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Sight Words


Dr. Edward B. Fry's Instant Words (which are often referred to as the "Fry Words") are the most common words used in English ranked in order of frequency. In his research, Dr. Fry found the following results:

  • 25 words make up approximately 1/3 of all items published.
  • 100 words comprise approximately 1/2 of all of the words found in publications.
  • 300 words make up approximately 65% of all written material.






The words in these phrases come from Dr. Edward Fry’s Instant Word List (High Frequency Words). Practice reading these short sentences and phrases to improve students' speed and accuracy in reading fluency.  Remember, being a more fluent reader typically results in comprehending more of what is read.  
Download these Powerpoint presentations to practice:

(Click on Present Slide Show, the slides move from phrase to phrase automatically at a fast pace. Students should master (be able to instantly read) the first 100 phrases before moving on to the next set of phrases.)

Printable Fry’s Phrases:



Bookmark your favorites and visit them often!



  • Simplex SpellingDolch Sight Words With Reverse Phonics [iPad, iPhone] - an excellent choice for teachers and parents.


  • Heidi’s Songs these engaging, fun songs are a great way to learn sight words.  They are currently available to stream for one month free.


  • Write them down on notecards and tape them in a highly visual place - on the door, bathroom mirror, dinner seat, refridgerator - and read them over and over.  Only work on a few words at a time.  Once it is mastered recycle it out to a box or hole punch and put on a ring to revisit.  You can star, stamp, or sticker the card each time it is read if you want to add extra incentive.  (You can also get pens that write on glass or mirrors – pick a few words and change it each week.)


  • Play tic-tac-toe, but instead of being x and o, each pick one word and spell and say it as you play.


  • Write some words to practice on scratch paper, say the word, crumple it up and shoot baskets into the trash.  You can even set up different point lines.


  • Put them on notecards (or gold coins -hidden treasure) and hide them around the house.  Keep the ones you can read and re-hid the ones not recognized by sight.  You can also count up the known words, practice the unknown words and hide them all again.  Count the known words again and see if the last score of known words is beaten. 


  • Swat! Scatter words on the floor or table.  Call out words and have your child smack it with a flyswatter.  Take turns being the word caller and the swatter.  You can also call out words and just jump on them or slap it.




  • Play Fiddlesticks – This is one of my favorites! Write the sight words on the end of craft sticks (available super cheap at a store like Michael’s).   One stick, color the tip red or put a red star.  Put all the sticks into a cup.  Take turns drawing out a stick.  If you can read the word, keep it.  If not, practice it by spelling or tapping the word out, then return into the cup.  If you draw the red tipped stick, say “FIDDLESTICKS!” and return all your collected sticks into the cup.  Continue play for pre-determined amount of time or set a timer.
  • Roll, Say, Keep and another version of Roll, Say, Keep

  • Find the "treasure" or treat.  Write out sight words (or alphabet sounds or math facts) on 5-8 cups.  If you want to reuse the cups, use tape or a mailing label to write on and remove.  Hide a "treasure" under one cup and the child has to say the word on the cups to guess which one it is under.  You can also use favorable food items - such as goldfish crackers or a jellybean.  Idea taken from Cup Hunt.

  • Sight Word Hockey



Be creative, have fun, keep it short, and play often!


CORRECTION PROCEDURE(click title to view video)  - As you play and practice, mistakes will be made which is part of the learning process. The corrections procedure takes just 20 seconds, and gives the opportunity for 6 repetitions of the correct word.  Keep it positive and quick. If the child incorrectly reads a word or takes more than five seconds to read a word then follow this procedure.

COACHING STRATEGY (click the title to view video) - This video will model several ways to teach sight words to your child.  

CORRECTION EXAMPLE:  If the mistaken target sight word is should, then we would respond as follows. Each time the child says the word, the adult should rapidly move their finger underneath the word on the card, from left to right. During the correction, we move our finger under the printed word, to draw the child’s attention to the word and to cement the connection between the written and spoken word. We also use the word in a sentence to help the child understand the meaning of the word.

Adult: That word is should. What word?
Child: Should.
Adult: Let's Tap it. Let's Trace it. 
Child: Should.
Adult: Yes, should!
            We should brush our teeth before bed.
            What word?

Child: Should.

Following the correction, we continue on with the lesson or game. The procedure should be done at a brisk pace and should only take around 20 seconds, allowing you to stay in the flow of the sight words activity. Do not skip over the correction procedure.  Notice how the entire focus of the correction was on teaching the child the correct word. We don’t focus attention on the incorrect word, which wastes time and simply reinforces the wrong answer. While it is clear to the child that the original answer provided was not the right answer, the focus is completely on helping them to learn the correct answer. The corrections procedure is positive for the child and the teacher.

Fry Flash Cards

1st 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

2nd 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

3rd 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

4th 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

5th 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

6th 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

7th 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

8th 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

9th 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)

10th 100 (100 words) —  Download (PDF)


The benefits of having a bank of sight words at the ready are significant for children who are learning to read. Accurate and automatic recognition of high-frequency words enables a child to read more smoothly and at a faster rate, helping the child remember more of what he/she has just read and to make sense of it. 


Note: This activities are ways to practice words in isolation. Words in isolation, don't always transfer to reading, so THE best way to build sight word knowledge is through LOTS and LOTS of reading with repeated exposure to these words in context.


Here is a video of me talking through this page.