What are Sight Words?
Sight words refer to the words that are most frequently used and repeated in books, which is why sight words are also sometimes referred to as “high-frequency” words. The same words are also sometimes called “core words” and “popcorn words.” The phrase popcorn words refers to the fact that students should be able to just pop those words out every time they see them.
It’s estimated that same 100 or so words make up more than fifty-percent of the text that students read. It sounds rather implausible until you consider that sight words are often the small, easily recognizable words like “a, I, or, and, the” and so forth.
How Do I Know Which Words Are Sight Words?
Teachers rely on a few different lists of words to come up with appropriate sight words for each grade level. At the early grades, you may see that your child’s teacher has included his name and those of his classmate’s on his sight word list. While not technically “sight words,” they are words he will see in the classroom over and over again and should learn to recognize.
However, most sight word lists are comprised of words that are found on the Dolch List of Basic Sight Words and Fry’s 300 Instant Sight Words, both of which can be downloaded from the Literacy and Information Communication System (LINCS) website.
Each grade level has its own set of words to know and they build on one another. That means once your child has learned the words for kindergarten, he will be expected to know those words in addition to the new ones once he’s learned his first grade words. This is known as scaffolding.