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Sight Words – Which Words Should Your Child Be Able To Read?

It is really important that your child is able to read a range of common words. These words need to be read automatically – no hesitation and no sounding out. Being able to read common words automatically means your child won’t need to work out every word on the page. Can you imagine having to stop and sound out every word? It would be exhausting, you can’t sound out all words and you’d have no idea what the story was about.

So, which words should a beginning readers know? There are several popular lists that teachers use, and in my classroom I mix it up. One list I do like is the Dolch Word List.

Edward William Dolch compiled a list of words that frequently appeared in children’s books of the time. He then printed the list in the book Problems in Reading in 1948. The Dolch Word List contains 220 words that are still useful to readers of today. The words are often split into two groups – non-nouns and nouns. They also appear in lists according to the order (and age) to learn them.

List 1 (Also known as Pre-Primer Word List): 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

List 2 (Also known as Primer Word List) 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

List 3 (Also known as First Grade Word List): after, again, an, any, as, ask, by, could, every, fly, from, give, giving, 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

List 4 (Also known as Second Grade Word List): 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

List 5 (Also known as Third Grade Word List): 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

Use these lists as a guide. Hopefully your child will learn these, and other, words a number of different ways – perhaps on flashcards or having them pointed out in a book. The more times they see these words, the more chance they have of reading them.

Happy Learning!






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