High Frequency Sight Word Lists

The following are a few sight word lists that I use with some of my lower level students to get their reading engines humming before they start an extensive reading session.  There are 7 high frequency word lists in all, broken down into: 1) function words I 2) function words II 3) verbs (including auxiliaries) 4) verbs inflected for past tense (when applicable) 5) nouns & adjectives 6) mixed list I 7) mixed list II.  The words are all pulled from the first 200 most frequent words according to the New General Service List developed by  Browne, Culligan and Phillips and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.  The sight word lists are (mostly) in their frequency order.

For students who are just learning to read, I sometimes will have them follow along with their finger as I read the words out one at a time.  For students who are working on their letter-sound correspondence, I have them read a list or two out loud and keep track of their time.  For students who are getting a bit more comfortable with reading, but still struggle with issues of automaticity, I give them a specific time to shoot for (under 60 seconds at first).  I realise this might seem a little at odds with the whole idea of extensive reading, but I find that quickly improving students ability to read these high frequency words actually makes extensive reading a lot more pleasurable for my lower level learners. If you have any ideas for how to use sight word lists in your language classroom, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

These word lists are also available in one spiffy PDF file right here: Sight Word Practice Lists PDF.


Function Words I

the of and to a
in it you for not
that on with as he
we this at they but
from by or his she
so all about if one
my there which her more
their your when what who
up some out me other


Function Words II

our them no because then
now also than him into
only these its any over
after where most much how
back such us here those
many down yes before through
between too still something both
each next why while never
again around during off another



be have do will say
go know can get would
think like make see take
come could use work want
look give find should need
mean may tell call show
feel change write talk try
leave meet help own ask
put start become include live
must study play might let


Verbs, simple past sense

was had did were said
went knew could got would
thought liked made saw took
came could used worked wanted
looked gave found should needed
meant may told called showed
felt changed wrote talked tried
left met helped owned asked
put started became included lived
must studied played might let


Nouns and adjectives

time people year way thing
day company child man life
place pause problem number part
country point school interest end
world week report house group
home course case system woman
family book question good well
new right last long unclear
same great little old different
high late kind big every


Mixed List I

the of good be time
and to had well people
year a in did say
have new way it you
for went last that on
right with know from as
long this so would made
day man were go by
they at make like life
saw same they but get


Mixed list II

or his great knew little
not think child old place
she all do if one
high take thing about can
my late there pause said
her more which kind big
their come part see your
when thought every who up
took number will what use
me some work out other

7 thoughts on “High Frequency Sight Word Lists

  1. Hi Kevin, thanks for the list and ideas. 🙂 Reading graded stories is something I’m still introducing to my learners in the 9th grade project (around 36 students this semester). Few days ago, I downloaded a cute app for Emanuel. He has to listen and tap on the right sight word in order to help his friend frog to grow. It gave me the idea to look for apps for the students. I found one but it is just to listen and repeat. I’ll share here if I find something interesting. I think apps would be awesome so they could practice at home. What do you think? Does it help?

    btw, I’m happy I’m able to read and comment on my fav blogs again. I’m catching up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ho Rose,

      I think site-word apps are a great idea to help students develop the kind of automaticity they need to be able to enjoy reading even the simplest texts. Apps that allow students to hear and then touch a word would be great. And app which would show a word and let a student speak it into a mic and then judge if it was pronounced correctly or not would be amazing. If you do find anything, let me know.

      Glad to know you have time to catch up on blog reading. I’m hoping that as soon as my ER presentation is wrapped up I can get some room to dive back into the blog world.



  2. Pingback: My Extensive Reading Blueprint ;) | ROSE BARD – Teaching Journal

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