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It is important for children to become so familiar with the basic sight words that they can read them automatically.  This automaticity enables the students to use more brain power on comprehending what they are reading, which is the ultimate goal of reading.  Being able to read basic sight words also allows for more fluency in reading, which in turn also enables children’s brains to comprehend the material more easily. 


Here are the basic sight words (word wall words) that kindergarten students should be able to read by the end of the kindergarten school year

K Word WallK Word Wall 

Below are the basic sight words (word wall words) that first grade students should be able to read by the end of the first grade school year:

1st Word Wall
1st Word Wall

Following are the basic sight words (word wall words) that second grade students should be able to read by the end of the second grade school year:
2nd Word Wall
2nd Word Wall


What should I do with word wall words for my kindergarten, first, or second grade child?

If you have a student in kindergarten, first, or second grade, you can help your student by practicing the word wall words of the week (which are sent home by the teachers) for a few minutes every day.  Practice the ones that have already been studied along with the new ones.  See below for some fun ways to practice word wall words.

What should I do if my child does not know or is struggling with the basic sight words?

If you have a student in any grade who is having trouble remembering the basic sight words, you can help your child by practicing the previous grades’ words. See below for some fun ways to practice word wall words.

If I have to practice sight words, is there a fun way to do so?


Practicing the sight words can be done in many different ways.  You can write the words on index cards and flash them to your child.  Be sure to begin with a lot of words your child knows and add just a few that are difficult.  As your child learns all of the words in the pack automatically and easily, add a few more difficult ones.  If you give your child too many difficult words at a time, your child will probably become very frustrated, and this task will become no fun at all!  Make it fun by seeing how many words your child can read in 30 seconds (or 1 minute).  Chart the number of correct words your child knows in a 30 seconds (or a minute) to see how it grows!  You can take a turn too! 


You can put a difficult word on a card and post it somewhere in your house where your child will see it frequently.  For example, put one on the refrigerator door at your child’s eye level.  Every time your child sees the word, she must say it, spell it, say it again.  Do just a couple of difficult words at a time.  Use a DIFFERENT location for each of the different words.  Be creative and fun with locations.  Let your child do some of the same for you!


You can make a deck of cards out of the same word wall words.  Make 2 cards for each word.  Play Go Fish with these word wall words.  Mix and deal the cards so that everyone has five cards.  Put the rest in a pile in front of you.  These make up the “GO FISH” pile.  When it is your turn, you will ask if someone has a card that matches one of yours….ask for a specific card.  Example:  If I have the word “and” in my hand, I might ask you if you have the word “and”.  Each matched pair is a set!  If someone has the card you ask for, she must give it to you.  Then you have a set!  Put down your set and can go again.  If the person does not have the card you ask for, you must pull a card from the “GO FISH” pile and give the next person a turn.  Continue until all the cards have been matched.  The winner is the one with the most sets.                                                                                  


You can use the same deck of cards, with 2 cards for each word, to play Concentration.  Put the words down on the table in rows.  The first person to go gets to turn over two words and read them.  If they match, you have a match and get to go again!  If not, turn them back over in the exact same place and let the next person take a turn.  Keep your matches.  The game ends when all cards are matched.  The winner is the one with the most matches.

If you can think of a way to turn studying these words into games, you will all have more fun together practicing them!


Here is a link to a website that lists the 500 most commonly used words in the English language in rank order 25 words at a time.  This list might be helpful for students who are ready to move beyond the words listed for children in grades K, 1, and 2 above.  http://www.k12.wa.us/MigrantBilingual/pubdocs/TOPOFTHECHART.pdf


Questions to Ask Your Child As You Read

Jan Rogers, NBCT, Reading Specialist