Teaching Resources Education News Blog Connect

Sight Words

Fun Fact

Most of the words we read are sight words. Learning sight words is an incredible head start!

Infographic: Did you know that over half of the words in the Declaration of Independence are sight words?

How to Teach Sight Words

The English language has so many rules, exceptions, and quirks that it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for kids to read by "sounding out" words. When learning to read, sight words must be taught in isolation and memorized. Attempting to "sound out" these words will only result in confusion and frustration.

Any word becomes a "sight word" when it is instantly recognized at first glance, but there are hundreds of high-frequency words that occur so often that they should just be taught as sight words from the get-go. A child's ability to read any text improves, as more words become sight words.

Lists of Sight Words

Many sight word lists have been compiled. The first lists were developed in the 1930s.

This list is the best starting point. Learning to recognize the words on this list is the most efficient way to become a good reader, because these words account for half the words anybody will ever read. Once these words are mastered, a child can simply "sound out" any less common words.

Pre-Primer: a, and, away, big, blue, can, come, down, find, for, funny, go, help, here, I, in, is, it, jump, little, look, make, me, my, not, one, play, red, run, said, see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you

Primer: all, am, are, at, ate, be, black, brown, but, came, did, do, eat, four, get, good, have, he, into, like, must, new, no, now, on, our, out, please, pretty, ran, ride, saw, say, she, so, soon, that, there, they, this, too, under, want, was, well, went, what, white, who, will, with, yes

Grade 1: after, again, an, any, as, ask, by, could, every, fly, from, give, going, had, has, her, him, his, how, just, know, let, live, may, of, old, once, open, over, put, round, some, stop, take, thank, them, then, think, walk, were, when

Grade 2: always, around, because, been, before, best, both, buy, call, cold, does, don't, fast, first, five, found, gave, goes, green, its, made, many, off, or, pull, read, right, sing, sit, sleep, tell, their, these, those, upon, us, use, very, wash, which, why, wish, work, would, write, your

Grade 3: about, better, bring, carry, clean, cut, done, draw, drink, eight, fall, far, full, got, grow, hold, hot, hurt, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, myself, never, only, own, pick, seven, shall, show, six, small, start, ten, today, together, try, warm

Nouns: apple, baby, back, ball, bear, bed, bell, bird, birthday, boat, box, boy, bread, brother, cake, car, cat, chair, chicken, children, Christmas, coat, corn, cow, day, dog, doll, door, duck, egg, eye, farm, farmer, father, feet, fire, fish, floor, flower, game, garden, girl, good-bye, grass, ground, hand, head, hill, home, horse, house, kitty, leg, letter, man, men, milk, money, morning, mother, name, nest, night, paper, party, picture, pig, rabbit, rain, ring, robin, Santa Claus, school, seed, sheep, shoe, sister, snow, song, squirrel, stick, street, sun, table, thing, time, top, toy, tree, watch, water, way, wind, window, wood

This is simply a list of the 1,000 most common words in the English language circa 1980. If a child can read all of these words, it is said that they will be able to read just about any book through the ninth grade. Many of these words can simply be "sounded out" so do not let the size of the list overwhelm you.

First 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: a, about, all, an, and, are, as, at, be, been, but, by, called, can, come, could, day, did, do, down, each, find, first, for, from, get, go, had, has, have, he, her, him, his, how, I, if, in, into, is, it, like, long, look, made, make, many, may, more, my, no, not, now, number, of, oil, on, one, or, other, out, part, people, said, see, she, sit, so, some, than, that, the, their, them, then, there, these, they, this, time, to, two, up, use, was, water, way, we, were, what, when, which, who, will, with, words, would, write, you, your

Second 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: after, again, air, also, America, animal, another, answer, any, around, ask, away, back, because, before, big, boy, came, change, different, does, end, even, follow, form, found, give, good, great, hand, help, here, home, house, just, kind, know, land, large, learn, letter, line, little, live, man, me, means, men, most, mother, move, much, must, name, need, new, off, old, only, our, over, page, picture, place, play, point, put, read, right, same, say, sentence, set, should, show, small, sound, spell, still, study, such, take, tell, things, think, three, through, too, try, turn, us, very, want, well, went, where, why, work, world, years

