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Are you looking for a sight words list for your pre-reader? Check out what I discovered about teaching sight words.

As an elementary teacher, teaching sight words was something I did a lot. Like most teachers, I had my favorite go-to sight words list and strategies for teaching them. In the last part of my time in the classroom, I taught upper elementary, so teaching sight words wasn’t something I had to do as often. Now that I have been out of the classroom awhile but starting my homeschool journey with my child, I have had to dive back into what is new with literacy and especially sight words. 

free printable of sight words

Before getting into what’s new with sight words, let’s chat about what they are.

When people say sight words, what they really mean is high-frequency words (HFW). The term sight word usually refers to teaching words through memorization. It is often thought that HFW must be memorized because they do follow typical rules. While this is true for some HFW, it is not true for all of them.

Two Common Sight Words List 

There are two lists that people refer to when trying to find sight words, Dolch and Fry.

  1. Dolch– These are words include 220 words divided by grade level. The words are ordered within each grade level list according to the frequency used. 
  2. Fry– These words include the first 1000 most common words. They are grouped in sets of 100. These words are broken into sets according to the frequency, with the first 100 being the most frequent words in the English language. 

As a classroom teacher, I used the Fry lists for instruction and intervention. I was ready to pull out my old teacher materials until I found a new sight words list.

little girl reading a book of sight words

The New Sight Words List

Fountas and Pinnell were my go-to gals when it came to literacy instruction. So, I decided to see what they had to say about sight words and no surprise here they had some new (to me) information. 

When I take a look at these words, they just make sense. When a kiddo learns to read this sight words list, they will be able to read fun and simple sentences. 

  • am 
  • an 
  • and 
  • at 
  • can
  • come 
  • do 
  • go 
  • he 
  • in 
  • is 
  • it 
  • like 
  • me 
  • my 
  • no 
  • see 
  • so 
  • the 
  • to 
  • up 
  • we 
  • you

Sight Words Flash Cards

When a child is first learning sight words, there is absolutely no need for flashcards. Here is why; memorization of words doesn’t foster a love and understanding of the way words work. In my opinion, flashcards should only be used as an intervention tool. Here is an example of when I would use flashcards. Johnny is 2nd grade and is having trouble reading. You notice Johnny pauses a lot while reading simple sentences. Upon further observation, you see that he is stumbling on seemingly simple words, sight words. After a quick assessment of which words he knows, you may start using flashcards for the words he doesn’t know that are below his grade level.

sight words list

As I am heading to year one of homeschooling, I will be preparing and posting more resources soon. Until then, you can grab your free sight words list here. This list will get you started on your way to teaching sight words.