Sight Words

< Back to All Decoding Strategies


Sight Words


A sight word is a printed word that readers immediately recognize. When a word becomes 'automatic' readers do not need to sound out the word and can read the whole word with ease and speed.


  • Use 100 Most Common Word, Dolch Sight Word and Fry High Frequency Lists
  • Words that cannot be sounded out should also be taught as sight words
  • Create a sight word list containing words that reflect the reader's everyday life  

See It In Action


Learning Sight Words from Text


Categorizing Sight Words from Literacy Minnesota

  1. Present the flashcards to the student one at a time. Have him/her read the words on the cards, providing as much help as necessary.
  2. The first time through, sort the cards into two piles; those the student read successfully and those he/she needs to practice more.
  3. Now go through the group of cards that require additional practice.
  4. Next, ask the student to sort the cards in some other manner as he/she reads them. For example, sort by the number of syllables in the words, separate nouns from verbs, sort into things they use vs. things they don’t use, etc. The categories will depend on the student’s level and the words chosen.
  5. After the student has sorted the cards one way, have him or her re-sort them in a different manner, reading them each time.

 Other ways to incorporate sight word instruction into a lesson plan:

  • Create a dictionary of personal sight words.
  • Walk or talk through a reader's every day life. Capture sight words that they know and ones they'd like to learn.
  • Make flash cards with sight words on the front and pictures on the back.
  • Trace the shape of the word with your finger or a marker.
  • Play Sight Word Bingo (there are many free bingo templates online). 
  • Create a crossword puzzle using sight words.