Third 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: above, add, almost, along, always, began, begin, being, below, between, book, both, car, carry, children, city, close, country, cut, don't, earth, eat, enough, every, example, eyes, face, family, far, father, feet, few, food, four, girl, got, group, grow, hard, head, hear, high, idea, important, Indian, it's, keep, last, late, leave, left, let, life, light, list, might, mile, miss, mountains, near, never, next, night, often, once, open, own, paper, plant, real, river, run, saw, school, sea, second, seem, side, something, sometimes, song, soon, start, state, stop, story, talk, those, thought, together, took, tree, under, until, walk, watch, while, white, without, young

Fourth 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: across, against, area, become, best, better, birds, black, body, certain, cold, color, complete, covered, cried, didn't, dog, door, draw, during, early, easy, ever, fall, farm, fast, field, figure, fire, fish, five, friends, ground, happened, heard, himself, hold, horse, hours, however, hundred, I'll, king, knew, listen, low, map, mark, measure, money, morning, music, north, notice, numeral, order, passed, pattern, piece, plan, problem, products, pulled, questions, reached, red, remember, rock, room, seen, several, ship, short, since, sing, slowly, south, space, stand, step, sun, sure, table, today, told, top, toward, town, travel, true, unit, upon, usually, voice, vowel, war, waves, whole, wind, wood

Fifth 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: able, ago, am, among, ball, base, became, behind, boat, box, bring, brought, building, built, cannot, carefully, check, circle, class, clear, common, contain, correct, course, dark, decided, deep, done, dry, English, equation, explain, fact, feel, filled, finally, fine, fly, force, front, full, game, gave, government, green, half, heat, heavy, hot, inches, include, inside, island, known, language, less, machine, material, minutes, note, nothing, noun, object, ocean, oh, pair, person, plane, power, produce, quickly, ran, rest, road, round, rule, scientists, shape, shown, six, size, special, stars, stay, stood, street, strong, surface, system, ten, though, thousands, understand, verb, wait, warm, week, wheels, yes, yet

Sixth 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: anything, arms, beautiful, believe, beside, bill, blue, brother, can't, cause, cells, center, clothes, dance, describe, developed, difference, direction, discovered, distance, divided, drive, drop, edge, eggs, energy, Europe, exercise, farmers, felt, finished, flowers, forest, general, gone, grass, happy, heart, held, instruments, interest, job, kept, lay, legs, length, love, main, matter, meet, members, million, mind, months, moon, paint, paragraph, past, perhaps, picked, present, probably, race, rain, raised, ready, reason, record, region, represent, return, root, sat, shall, sign, simple, site, sky, soft, square, store, subject, suddenly, sum, summer, syllables, teacher, test, third, train, wall, weather, west, whether, wide, wild, window, winter, wish, written

Seventh 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: act, Africa, age, already, although, amount, angle, appear, baby, bear, beat, bed, bottom, bright, broken, build, buy, care, case, cat, century, consonant, copy, couldn't, count, cross, dictionary, died, dress, either, everyone, everything, exactly, factors, fight, fingers, floor, fraction, free, French, gold, hair, hill, hole, hope, ice, instead, iron, jumped, killed, lake, laughed, lead, let's, lot, melody, metal, method, middle, milk, moment, nation, natural, outside, per, phrase, poor, possible, pounds, pushed, quiet, quite, remain, result, ride, rolled, sail, scale, section, sleep, smiled, snow, soil, solve, someone, son, speak, speed, spring, stone, surprise, tall, temperature, themselves, tiny, trip, type, village, within, wonder

Eighth 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: alone, art, bad, bank, bit, break, brown, burning, business, captain, catch, caught, cents, child, choose, clean, climbed, cloud, coast, continued, control, cool, cost, decimal, desert, design, direct, drawing, ears, east, else, engine, England, equal, experiment, express, feeling, fell, flow, foot, garden, gas, glass, God, grew, history, human, hunting, increase, information, itself, joined, key, lady, law, least, lost, maybe, mouth, party, pay, period, plains, please, practice, president, received, report, ring, rise, row, save, seeds, sent, separate, serve, shouted, single, skin, statement, stick, straight, strange, students, suppose, symbols, team, touch, trouble, uncle, valley, visit, wear, whose, wire, woman, wrote, yard, you're, yourself

Ninth 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: addition, army, bell, belong, block, blood, blow, board, bones, branches, cattle, chief, compare, compound, consider, cook, corner, crops, crowd, current, doctor, dollars, eight, electric, elements, enjoy, entered, except, exciting, expect, famous, fit, flat, fruit, fun, guess, hat, hit, indicate, industry, insects, interesting, Japanese, lie, lifted, loud, major, mall, meat, mine, modern, movement, necessary, observe, park, particular, planets, poem, pole, position, process, property, provide, rather, rhythm, rich, safe, sand, science, sell, send, sense, seven, sharp, shoulder, sight, silent, soldiers, spot, spread, stream, string, suggested, supply, swim, terms, thick, thin, thus, tied, tone, trade, tube, value, wash, wasn't, weight, wife, wings, won't

