How I Track Sight Words

5 Sight Words Books

During my guided reading session last week in Tennessee, I was asked how I track sight words. I did my best to describe these little leveled sight word and fluency phrase books, but I decided a blog post about this was definitely in order!

sight word books in a bucket

sample sight words book

These little booklets make teaching sight words and fluency phrases a breeze! Everyone can move through the lists at their own pace, allowing all the varied levels of readers to progress using the same tool. WIN.

color-coded booklets


Here’s how it works:

First, students start with booklet one. Each page has ten fry’s words on the front and ten fluency phrases with those exact words on the back. When students read front and back, automatically and accurately, they move on to the next list. (editable template too)

Below is the very first list. On the left are the first ten words. On the right are the paired phrases.

right sample book
left sample book

Once students work through an entire booklet, they graduate to the next. If they can get through all five booklets, that’s 500 sight words and 500 fluency phrases!

I dated the bottom of the levels to keep a record of mastery. Below is a little mock-up of how to quickly write it.

green sample booklet

My students loved to keep these in their book boxes and take-home bags so they would be ready to “level up” at any time. There are ten spots on the front of each book for coloring, stamping, or placing stickers to show what levels have been completed.

completed booklet 4

Color coding the different levels is helpful for keeping track of the order of difficulty. Also, these tuck perfectly into a data binder or take-home folder.

set of five booklets

I only gave the student one sight word book at a time to work through. It was a big deal to move on to the next color.

example booklet

How often you check students can be up to you. If you are a Friday assessment type of school, then you can do that. I usually did it as a quick check for one student each day at the start or end of guided reading small group time. If a student really practiced and wanted to read their list to me, I would sometimes allow it more than once a week.  It takes 30 seconds to test both sides if a student is ready and reading with automaticity.

completed booklets with stickers and stars

If I had a student reading far above the norm, I would not start them at
booklet one. The more I used the booklets, the more comfortable I became with
the lists and how they related to my students.

According to Fry’s, each set of 100 words was a grade level. So, booklet 5 would be 5th-grade high-frequency words. I had three students get to booklet 5 in the year. I also had a couple that worked through booklet 1 the entire year. Of course, everyone else was somewhere in the middle.

sample booklets 2 and 4sample booklets 2

If Fry’s are not the words for you, I also included an editable template to make your own word list and fluency phrases.

finger on sample booklet

multiple displays of sight word books

I keep a toolbox (student supply box) on my desk with my sheets of stickers. Allowing students to choose the sticker they want for the cover was a HUGE motivator for them. If you are short on stickers, they can color or stamp each level.

booklet and stickers


booklet in the book bin

full set in book bin

Click here to find out more on TpT.
sight words book purchase link

Now, I want to share a little about the conference referenced above! Cara told me that Tennessee was wonderful, and boy, was she right! I really enjoyed my time there. I spoke for two days, eight different sessions. It was so fun to see these smiling faces and many more. I know their students were missing them, but what lucky students they have for sure!!!!

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  1. Thanks so much for all your wonderful ideas. I work at a highly impacted school. I teach 3rd grade, but I have 3 students reading at a kindergarten level and another 8 at 1st grade. Your ideas and resourses have helped me differentiate for them.

  2. Thanks so much for all your wonderful ideas. I work at a highly impacted school. I teach 3rd grade, but I have 3 students reading at a kindergarten level and another 8 at 1st grade. Your ideas and resourses have helped me differentiate for them.

    1. My students got 6 books at most. my classroom library was leveled so they shopped in their level. They also kept their sight word book, and sometimes they got to borrow a flipping for phonics book from me to help practice reviewing phonics chunks.

  3. I love this idea! I teach kindergarten so I wouldn't need as many books. How do you help those kiddos who are just not getting the sight words? If they don't know them, then they are unable to practice them.

  4. I am soooo in live with this!! I've always taught and tracked high frequency words and I have the phrases for games, but love the idea of having both together to track! I cannot even imagine the growth that would occur!! Thank you!!

  5. I love the leveled books of words and phrases. Other than students practicing reading sight words from the leveled books with partners, how do students practice sight words? Do the sight word sticks you use correlate with each of the levels so students can work specifically on a targeted list of words? How do you introduce each new group of words to students since they are likely at different levels and possibly moving on at different times? Do you do any whole group instruction for sight words?

