Most, if not all, online sight word lists contain hundreds of decodable words. You may feel like you’re getting a deal when you print a 1,000 word sight word list for free, and start drilling your student with them. However, turns out, most of those lists have so many phonics-based words (i.e. not true sight words) that they do more harm than good. In this post, I offer a sight words pdf with 20 sight words.
If you ask kids, especially struggling readers, to memorize hundreds of phonics-based words, you are throwing away their time. Kids need to decode phonics-based words sound-by-sound. With practice and patience (on the teacher’s end), kids eventually master sound-by-sound reading and can decode nearly any word.
What are sight words?
True sight words break at least one phonics rule. In the beginning, sure it’s okay to have some non-sight words like “he” or “she” on your sight word list. However, very soon kids should strictly memorize sight words.
What’s a sight word? Sight words not only break at least one phonics rule, but they are also common. These are words that generally descend from Old English. Some sample sight words include: thought, should, could, the, they, many.
Do not use 1,000 word lists—these are inefficient & counterproductive
Include only words like these into instruction and suddenly you’re sight word list shrinks. Since you’ve decided to be efficient and teach phonics, you’re student does not have to memorize a 1,000 word list. Instead, focus in on about 120 sight words. This will translate into real reading progress.
Sight words pdf
In this free sight words pdf, I’ve included some of the most common sight words. Ask your student to read and spell each word. Then, for fun, she can color the picture. If you want to ensure the words are in her long-term memory, write each word on a flashcard. Start with 4 words. Then, slowly add the 16 remaining words 2-4 at a time. Review your student’s sight word pile at least 3x a week.
Here’s the free sight words pdf:
The above sight words pdf has been updated to include words for beginning readers that are learning long vowel sounds.
I hope your student enjoys coloring the sunflowers!
Reading Elephant offers a systematic phonics library.