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High Frequency Words - Amazing Facts!

Sight Words [also referred as Dolch or High Frequency Words] are a list of words that readers are encouraged to recognize without having to "figure them out."  We have been told that these words cannot be sounded out because they do not follow decoding rules -  BUT many of them CAN be sounded out phonetically!!  It is for this reason that synthetic phonics does not promote or rely on the use of sight words alone.  Still, it is interesting to note that:

  • 12 Sight Words make up 25% of those we read and write.

  • 100 Sight Words make up 50% of those we read and write

  • About 300 Sight Words account for 75% of those we read and write

From looking at the above statisics, some teachers argue that it is important for your child to learns Sight Words because these are the words that are most frequently used in the English Language and they therefore provide an essential starting point for learning to become a confident reader.  Indeed in many schools, a student's reading level is estimated by having them identify the Dolch Basic Sight Words. The number of words recognized is the basis for assigning his/her equivalent reading level.


0 - 75
76 - 120
121 - 170
1st Grade
171 - 210
2nd Grade
Above 210
3rd Grade

I think there needs to be some caution in teaching sightwords.  If you look at the list below, you can see that many of the words can be sounded out phoneticaly.  


Here is a list of the High Frequency Word Lists:  

 Preprimer Primer First Second Third
a all after always about
and am again around better
away are an because bring
big at any been carry
blue ate as before clean
can be ask best cut
come black by both done
down brown could buy draw
find but every call drink
for came fly cold eight
funny did from does fall
go do give don't far
help eat going fast full
hers four had first got
I get has five grow
in good her found hold
is has him gave hot
it he how goes hurt
jump into just green if
little like know its keep
look must let made kind
make new live many laugh
me no may off light
my now of or long
not on old pull much
one our once read myself
play out open right never
red please over sing only
run pretty put sit own
said ran round sleep pick
see ride some tell seven
the saw stop their shall
three say take these show
to she thank those six
two so them upon small
up soon then us start
we that think use ten
yellow there walk very today
you they where wash together
this when which try
too why warm
under wish
want work
was would
well write
went your

Here are some high frequency words printables which include:

  • Sight Word Bingo printables, which come with printed sentence strips for practice using these words in context.

  • Word Search Puzzles which include all the Dolch sight words.

  • Dolch Flash Cards for the high frequency words & Record Chart

However, if you are teaching synthetic phonics then encourage your child to sound out the words where necessary rather than guess the sight word.

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