The Fry Sight Words List

Sight words are those words frequently used in writing and reading. Since those words are used frequently, it is very important for readers to have the ability to recognize them right away without needing to sound them out. Approximately 1,000 sight words exist that range from pre-k up to 4th grade, and these are used in an estimated 90% of all of the text read on a daily basis.

At the beginning reading phase, it is critical for students to master the 1,000 sight word age-appropriate list with a 95% accuracy rate to ensure successful reading in school. You might have heard before of the Dolch sight word list. There is an expanded list that included the most common 1,000 words, which is the Fry Sight Words List. The number of words required at every grade level is 100 words at Kindergarten, 200 words at first grade, 200 words at second grade, 200-650 words at third grade, and 650-1000 words at fourth grade. In this article, we will be explaining the origins of the list as well as detail the included words.

1The Original Sight Words List

The most commonly used sight words list is the Dolch Sight Words list. Dr. Edward William Dolch was an educator who developed this list during the 1930s-40s by studying the words that most frequently occurred in children's books from this era. There are 220 "service" words contained in the list along with 95 commonly used nouns. The words make up 80% of all the words found in children's books, along with 50% of words found in adult writing.

After the list of words is known by a child, it makes it much easier to read since the child then can focus her or his attention on the words that remain. Dolch words are divided commonly into groups according to grade level, which ranges from pre-kindergarten up to third grade, along with a separate nouns list. There are 315 Dolch Sight Words in total.

2The Fry 1000 Instant Words List Origin

A more current list is the Fry Sight Words list that was extended to include the most commonly used 1,000 words. Dr. Edward Fry developed this expanded list during the 1950s, and then in 1956 he expanded the sight word lists of Dolch, researched, and published a book called "Fry 1,000 Instant Words." Dr. Fry, in his research, found these results: 300 words comprise around 65% of written material; 100 words make up around 50% of all words contained in publications, and 25 words include around 1/3 of all items that are published.

390% Reading Comprehension

Nearly half of every novel, children's story, textbook, and newspaper article is comprised of those 300 words. It is hard writing a sentence without several of the first of the 300 words being used from the 1000 Instant Words List by Fry. As a consequence, students must have the ability to read the initial 300 Instant Words quickly based on the words that appear most commonly in reading materials that are used in Grades 3 to 9.

If all 1,000 words from Fry's list are learned, it can allow a child to be able to read around 90% of words contained in a typical website, newspaper, or book. Fry's words are listed based on how frequently they occur and often are broken into groups of 100 words. So the first 100 words of Fry's are the 100 words that occur most frequently in English.

4Fry Vs. Dolch Lists

It is essential that younger readers be able to recognize those high-frequency words instantly by sight to be able to build their reading fluency. Also, it is important for words to be practiced by readers in meaningful context through sentence and phrase reading practice. Students can also practice writing out short sentences that include Fry words as a follow-up activity. The major difference between the Fry and Dolch list is that primarily the Dolch list is for Kindergarten to 2nd grade, while Fry's may be used up to fifth grade. Students who are past the 4th-grade level who have a hard time with the sight words lists indicate a red flag that they have serious reading difficulties.

5Teaching Fry Sight Words

What we recommend is that you begin by thoroughly teaching three to five words to a child in a lesson. Introduce three to five brand new words on the first days. Then start to review the previous day's new words during the next day's lesson. If your child remembers those words, then move on and introduce three to five brand new words. If your child is struggling with maybe two of the words from the previous day still, go through the entire teaching technique sequence of the two words and only introduce one to three brand new words.

6Making Corrections While Teaching

As children are learning how to play the sight word games and the sight words vocabulary, invariably they will make some mistakes where they cannot read a sight word or give the wrong answer. Feedback is provided by the corrections procedure to allow the child to know that they gave the incorrect answer, and there are practice opportunities given to learn the new word. It only takes 20 seconds to do the corrections procedure and provide the opportunities to repeat the correct word six times.

The purpose of the corrections procedure is helping a child learn a new word. Focusing on negative issues, shaming, punishing, or discouraging a child is very counterproductive since all it will do is draw the attention of the child away from the task in front of them. Instead, you want the emphasis to be on the child learning the word that is causing them problems.

Nicole Ross

Nicole S. Ross is passionate about using stories in early childhood education. She wrote our Alphabet Book Series to help children fall in love with reading while learning the alphabet.