  6. I wanted to say a huge thank you Reagan for sharing your fabulous ideas! I think this is a great way to track student sight words! My school has its very own sight word lists which differ from every other list on the face of the earth! You can imagine how happy I am when I find something that I could easily tweak for my own kiddies 🙂 Thank you so much, and please keep sharing your wonderful ideas!

  7. Love these so much! I started using them about a two weeks ago in my Kindergarten classroom, and the kids are so excited to “move up”! I keep one copy in our Fluency center, and each student keeps their own book in their Guided Reading Envelope to practice at home. Then when I call students to my table for Guided Reading, it is readily available to quickly test each student. Thanks for making these!

  8. Hi I can’t wait to download the sight word booklets. Also is there a blend booklet? I would love to have that. I am very excited to start using this in my class. Thank you!

  9. I love these!! Just one important question about using them-Do you keep a master copy of each list for each student to mark up the ones they know or don’t know when you assessed them?? (For example they might be stuck at list 1 in book one for 5 weeks. Do you record this some place else because it seems there might only be one list one in the booklet. I’d love your advice!!!

    1. We have first grade data binders. We track their progress in there. (it’s also in my shop) If they are stuck for two weeks and only getting stuck on one word, I will write that word on the next list and let them move on with that word in tow. 🙂

      1. First graders should at least be able to get to what booklet number? I’m curious about what would be an attainable goal for students in first grade.

  10. How do you set it up to print the way you have it here? I am trying different ways to print it double sided, but can’t seem to get it right!

    1. I print the 5 covers first separately and only one sided. Then I go back and print the inside pages back to back. Once they are printed I cut them down the center of the page at 4.25 on the papercutter. Next I just order the pages to match the front cover. I tuck them in the colored cover and staple.

    1. Yes this should be an automatic read. If students are stuck, sounding out, or unsure on a word, then they do not pass. If they can read all of the words well except one, I sometimes write that one word on the next list and let them move on. If they can’t pass two or more words automatically, they stay on that list.

  11. How are the numbers on the front used? Do they put a sticker for every word they know or the level they are on?

    1. Yes after they can read the list and fluency phrases of a particular level, they get to put a sticker on that spot on the cover.

      1. Since there are ten spots on the cover for stickers do they end up reading it to you 10 times and they get a sticker each time?

        1. Sometimes they whip through more than one list but typically we do one front and one back.

  12. Have you shared your leveled library? I am very interested in seeing what is in there and how it is organized to use with these! So excited to use these!

  13. Do you give them two separate books, one to go home and one for book boxes? Or are they just that good at bringing them back and forth? I worry about them never coming back, so I am curious! 🙂 Thanks!

  14. Random question….what paper did you use for these? In sure they’re Astrobrights, but where did you get the packs of specific colors from? #obsessed

  15. Do your students get any rewards for “leveling up”, or just a new book? I had thought about a reward for finishing a book, but wondered what you did. Thanks!

  16. I like this! Question: Do you assess them by having them just read the words directly from their book to you? If so, do you find that they have memorized the list in order but when given the words separately on flash cards in random order they don’t know them?

  17. I was wondering if you offer the editable version on these booklets by itself. If so, would you mind providing me a link to it. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this.

  18. Hi! I love this idea and plan to use with my first graders. You may have mentioned it and I didn’t see, but do they get a sticker for each word they get correctly in their book? Thank you!

  19. First off, let me say how much I love this product, and how badly I want to use this resource. I purchased this set last school year, but unfortunately, what held me up was how to have students practice the words…I had so many students and so many different levels, I didn’t know how to help drill the sight words, if that makes sense? How do they get better at the words–do you drill sight words at a different time of the day, and if so, which list do you use? Does that make sense? I absolutely love your products, and would love any advice you have on this.

    Thanks so much!!

  20. The words and the phrases for second 100…How do you align the second 100 words to the second 100 phrases??

  21. Hello! I just purchased the sight word bundle and was wondering how I, as a teacher, keep track of what book each student is on for data purposes. Do you sell a tracking sheet? I really appreciate any help you can provide.