The first 100 sight words make up about 50% of the text we read. Crazy, isn’t it? That’s why these handy sight word lists are so helpful – they make it easy for students to keep track of the words they know AND the words they still need to practice.
Dolch Sight Words
The Dolch list is a set of 220 words Dr. Edward William Dolch pulled together in 1948 after tallying the most frequently occurring words in children’s books published in the 1930s and 40s.
Many of those words (“said” for instance) cannot be sounded out easily so memorizing them can significantly increase children’s fluency and accuracy.
But, interestingly, Dolch intentionally left out nouns like “bed” and “mother” because he said they were too specific to the characters included in the books.
Fry Sight Words
In 1980, several decades later, Fry published a list of 300 must-know words.
Unlike the Dolch sight words list, this new option included ALL parts of speech – including nouns that Dolch left out of the mix.
Citing the The American Heritage Word Frequency Book (Carol, Davies, & Richmond, 1971), Fry explained that about half of the words written in English text were composed of the first 100 words on his list – either in their original form or with an ending like -ed, -er or -s.
Comparing the Lists
If you compare the top 100 sight words from both lists side-by-side, there are a total of 130 words. Only 70 are the same.
Most of the differences in the two popular options can be explained by the different sources the men used to create their suggestions.
Dolch used children’s books from the 1930s and 40s while Fry used a research team’s tally of just over 1,000 texts written for third to ninth graders.
All of this got me thinking…
What if we combined BOTH Dolch and Fry’s suggestions into one ultimate list?! A power packed combo that would help kids master the most popular words in one spot.
And voila! The Ultimate Sight Word List was born.
It includes 140 words divided into seven stages.
Stage One works on the top 20 words from both the Dolch and Fry lists.
Stage Two works on the next 20 words and so on.
Free Sight Word Lists
To make it easy for you to keep track of the words students are working on (Dolch, Fry OR combo), I pulled together a batch of printable checklists.
You can copy them on white or add a pop of fun by printing on color.
You can even make two sets so kids can keep one copy at school and one at home!
Snag Your Sight Word Lists
Ready to snag your sight words lists?! Click the blue download button below and then hop over and join The Reading Roadmap so you can learn the most effective system for assessing, lesson planning and getting kids HUGE reading results.