alphabet cards on a chalk rail or rug where all the children can see them.
  2. Ask a child to draw out an animal picture-word card and name the animal. Ask another child to put the picture-word card by the correct alphabet, and then ask a third child to put the picture-word card by the correct letter of the alphabet.
  3. Choose a fourth child to draw out a new picture-word card and repeat the process.
  4. To put away the cards when the children finish sorting them, ask a child to collect all the cards matching a certain letter.

Teacher-to-Teacher Tip:

To extend the lesson, use name cards of the children’s names to sort as well.


My Animal Begins with…

The children will:

  • Identify beginning letter sounds.
  • Learn to identify by sight the names of animals.


  • 7-10 pictures of animals with different beginning letter sounds
  • Construction paper
  • Laminating machine (optional)
  • Set of magnetic letters
  • Bucket


  • Glue each animal picture on a piece of construction paper, laminating them if possible.
  • Select the magnetic letters that are the beginning letter for each picture (for example, “p” for pig, “d” for duck) and put them in the bucket.

What to Do:

  1. Lay the animal pictures in a row on the floor or on a table. Explain the activity to the children.
  2. Have the first child come and pick a letter from the bucket, identify the letter, and show it to the others.
  3. Next, he looks at the animal pictures, names the animal that begins with this letter and places the letter on the picture (for example, he will put the letter “h” on the picture of the horses).
  4. Ask the group to say the sound of the letter and decide if the animal does begin with that letter. If so, allow the next a turn. If not, work with the group to find the right letter.

Teacher-to-Teacher Tip:

You can focus this activity by using only zoo animals, farm animals, pets, arctic animals, and so on.  

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