Sight Word Lists

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Sight Words: Dolch? Fry? or Mutt? (Free file)

January 28 Deedee 2 min read

Some time ago, someone asked me about the kindergarten sight words we used.  Did we use the  Dolch or Fry word lists? Which one was the best?  What was the difference?

So… I did a little digging.

Both Dolch and Fry advocated for whole word reading.   Although they felt that phonics could be taught, they suggested students should memorize these “sight words” as whole words… vs. decoding them (more on this later).  Subsequent research supports that stronger outcomes for readers are realized if students receive systematic explicit phonics instruction.  Students must be able to decode words, but… sight words fluency is important as well.

“Fluent readers are able to read orally with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Fluency is one of several critical factors necessary for reading comprehension. Despite its importance as a component of skilled reading, fluency is often neglected in the classroom.”

So who are these guys?


  • The list was created in 1936 by Edward William Dolch, Ph.D
  • Dolch has 220 words that do not include nouns.
  • There is a list of list of 95 nouns that were common at the time of the list’s creation.


  • Edward Fry, Ph.D. created the list in 1957 and revised the list again in 1980.
  • The list was taken from the American Heritage list, which ranks the frequency of words as they occur in materials used in 3-9 grade.
  • The words on the Fry list include all parts of speech.
  • The words are listed by frequency.

Mutt (what I call it)

Make your own list… borrowing some words from each list.

This article offers a great comparison (Dolch vs Fry) chart.

Now What?

Once you have created your word list, you need to practice it.

SIDENOTE:  There *might be a bit of Denver pride represented in these photos.

We practice…


The stopwatches we used are very simple and can be found HERE.

I have chosen to create these units using the Dolch Sight Word list as this appears to be more suited towards K-2 learners.  Never fear, I have made this editable so you can add your own words.

Individual Themed Units

The Bundle

Sight word fluency games

Individual Themed Units

The Bundle

Sight Word Fluency Games


Sight Word Intervention (5 day plan) with a ton of themes.  If you follow this link, you can try it out for FREE.  Just download the preview.

Have a fantastic day!

Kindergarten Sight Words


Try the Time Me! activity for free with this download.  Simply add your email to the box below.


  • Little Miss Kinder January 29 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I was just having this discussion with my instructional assistant today. Very helpful! 🙂

  • nancy john February 7 at 6:17 am

    Kindergarten is such a fun year for writing and reading progress. I wish I would have saved more samples from my years of teaching over the years as each kid has such a unique style!

    fun Activities for Kids

  • Tomi January 20 at 8:51 pm

    Our district uses none of these lists. We used 107 Zeno Words. It is so hard to find anything on TPT. Love your post about sight words.

  • April February 17 at 12:51 pm

    Our district wants our students to master 35 sight words. When testing them in order on Sutton’s list, if a child misses one and you continue to test to 60, would you give them credit for 59/60 or stop at the 34/35 because they missed one of the first 35? To me it seems that there is not a list state wide that has the exact sight words so students should be able to earn credit for any that are on a list and considered to be the most frequent 100. Please share your thoughts.

    • Deedee February 17 at 1:31 pm

      I would test all of the words. It is not uncommon for students to have a harder time with some words. I would go for all of them and give them credit for every one they got correct. I hope that helps.

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    My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching to different age groups and in different classroom environments. My heart belongs to early childhood education and I love working with other teachers who share this same love as me. Read More


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