What are sight words? They’re words a child learns to recognize on sight. This list, by Edward William Dolch, was first published back in 1936 (and later published in his book, Problems in Reading). There are 220 Dolch sight words, spread across sight word lists from preschool to third grade. The theory is that these words are used so often in print that they make up an estimated 75 percent of all words used in children’s books. Because they appear so often, they’re also called high-frequency words.

As kids learn to read, the four main reading skills are decoding, fluency, comprehension, and knowledge. A child’s ability to decode (or sound out) words is crucial to reading. But to become a fluent reader, it helps if kids don’t have to sound out every single word they come across. So being able to “read” or recognize high-frequency or sight words without hesitation can help children read more fluently and, by extension, help them better understand what they read because they’re not stopping to sound out every word. In other words, memorizing these kindergarten sight words can help young kids keep going and gain momentum as they learn to read.

Dolch kindergarten sight words

all  now
am  on
are  our
at  out
ate  please
be  pretty
black  ran
brown  ride
but  saw
came  say
did  she
do  so
eat  soon
four  that
get  there
good  they
have  this
he  too
into  under
like  want
must  was
new  well
no  went



Check out the Dolch sight words for preschool, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade — and the list of preK-3rd grade nouns.

More ways to support your kindergartner as they learn to read

• Play: Decoding activities for your beginning reader
• Read: Books to boost your kindergartner’s decoding skills
• Watch: Follow my finger
• Do: Kindergarten letters and sounds worksheets

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