High-Frequency Sight Words

How amazing! We have well over a half-million words in English, but half of everything we write and read from age 6 to 17 depends on the 100 most frequent words.
                                                                — Frank B. May in Teach Reading Creatively

What exactly are "sight words?" These are words that good readers may instantly recognize without having to "figure them out." There are two reasons why sight words are an essential component of good reading: First of all, many of these words do not sound like their spellings might suggest, so "sounding them out" would be unproductive. Also, a good reader really can’t afford the time to dwell on too many words, or he may lose the speed and fluency necessary for determining the author’s message.

How should we decide which words to teach as sight words? Studies suggest that the most in our language, known as "high-frequency words" be the best place to start. Believe it or not, the 100 most common words actually make up about 50 percent of the material we read! The 25 most common words make up about -third of our written material (Fry, Kress, and Fountoukidis).

We can enable our students to greatly increase their reading efficiency when we teach them to read half or more of the words they encounter in a quick and automatic manner.

You can probably guess correctly at many of the most common words in our written language, such as: the, a, is, of, to, in, and, I, you, and that. You may also want to refer to lists assembled by Dolch or by Fry, Kress, and Fountoukidis

See Our Pages on High-Frequency Words:
Practice with Abstract Sight Words
More on Practice with Sight Words
Betsy B. Lee on Teaching Dolch Words
Dolch’s List of Basic Sight Words
High-Frequency Words: Classroom Activities

See Our Other Pages on Word Study and Phonics:
Working and Playing with Words
Word Families

Songs that Teach High-Frequency Words
      Big Words (5 and 6-Letter Sight Words)– Ron Brown
      Four-Letter Sight Words– Ron Brown
      Popcorn Words– Jack Hartmann 
      Read With Me: Sight Words– Ron Brown
      They Start the Same– Ron Brown

See Also:
Fry’s 300 Instant Sight Words

The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists
Fry, E., Kress, J., and Fountoukidis, D. Paramus, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Teach Reading Creatively: Reading and Writing as Communication (7th Edition)
May, Frank B.

Resources for Practice with Sight Words:
Image of Systematic Sight Word Instruction for Reading Success: A 35-Week Program
Manufacturer: Scholastic Teaching Resources (Teaching
Part Number: SC-9780545036887
Price: $89.99
Image of Word Walls Activities
Manufacturer: Teacher Created Resources
Part Number: TCR2481
Price: $17.99
Image of Making Your Word Wall More Interactive: Grades 1-3
Manufacturer: Creative Teaching Press
Part Number: 2282
Price: $14.99
Image of Sight Word Readers Parent Pack: Learning the First 50 Sight Words Is a Snap!
Manufacturer: Scholastic Teaching Resources (Teaching
Part Number: 9780545067652
Price: $21.99
Image of Sight Words (Flash Kids Flash Cards)
Manufacturer: Flash Kids
Part Number: 9781411434806
Price: $3.95
Image of Sight Words Flash Cards (Brighter Child Flash Cards)
Manufacturer: Brighter Child
Part Number: 0769664709
Price: $2.99
Image of Words They Need To Know: A Book Of K-3 Sight Word Activities
Manufacturer: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Part Number:
Price: $16.95
Image of I'm Going to Read® Workbook: Sight Words (I'm Going to Read® Series)
Manufacturer: Sterling
Part Number: FBA-|303230
Price: $5.95
Image of Success With Sight Words
Manufacturer: Creative Teaching Press
Part Number: 2298
Price: $12.99
Image of 100 Words Kids Need to Read by 1st Grade: Sight Word Practice to Build Strong Readers
Manufacturer: Scholastic Teaching Resources (Theory an
Part Number: SC939929
Price: $3.95
Image of Scholastic Success with Sight Words
Manufacturer: Scholastic Teaching Resources (Teaching
Part Number: SC520112
Price: $5.99
Image of Poems for Sight-Word Practice: With Month-by-Month Activities
Manufacturer: Crystal Springs Books
Part Number:
Price: $20.95
Image of Bob Books Sight Words: Kindergarten
Manufacturer: Scholastic
Part Number: 9780545019231
Price: $16.99
Image of Success With Sight Words
Manufacturer: Creative Teaching Press
Part Number: 2298
Price: $12.99