Sight Words

S is for Sight Words

What are Sight Words?
Sight words, also called high frequency words, are the most common words.  We call them sight words because we expect children to learn to recognize them immediately upon seeing them, as opposed to “sounding them out.”

Why are they important?
Learning to recognize sight words quickly is important since sight words are the most frequently encountered words when reading.
Half of all written material is comprised of the first one hundred most common words!  When children don’t have to stop and decode these words, they become more fluent readers.  Fluency enables them to move beyond just reading words so one can focus on meaning (comprehension), the ultimate goal of reading, of course.  Explicit instruction and practice of sight words is a critical component of learning to read.

U is for Updated

Other sight word lists are outdated by almost 50 to 100 years and do not reflect contemporary language.  Language changes over time, and the Latty List is an updated list of the most common words today.    

The update is created, in part, from a database of 450 million words (Davies, 2008) and is significant.  For example, the word “woman” is listed as the 762nd most common word on another list, but now it is one of the 150 most common words.  This literally reflects the change in position of a woman in modern culture!

Another sight word list is based on the most common words found specifically in beginning readers for children.  The Latty List, however, includes both the most common words, in general, and those words typically encountered in beginning readers.

The Latty List also contains “Latty Picks.”  For example:
* Words to represent all 44 sounds of the English language
* Words to teach the most common alternate ways to spell sounds, like “large” and “giant” for “g” that can sound like a “j”
* Words that tend to be especially difficult for beginning readers
* Words for various reasons such as “she,” as well as “he,” included in the first 25 most common words (which basically comprise the PreK plan.

The images in First Words Fast are not only whimsical and beautiful, but they are fresh and contemporary, too.  No more xylophone for the letter “x,” which doesn’t even represent its usual sound.  Instead, the Fox in a Box (playing a xylophone) not only teaches its common sound, he serves as a representative for final sounds in words.

The next generation Latty List leads the way!