Second Grade Sight Words: Everything You Need To Know

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second grader studying giving a thumbs up with text to the right

Being able to read sight words and high frequency words are crucial for success in reading. By the time students get to the second grade sight words, they’ve already memorized a large majority of the words they will need to know to be good readers.

But what is the difference between sight words, high frequency words, Dolch words, and Fry words? 

That is exactly what we are going to cover in this post! You will learn what sight words are, how they can help your second grader’s literacy and reading comprehension, and which words your second grader should know.

What Are Sight Words? 

Sight words are words that don’t follow typical spelling patterns.  These words need to be memorized because attempting to sound them out is time-consuming and ultimately, useless. 

Once kids have mastered these words, they should be able to identify them within three seconds of seeing them or “at first sight.” 

Difference Between Dolch and Fry Sight Words

The Dolch sight word list came from the educator, Dr. Edward William Dolch.  During the 1930s and 40s, he studied the words most frequently found in children’s books. 

He compiled these words into what is now known as the Dolch word list.  He divided the list into sections from Pre-K thru third grade and included 95 additional nouns. 

In the 1950s, Dr. Edward Fry came along and modernized the Dolch list.  His list, which was also updated in 1980, became known as the Fry Sight Word List.  

This list includes 1,000 of the most commonly occuring words in children’s literature. They are broken into groups of 100 and taught from kindergarten through fifth grade.

  • Kindergarten: the first 50 words on the Fry List
  • First grade: the first 100 words on the Fry List (the first 50 will be review)
  • Second Grade: second 100 Fry words 
  • Third Grade: third 100 Fry words
  • Fourth and Fifth Grade: all of the remaining Fry words

Most public and private school settings follow these guidelines.  But if you’re homeschooling, you can move as quickly or as slowly as your child needs to memorize these words.  Once your student has mastered each set, simply move on to the next.

Are Sight Words and High-Frequency Words the Same Thing?

This is a common question because we see these terms used interchangeably.  

High frequency words are the most commonly occurring words in the English language, while sight words are those words that can be read immediately or “at first sight.”

As soon as a word is memorized, it can become a sight word.

However, sight words and high-frequency words are not the same.  We defined earlier that sight words are words that do not follow traditional spelling patterns. 

High-frequency words are included in both the Dolch and Fry word lists, but these are words that are most commonly occurring. Examples: the, of, and, a, is, in, etc.

We want our students to be able to recognize and memorize high-frequency words by sight because they are so common and make up 50% of the words they will see from now on. 

Ways to Teach Sight Words 

Because each student’s learning style is different, there is no one way to teach sight words. But any way that you can make learning the sight words fun will be a win with your kids!  So here are 5 simple ways to make learning sight words more engaging.

  • make flashcards
  • create a “word wall” 
  • Create a word hunt and let your child find the words around the room
  • implement word lists in writing
  • turn the words into a song

Tips to Remember When Practicing 

When you are practicing sight words with your second grader, remember that everyone learns at a different pace.  The goal is that they will learn the second set of one hundred words by the end of the school year…so you have time! 

It’s best to review no more than 3-5 unfamiliar words a day.  Once they master these, then introduce the next set while continuing to review the ones they already know. 

Every parent wants their child to learn the words as fast as humanly possible, but there’s no need to rush.  It’s better for them if they know 40 words really well than partially knowing 100. 

Incorporate 10-15 minutes of sight word practice each day and make this part of their routine. 

Sight Word Activities for Second Graders 

cards with markers to use with dice to practice sight words

38 Creative and Simple Sight Word Activities for the Classroom

You will never run out of ways to get your second grader excited about sight words with these 38 activities created by teachers and parents alike!

These ideas are so much fun that you could incorporate them into your kindergartener’s homeschool schedule or into your older kids’ daily activities. 

collage of sight word activities for second graders with text overlay

25 Low-Prep Sight Word Activities

Low prep and no prep activities are the BEST because they require little or no work on your part. And these sight word activities fit the bill because they don’t require many supplies, yet they’re engaging and educational. 

Many of these sight word practice activities can even be completed on the go with a marker board or a metal lunchbox with magnetic letters! 

collage of second grade sight word activities with text overlay

51 Sight Word Activities and Games

This set of sight word activities has so many unique ideas including outdoor games like “Sight Word Soccer” and a play on traditional board games such as “Sight Word Guess Who!” 

Your child will have so much fun that they won’t even know they are learning. And with this many different activities, you won’t ever have to resort to the same activity twice…unless your kids just love it! 

two kids on the computer playing games with text overlay

5 Online Games for Sight Word Practice

Technology is a vital part of our world and an essential component of digital learning. These 5 online games to try are a perfect way to get your second graders excited about sight words! 

They will love Bingo and Word Smash and the fact that they are participating in tech time by using the computer or iPad. Plus, there are even non-digital games and resources as well!

sight word practice cards for second graders with text

Second Grade Sight Words Practice Cards

We talked a little bit earlier about ways students could learn sight words. Here’s an activity that practices reading, writing, and using the sight words in a sentence by implementing practice cards. 

If you are homeschooling your child, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone!

Second Grade Sight Words: Dolch List

Since there are several different lists, I have the second grade lists for each. Below you find the Dolch List for second graders including the nouns.

Dolch Second Grade Word List

always, around, because, been, before, best, both, buy, call, cold, does, don’t, fast, first, five, found, gave, goes, green, its, made, many, off, or, pull, read, right, sing, sit, sleep, tell, their, these, those, upon, us, use, very, wash, which, why, wish, work, would, write, your

Dolch Noun List

apple, baby, back, ball, bear, bed, bell, bird, birthday, boat, box, boy, bread, brother, cake, car, cat, chair, chicken, children, Christmas, coat, corn, cow, day, dog, doll, door, duck, egg, eye, farm, farmer, father, feet, fire, fish, floor, flower, game, garden, girl, goodbye, grass, ground, hand, head, hill, home, horse, house, kitty, leg, letter, man, men, milk, money, morning, mother, name, nest, night, paper, party, picture, pig, rabbit, rain, ring, robin, Santa Claus, school, seed, sheep, shoe, sister, snow, song, squirrel, stick, street, sun, table, thing, time, top, toy, tree, watch, water, way, wind, window, wood

Second Grade Sight Words: Fry List – The Second 100

While the Dolch Second Grade word list was compiled by frequency, the Fry List increases in difficulty based on alphabetical order.

Second 100 Fry Words List

after, again, air, also, America, animal, another, answer, any, around, ask, away, back, because, before, big, boy, came, change, different, does, end, even, follow, form, found, give, good, great, hand, help, here, home, house, just, kind, know, land, large, learn, letter, line, little, live, man, me, means, men, most, mother, move, much, must, name, need, new, off, old, only, our, over, page, picture, place, play, point, put, read, right, same, say, sentence, set, should, show, small, sound, spell, still, study, such, take, tell, things, think, three, through, too, try, turn, us, very, want, well, went, where, why, work, world, years

Little girl with second grade sight words

As a parent, homeschooling your kids or even just helping them with second grade sight words for homework can be frustrating. But try adding in some of the activities and games because I guarantee they will make learning sight words much more enjoyable for your second grader!

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