Tenth 100 Most Common Words in the English Language: action, actually, adjective, afraid, agreed, ahead, allow, apple, arrived, born, bought, British, capital, chance, chart, church, column, company, conditions, corn, cotton, cows, create, dead, deal, death, details, determine, difficult, division, doesn't, effect, entire, especially, evening, experience, factories, fair, fear, fig, forward, France, fresh, Greek, gun, hoe, huge, isn't, led, level, located, march, match, molecules, northern, nose, office, opposite, oxygen, plural, prepared, pretty, printed, radio, repeated, rope, rose, score, seat, settled, shoes, shop, similar, sir, sister, smell, solution, southern, steel, stretched, substances, suffix, sugar, tools, total, track, triangle, truck, underline, various, view, Washington, we'll, western, win, women, workers, wouldn't, wrong, yellow

This is just another list said to include the top 150 words compiled in the 90s.

First 50 Most Common Words: the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, for, was, on, are, as, not, but, what, all, were, when, we, there, can, an, your, which, their, said, if, do, into, has, more, her, two, like, him, see, time, could, no, make, than, first, been, its, water, long

Second 50 Most Common Words: little, very, after, words, called, just, where, most, know, get, through, back, much, before, think, also, around, another, came, come, work, three, word, must, because, does, part, even, place, well, with, his, they, at, be, this, from, I, have, or, by, one, had, will, each, about, how, up, out, them

Third 50 Most Common Words: then, she, many, some, so, these, would, who, now, people, my, made, over, did, down, only, way, find, use, may, other, go, good, new, write, our, used, me, man, too, any, day, same, right, look, such, here, take, why, things, help, put, years, different, away, again, off, went, old, number

Sight Words Printables

Try our Free Sight Words Flash Cards and Free Sight Words Bingo, which include all 315 Dolch Sight Words, all 1000 Fry Sight Words, and all 150 Shaywitz Sight Words. Don't forget to follow us so you never miss a freebie.

Teaching sight words is all about repetition and it is hard to have repetition without variety. You need lots of options to keep kids engaged. We think our Sight Words Super Pack is the best way to teach sight words. It is available on Teachers Pay Teachers and has received many positive reviews. We know you'll love it.

This Sight Words Super Pack includes 521 Worksheets covering all 315 Dolch Sight Words in every which way.

First demo image of Sight Words Super Pack Second demo image of Sight Words Super Pack Third demo image of Sight Words Super Pack

This super pack includes: 81 Color By Sight Words Worksheets, in which students must use the sight words to complete a sentence and to guide coloring; 47 Cut and Paste Sight Words + Reading Comprehension Worksheets, which require students to understand the meaning of sight words in the context of short stories; 78 Sight Words Shape Puzzle Worksheets, each puzzle illustrating a short story containing the sight words; 315 Individual Sight Word Worksheets, designed for targeted sight words practice; and 6 Sets of Sight Words Bingo and Playing Cards.

This pack optionally aligns with the following Common Core standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.A"Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print." - These activities prompt students to follow words from left to right and top to bottom as they complete a story or sentence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.C"Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does)." - Students have to cut and paste Dolch sight words into stories in these activities, requiring them to read common high-frequency words by sight.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3"Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words." - Students must know and apply phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words in stories and sentences in these activities.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.4"Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding." - Students must read emergent-reader stories in these activities with purpose and understanding in order to complete the activities accurately.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.4, 2.4, 3.4"Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension." - In order to complete these activities accurately, students must read stories and sentences with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

The Sight Words Super Pack (above) includes all of these Sight Word products.

Sight Words Video Game App

Word Ball Pool

Our Word Ball Pool app is a wonderful way for kids to practice sight words for hours on end. It includes over 7,600 words, but also has special educational rounds that cover all 315 Dolch Sight Words.

In the game, you must pocket lettered balls to solve a word puzzle. The game will provide hundreds of hours of sight word practice and only costs $2.99.

Download from the App Store

Scholarly Books About Teaching Reading

Here are some helpful books on literacy and reading.

The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers
The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy in the Elementary Grades
50 Literacy Strategies: Step-by-Step
Who's Doing the Work?: How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More
The Between the Lions  Book for Parents: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn to Read
The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists