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41 Sight Words To Help Your First Grader Practice

Learning to recognize these words may help your child build reading skills.

By the time your child enters first grade, they’ve may have already been exposed to the basics of learning to read and write. But when it comes to really getting the hang of reading, learning sight words — words that your child should be able to know upon, well, sight — can be incredibly helpful. If they’ve mastered the sight words for kindergarten, they’re probably ready to tackle the sight words for first grade. And remember, working on sight words don’t have to be stressful. It can be fun to practice them with your child — more fun than, say, subtraction facts.

What are the basic sight words?

If you’re new to sight words, don’t worry. The concept of sight words — and they way that lists of sight words are created — is quite simple. “Sight words are often used as a measure of student’s school preparedness and progress, as sight word knowledge contributes to reading fluency,” Elena Smith, a speech and language pathologist, explains. “Although the Common Core Curriculum contains a goal for reading ‘common high-frequency words by sight’, it does not provide a specific list of sight words by grade level. Instead, each school district determines how many words are expected to be acquired by the end of each grade.” If you’re unsure of the sight words that your child should know, speak to your child’s teacher to get a list that you can practice with your child.

Sight words are commonly referred to as “high frequency words”, explains Dr. Rebecca Mannis, a learning specialist and developmental psychologist, because of the sheer number of times they appear in children’s books and other reading materials. “These words move into long-term memory and are no longer sounded out,” she says. In short, sight words are those that are seen so often that they’re instantly recognizable.

What sight words should a first grader know?

In the world of sight words, there are two names you need to know: Dolch and Fry. Educator Dr. Edward William Dolch created what is now known as “Dolch sight words”, a list of the most common words for kindergarten through third grade, while Dr. Edward Fry is responsible for adding to list, with over 1,000 words that students in grades three-through-nine should know.

With all of that in mind, it certainly doesn’t hurt to help familiarize your child with sight words, which are the building blocks for budding readers. Help your child take another step towards reading with this suggested list of sight words for first graders:

  1. After
  2. Again
  3. An
  4. Any
  5. As
  6. Ask
  7. By
  8. Could
  9. Every
  10. Fly
  11. From
  12. Give
  13. Going
  14. Had
  15. Has
  16. Her
  17. Him
  18. His
  19. How
  20. Just
  21. Know
  22. Let
  23. Live
  24. May
  25. Of
  26. Old
  27. Once
  28. Open
  29. Over
  30. Put
  31. Round
  32. Some
  33. Stop
  34. Take
  35. Thank
  36. Them
  37. Then
  38. Think
  39. Walk
  40. Were
  41. When

By practicing these sight words with your first grader, you’ll help them become the confident reader that you know they can be.

Sources interviewed:

Dr. Rebecca Mannis, Ph.D., learning specialist and developmental psychologist

Elena Smith, CCC-SLP, founder and clinician at Ivy Speech and Language