what are snap words?

Teaching Sight Words with Snap Words

We know that sight words are important for students to learn. You’ve looked up all the tips and tricks to learn sight words, tried all of the strategies, and still have students who haven’t learned them yet. But, what if I told you that there was an easier way to learn sight words? Teaching sight words with Snap Words is the easiest way for students to learn sight words. And, best of all, your students will be so proud of themselves for learning to read the first words that their excitement will cause future words to come even easier!

Who were Snap Words created for?

A Case Study:

Let me start by sharing my personal experience with Snap Words. I had two students in March of third grade, who knew a combined total of 5 sight words. (And two of them were “I” and “a”). They had been in reading intervention, they were special education students, but they just couldn’t learn sight words. At this point, I had been working with these kids for about 6 months and in that time period they had only learned two new sight words.

Sound familiar? Keep reading to find out how far those kids grew using Snap Words.

So, who were they created for?

Snap Words were created by Sarah Major. Sarah has done extensive research in creating materials specially designed for right-brain learners. She discovered that most student materials are created for left-brain learners. However, 50-60% of students are right brained learners. Snap Words were created for students who are primarily visual learners who require a link to their personal life in order to remember information. They were designed with the child in mind and can be used with students of all ages, backgrounds, and ability levels.

The 3 Imprints

Every Snap Word has what I refer to as ‘imprints’. You will use three different imprints to teach the words. I also like to use these imprints when cuing students as they see the words in text.

Visual Imprint

The visual imprint is, in my opinion, what makes Snap Words unique. When you’re teaching sight words using Snap Words, what you are doing is teaching students visual cues to help make connections to the words. Every word has an image embedded to help the students remember the word. The back of the card has the word written in ‘normal’ font. Gradually, you fade the visual imprints so that students are able to see the word without the picture. We’ll talk more about that in another blog post.

This card prompts students to remember the word as jump, by visualizing the ‘u’ as a person who in the middle of a ‘jump’.

Auditory Imprint

The auditory imprint aligns with the visual imprint. It is a short phrase or sentence that includes the Snap Word and relates to the visual imprint. For the card above, the auditory cue is “I can JUMP high.”

Kinesthetic Imprint

Each card has a gross or fine motor motion to go with the word. Generally, these are very literal in nature. For instance, for the card ‘by’ the directions are for students to go stand ‘by’ a specific item of your designation. In my classroom, I don’t always use the kinesthetic imprint they suggest. I talk more about this in this post.

On the back of every card is the word written in ‘normal’ print, the auditory prompt and the kinesthetic prompt. This card says that students should jump in place as they read this word.

Card Levels

Snap Words come in many different levels. The words are grouped by type or frequency. Words in box A will occur more frequently in the English language than words in box F. You can also grab a box of just verbs, nouns, or concepts like days and months. Each box of cards (approximately 60 words per box) includes 5 levels of 12 words. This allows you to teach words in groups of 12 at a time.


Snap Words have been a game changer in my classroom. Remember how I started this post with that case study? By the end of third grade, those students each knew about 25 sight words. Now, remember it took them all of Kindergarten, first, second, and 6 months of third grade to learn 5 sight words. In just three months of using Snap Words, they learned 25 new words. And, not only did they recognize them on the cards, they even recognized them when they saw them in print!

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I love helping teachers and students by creating materials that are engaging and appropriate for all learners.


I believe that all students have the ability to learn and grow when given the proper resources.


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