The most basic sight words are the ones that students encounter in preschool and in kindergarten, and they include the words “a,” “big,” “all” and “little.” Typically, sight word instruction does not go beyond the third grade.
The sight words, also known as Dolch words, are a list of words that were compiled by Edward William Dolch and published in his 1948 book “Problems in Reading.” Sight words account for 50 to 75 percent of all of the words used in grade-level school books, library books, newspapers and magazines. They are words that students often memorize as opposed to sounding them out using the principles of phonics. Students often learn sight words through repeated exposure by using flash cards, by group and individual recitation of easy reader books that are tailored to their grade level and reading ability, and through simple written assignments, such as fill-in-the-blank and penmanship worksheets.
Students encounter sight words in preschool, kindergarten, and first, second and third grades. One common first-grade sight word is "after," "because" is taught in second grade, and in third grade, "together" is often taught. The age at which a student encounters a sight word also depends on his reading ability and can occur earlier or later than is typical for his grade level.