I have been struggling for the past 13 years on what sight word list I should use with my struggling readers. I have, over the years, tried many different lists and have finally found something that fits in very well with my first grade readers. I have used the Dolch List and the Fry List as well as lists from reading series. BUT… I found a list through Lucy Calkins Teachers College Reading and Writing Project that I think has been the most valuable to me. I have used it for the last three years and have had great results with the students. If you haven’t checked out this website, I would definitely check it out. Lucy continually works with literacy specialists and creates great reading and writing resources. Here is a direct link the sight word list that I have been using:
Lucy Calkins Sight Word Assessment (scroll down the page some to find it)
There are 8 lists that have 25 words each. There are directions for performing the assessments as well.
I introduce 7 new words each week. Here is a list that shows how I break it down for the school year.
Why do I like this list better than Dolch or Fry words??
Remember, this is only my opinion… I like the Dolch and Fry list and I like that it is researched based. However, I think the Dolch list doesn’t get more difficult fast enough… if you look at the list they consider 3rd grade, you will see the words if, got, ten, cut, hot, fall etc. Also, I’m not huge on students learning their color or number words as sight words (just me!)
I like the idea of the Fry list… these words are in order of frequency of what we read. My problem is, the word “of” is number two. I don’t feel as if my students need to learn “of” as one of their first sight words. I don’t see the word “of” in many early readers, which is what they are reading at this point.
So, why the Lucy Calkins list?
These words seem to follow more of a path with students progressing through different guided reading levels. I have found that these are truly sight words. Most cannot be sounded out- you just have to learn them. Once a student gets the idea of learning new words they can generally start to learn more and more at a much faster pace than when just starting out. I feel that this list progresses quickly at more of a pace that the students are ready for (even the struggling ones!!) By the end of first grade we are doing words such as thought, everything, wouldn’t, different, and special. These are also words I see regularly in grade appropriate text for the end of the year.
I made an awesome Notebook File for the Smart Board. I used all of these words to make “fun flashcards”, and 5 different games for every week!! To get this FREE notebook file click on the picture.
So, there it is… I thought I would share because I have loved using this list and have found it WAY more beneficial and appropriate for my first grade friends.
Check out the rest of Lucy Calkins website… she does amazing work!!
I just linked up with Manic Monday over at Classroom Freebies!