Sight Word Instruction

2 min. readlast update: 02.23.2024

Sight Words FAQs 

Why teach sight words? 

Sight word instruction helps enhance reading fluency and comprehension, pillars in the Science of Reading. This evidence-based literacy strategy improves overall reading skills by teaching students to quickly recognize commonly used words that may not follow regular spelling patterns. 

Shouldn’t students be taught to decode or “sound out” words?  

Yes. Teaching students to read using a combined approach of explicit phonics instruction coupled with either the Dolch or Fry lists of sight words will help students build reading fluency faster. Recognizing frequently used words on sight frees students to use their knowledge of phonics to decode unfamiliar words.  

How can I teach both? 

Many reading curriculums provide a basis for explicit phonics instruction. Teachers are encouraged to teach a selection of sight words, whether Dolch, Fry, or some other list, in addition to the phonics instruction provided in the curriculum. It is recommended that students be assessed three times per school year (i.e., the beginning of the year, mid-year, and end of the year). Flashcards can be printed for student practice as students are learning unfamiliar words. 

What is special about the Fry Word Lists? 

The Fry sight word lists present 1,000 commonly used words in ten sets of 100 words. For simplicity, Vizzle has split the Fry Word lists into Set A and Set B, with 50 words in each set. Below is the recommended pacing for using the Fry sight words. 

K 1st 100 Set A  3 3rd 100 Sets A & B; 4th Sets A & B
1 1st 100 Sets A & B 4 4th 100 Sets A & B; 5th 100 Sets A & B; 6th 100 Sets A & B; 7th 100 Set A
2 2nd 100 Sets A & B 5 7th 100 Set B; 8th 100 Sets A & B; 9th 100 Sets A & B; 10th 100 Sets A & B

Where can I find sight word resources? 

Vizzle has added Dolch and Fry sight word resources into the following ELA grade level (K-5) courses in the Extension Activities section. Each file includes a word list, an assessment sheet, and flashcards. 

Grade Level Unit (U) & Topic (T) Grade Level Unit (U) & Topic (T)
K U1T1, U4T1 3 U1T1, U9T5
1 U1T1, U6T1 4 U1T1, U9T4
2 U1T1, U5T7 5 U1T1, U8T6
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