Skip to main content

What Are Sight Words?

Learn what sight words are and how they help children learn to read from reading specialist Anne Glass in this Howcast video.


Hi. my name is Anne Glass. I'm a reading and learning specialist at a private school in New York City and I work with Kindergarteners through 3rd graders on Reading, Word Study, and Writing Skills. In addition to be a reading specialist and learning specialist, I'm also a parent and today I'm going to talk to you about topics in reading. Sight words are words that occur frequently enough in written language that your child should just know them automatically on sight. Sight words are also special for another reason in that they often do not follow the rules of phonics. For example, one sight word, which is both a sight word because it's high frequency and irregular would be the word, was. In the word was, if you were to sound it out, you might end up writing W-U-Z, but we know that the word was is spelled W-A-S. No the W is doing what it's expected to do, but the A sounds like a short U, and is not saying a, like it normally would, and the S sounds like a Z. So that's why it's a tricky word and when they are aught, you absolutely should make explicit that these words are tricky and why they're tricky. Other examples of sight words that break the phonics rules are said, and does, and have, and many many others. If you're interested in finding a list, a complete list of sight words, I would refer you to the Dolch list. This was compiled in the late 193o's by a psychologist named Edward Dolch and is easily found on the internet. In the 1950's, the educational publishing company, Houghton Mifflin asked children's author, Ted Geisel, if he could please write a children's book based on the Dolch word list. And so he did illustrate and write a book which we now have grown to love, called The Cat in the Hat, so that Dr. Seuss classic is actually the result of the challenge to write a children's book using the Dolch list and there are 223 words in that book total that are repeated.

Popular Categories