Learning phonics and decoding is vital for first-grade readers, but it beneficial for first graders to learn a short list of words by sight as well. The most useful first-grade sight words are high-frequency words children see and hear often.
Most children who know their letter sounds can easily blend phonetically spelled words as they read. However, sight words may be difficult for a child to learn because they are often not spelled phonetically. This is one reason it’s a good idea to use a list of sight words for practice.
The Good and the Beautiful First Grade Sight Word Lists
Download a free First Grade Sight Words printable poster, set of flashcards, and list of fun practice activities and games!
The Good and the Beautiful handpicked a short list of high-frequency sight words for first-grade learners. Many of these are spelled phonetically but use complex phonics rules children do not learn until later in their education.
Our Level 1 list of sight words for first grade contains 51 of these words that are more difficult to spell.
Learn more about our award-winning first grade language arts homeschool curriculum!
Other Common Sight Word Lists
Dolch Sight Words List
The Dolch Sight Words List from the 1930s and 1940s makes up about 80% of the words children third grade and younger read daily. The words are grouped by grade level.
Fry Sight Words List
The second 100 Fry sight words make up about 50% of the words a child reads daily. It was created in the 1950s and updated in 1980 by Dr. Edward Fry.
*Both the Dolch and Fry lists of sight words are commonly used and contain many words that can be spelled phonetically. The Good and the Beautiful does not recommend using these lists as sight words lists because many of the words should be decoded at this age rather than memorized.
Should Children Memorize Sight Words?
|Pros of Memorizing Sight Words
|If the most frequently used words in texts are memorized and the child doesn’t have to take time to stop and decode the words, the child can read more quickly and pleasantly.
|Cons of Memorizing Sight Words
|Most of the Dolch and Fry first grade sight words can be easily decoded easily.
Children have only a certain amount of time to learn each day. Memorizing words can be just as hard and take just as long as learning to decode the words. Time spent memorizing high-frequency words can instead be applied to a good phonics program that teaches the child how to decode and read those words as well as many others.
|The Good and the Beautiful Philosophy on First Grade Sight Words
|The Good and the Beautiful, one of the most widely used homeschool curriculum programs, focuses on phonics while having children memorize a short list of the highest-frequency words that can’t be easily decoded at this age level.
This method has proven successful with hundreds of thousands of children using The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Courses.
Included in our FREE download is a set of flashcards containing The 51 Level 1 sight words from The Good and the Beautiful, along with simple games and activity ideas!
We recommend printing the flashcards on cardstock for durability and suggest using 6–15 words at a time, depending on your child’s needs.
Download instructions for fun games such as Sight Word Soup, Paper Ball Tic-Tac-Toe, Sight Word Go Fish, and more!
Check out these fun first grade resources!
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