I Can Read 100 Words

I Can Read 100 Words (with free printable chart and word cards)

I recently came across this article from the Guardian stating that there are 100 crucial words for kids to know when they are learning to read. Learning to read requires a knowledge of phonics not just sight word recognition, but this article focused on the optimal number of words that kids should learn to read by sight. The author includes a list of these 100 words, although I only counted 99 words! I included one more word in this activity to make it an even 100.


Whether you agree with the research or not, many of the words listed here also appear on lists that teachers already employ when teaching reading to students. Common lists used in classrooms include the Fry’s list or Dolch list. So the list in the article can be helpful as it aligns with these already accepted lists. If a child can read these 100 words, there are many easy reader books that a child can read. Once children begin reading books, they open the doorway to learning even more words. In all, I believe learning these 100 words are beneficial for beginning readers. With that in mind, I created a chart to track the words they have learned and word cards to help with daily practice.


Important note: This activity is for kids who are beginning to recognize words and are learning to read in a comprehensive reading program. It is not meant to be the primary way that your child learns how to read.  It is meant to bolster your child’s sight word recognition.  Suggested ages for this activity is kindergarten or above. Of course, some kids may be able to do this at a younger age, but it’s not intended for kids under five unless your child is showing signs of being an early reader. You know your child best!



  • 100 Word Chart (feel free to decorate it)
  • Word cards- print on cardstock if available
  • Click here to print I Can Read 100 Words chart and word cards
  • Construction paper if you want to create pockets to store the word cards
  • Pencil or pen for tally marks



This activity is very straight forward. It’s just good old fashion practice. Show your child the chart. Let your child know that if s/he can read 100 words than s/he can become a stronger reader. Every day your child will practice reading these words until he or she meets the goal of reading 100 words easily by sight. Not only are you helping your child with reading, you are showing your child how to set goals and work to achieve them. Here are the steps:


I Can Read 100 Words

Display the chart




I Can Read 100 Words

Cut out the words


1. Depending on your child’s age or ability choose a reasonable amount of words to practice every day.  My five year old and I practice about twenty a day.  I chose this amount because he already knows most of the words on the list, therefore practice goes quickly.  If your child does not know a lot of the words, choose a smaller amount so your child is not overwhelmed.


2. If you choose 10 words to start, show your child one word at a time. Have your child read the word out loud. If s/he gets it right, make a tally mark on the back of the card. If it was incorrect, do not. This is for you to keep track of how many times your child identifies the word.


I Can Read 100 Words


I Can Read 100 Words



3. Take the cards that your child got wrong and tell your child what the word is. Have your child repeat the word a couple of times while looking at it. When I work with my son I call these the “learning words”.  I get excited and say, “Yay, we have a word we can practice!” For additional practice, I share some suggestions of how to reinforce these words at the end of this article.


4. The next day you can test the same words or a mixture of previously used words and new ones (until all words are seen). This will depend on your child. If s/he got a lot right, you may want to add a couple of new ones. Once again, add a tally mark to the back of the card if your child got the word right.


5. Once your child has identified a word five separate times (as noted by the tally marks) write the word on the 100 chart. You’ll need to write small! It’s important that your child can recognize the words multiple times so that you know s/he knows that word and isn’t just guessing. This is another reason why changing the order of word presentation is important. And, you don’t have to show the same words every time. The more your word order or word presentation becomes the same, the less your child has to work to identify the word. You can even throw words that your child already mastered in the mix. You don’t want to make things too predictable. The whole point of this exercise is to make sure that your child can identify these words in a book within varied contexts, not just on a word card.


I Can Read 100 Words


6. Keep the process going every day of showing your child ten words (or the quantity you decided) until s/he has mastered them all. This may take some time. Acting as a teacher or coach, you can remind your child that they can accomplish this, it just takes time and effort. As a parent you know your child best, if this activity is really too hard for him or her then it may be best to wait and try again later. Some children love this kind of activity and some don’t, this isn’t for every child. Follow your instinct on if this is a reasonable goal for your child.


7. You do not need to incentivize this activity. Meaning, you do not have to offer a reward when your child learns all 100 words. Part of this activity is learning the value of reaching a goal. Hopefully, your child will feel intrinsically rewarded by his or her achievement. If you do feel the need to reward your child’s work, I strongly suggest making a natural reward such as letting your child choose a book at a book store. His or her “reward” is the ability to read that book! Your child is learning that reading can be rewarding in itself :)


Ways to practice sight words:

1. Read easy books.

Empowering Parents to Teach- 15 Really Easy To Read Books See our list of really easy to read books (click here). Read them to your child or have your child read them to you. Draw attention to any of the sight words your child is learning.




