If you teach reading, you probably spend a great deal of time focusing on fluency, reading comprehension, and decoding skills. One area that I sometimes lacked giving sufficient support and instruction is sight words. Especially as a middle school or even upper elementary teacher, it’s easy to assume that students know the most common sight words.. But struggling readers may not! Teachers can use Fry’s Sight Word list of the 1,000 most commonly used sight words to help target the most important words to memorize and learn. These sights words are not just important but CRITICAL to student success in reading. Since these are the most common words, it’s not okay to “sound the words out”. These are the words that the students must know automatically with “automaticity”. That means knowing them right away without having to decode them or even think about them. It’s what good readers do all the time.
Whether you use Dolch words, Fry’s list, or a self-made list of sight words for your classroom, remember to take time to focus on these sight words. They could make a world of a difference for your struggling readers!