2. Color or decorate the word.

DIYGcolor Make your own printables (click here to see how). For example, is your child practicing the word, “away”? Create a printable with the word, “away”. Your child can color it in, put stickers on it, use do a dot paint, or any artsy thing s/he can imagine.




3. Play sight word hide and seek.

IMG_0767 Play this easy game (click here) using the words included in this post.





4. Make sentences.

Empowering Parents to Teach- Sentence Making Find sentences containing words that your child needs to practice and try this activity (click here to see the full activity).





5. Display the words

Empowering Parents to Teach- Sight Word TreeSo that your child can see the words on a daily basis, make a word display. This can be simple or you get creative. Our sight word tree is one example of a word display (click here to see). Think of fun ways for your child to interact with the word display. For example, since we used a tree I can make leaves fall from the tree and have my child collect the leaves and state the words on the leaves as he does it.



6. Sight Word Memory

Print two copies of the words and make a sight word memory game using the words that your child is working on!


7. Meet the Sight Words books

My son liked reading these books.  They helped build his confidence and sight word recognition. If you click on the picture, you can purchase them on Amazon. This is an affiliate link, which means I make a very small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support :)

Empowering Parents to Teach- Sight Word Hide and Seek

Sight Word Hide And Seek

With enough exposure, sight words become easily recognized to a new reader. This game gives a fun opportunity to increase a child’s experience with these words!  Kids have to pay close attention to the words on their lists as they search to find hidden sight words.



  • Sight word cards to hide (print out materials below or make your own on index cards)– For longevity, it’s best to print them on cardstock or laminate them. You can also print them on different color paper so the child can easily recognize them when searching.
  • List of words to find

You can make your own words to hide depending on what your child is learning or you can use the materials I created.


Empowering Parents to Teach- Sight Word Hide and Seek

Click here for the free printable materials


How to play:

1. The adult hides all sixteen words.  The younger the child is, the easier they should be to find. 

      How I hid them for my four year old:

Empowering Parents to Teach- Hide  and Seek Sight Words

 Hide  and Seek Sight Words

 Hide  and Seek Sight Words

 Hide  and Seek Sight Words

 Hide  and Seek Sight Words


He thought this was hilarious!


2. The child is given a list of ten words to find.

3. Have the child read all ten words, with adult help if necessary, so the child knows what s/he is looking for.

4. Once the child finds a hidden word, s/he must check the list to see if it is one of the words on the list. Remember, there are sixteen words hidden, but only ten on the list.

5. Once all ten words are found, s/he must show them to you and read the found words out loud to you.  If all the words are the correct words on the list, s/he completed the game!  If any of the found words are not on list, have your child continue searching until the correct words are found.

6. To make the game competitive, you can set a timer.  Have your child find all ten words before time runs out.  Set the time based on what is appropriate for your child’s age and ability.

7. Play again using another word list to find the hidden words!


How is this game helpful?

As mentioned before, sight words are learned when kids see the word enough times and it becomes easily recognized.  The more words a child can read by sight, the more fluent they become as readers. In this activity, I chose words found on the Dolch sight word list that comprises commonly used words.


Often times when children try to identify a word by sight, they may just look at the first letter and guess.  With this in mind, I made sure to include more than one word using the same initial letter. By doing, this the child has to look past the first letter (hopefully at the whole word) to figure out if they found the correct word on his or her list. This can give the parent or teacher feedback. If your child brings back the wrong, “b” word, ask him or her why s/he thought that the word was correct.  After listening and understanding your child’s thought process, you can show your child how you know that the word is different. For example, if the word “big” was on the list and your child brought back the word, “blue” s/he may not be looking at the whole word. First, point out the good that your child did, s/he noticed that both words start with “b”.  After acknowledging this, you can point out to your child that when you look at the second letter the word on the list (big) has an “i” next and the word your child found (blue) has an “l” next.  This tells you that the two words are different.  Give your child another chance to find the matching word.  After this interaction with you, your child may be more likely to look at the letters in the word instead of just the beginning letter.  The goal is for your child to transfer this skill to his or her reading experiences.


I also made this a hide and seek game because it encourages movement. Kids were not designed to sit still, so I like to find ways that allow kids to move around while engaged in meaningful learning experiences!


As always, follow your child’s lead and keep a positive attitude!  As long as they are playing and having fun with these words, they are getting something out of the activity.  It may not go as planned, but the opportunity to show your child that you can have fun playing with words is priceless :)





Empowering Parents to Teach- Sentence Making

Sentence Making


Do you have a beginning reader?  When your little one recognizes enough sight words to read simple books, he or she may enjoy this activity.  It helps young readers reinforce words they already know, practice new words, and understand the concept of a sentence.


My son is a beginning reader and he just started routinely reading out loud to me every night before bed.  This routine was started by him mainly to  put off going to bed, but I went with it.  Now that he is motivated to read, I began this activity using sentences that he was capable of reading from his nightly books.  Like any learning activity, I only do it if he enjoys it and is motivated.  If he isn’t interested, I don’t push him.  He actually asks to do things like this because he wants to ” do homework” just like his older brother!  This activity is one that he enjoys.


Here’s what we did:


1. He found a book that he wanted to read.  He could read some of the book independently and I helped him with the words he did not know.  He picked I Like Crabgrass from an early reader set.

Empowering Parents to Teach- Reading Sentences


2. The next day, I picked out a sentence that he was able to read all on his own without my help. In this case the sentence read, “It did not like to be cut at all!”.  I wrote the sentence on a sentence strip.    Teaching Tip:  I purposefully chose a sentence that he could easily read on his own so he would be successful in this activity.  I can always increase the difficulty if need be, but at this early stage I want him to feel capable of reading.  


3. I showed him the cover and asked him if he remembered the book.  I opened the book and showed him the page with the sentence I chose.  I pointed to it and asked him to read the sentence.  He did this easily.  Teaching Tip:  By showing him the book and page where the sentence came from, I was reminding him of the context of the sentence.


4.  I drew his attention to the sentence on the strip of paper.  I told him that he was going to build the sentence that he just read.  In the small cup was each word of the sentence.  He took out one word at a time and matched it to the sentence.


Empowering Parents to Teach- Sentence Making

I kept the book on the tray to remind of us of the sentence’s context.


5.  After he was done, he read the sentence that he created to make sure it was correct.  We also looked to see that each word matched visually.


6.  After this, I took away the sentence on the strip and jumbled up the words on the tray.  I spoke the sentence one word at a time and he searched for the word I said.  I brought out the sentence strip at the end so that he could check his work.   Teaching Tip:  This is a little more difficult because the visual cue of the sentence on the strip was removed.  


Empowering Parents to Teach- Sentence Making


Empowering Parents to Teach- Sentence Making

Checking his work.


7.  After this, my little one wanted to dictate the sentence to me and see if I could make the sentence.  He was now the teacher!


8.  Lastly, you can have your child build the sentence once more, completely on his or her own.  Jumble up the words once again, and have the child build the sentence without the sentence strip or the parent dictation.  We did not do this step because my little seemed ready to be done.  However, the fact that he was able to dictate the sentence to me earlier indicates to me that he probably would have been able to do this if asked.


Empowering Parents to Teach- Sentence Making


9.  Once he was done, I put the sentence into a chart that is designed to hold sentence strips.  I hung this where he would easily see it on a regular basis.  This allows him to read the sentence any time he wants to.  As we read more books, I can pull more sentences for him to practice making and add them to his chart.

Empowering Parents to Teach- Sentence Chart


Why did I do the activity this way?

  • First of all, I structured the activity to have a lot of support in the beginning and gradually took away the support.  If he had trouble on any step, I could stay on that level of support.
  • I took the sentence from a book he chose. I did not have to prod or offer incentives for him to read.  He likes this book so he has a desire to learn how to read it.
  • It was a real sentence from a real book, which provided context for the words he was reading.
  • This sentence has a lot of commonly used words in it.  So even though he was practicing one sentence from one book, the word recognition from this sentence can help him read many other stories.
  • I included the punctuation mark because I wanted to show the structure of a sentence as well.


We kept it short and sweet so the learning activity ended on a fun positive note!  We can repeat this activity with different sentences from other books he reads and add them to our chart.  The more words a child can read by sight, the better his or her reading fluency will become!



This post is linked to:


Montessori Monday