Taken From: “The Reading Teachers Book of Lists,” Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Fountoukidis, Ed.D, 1993.
The First 300 Most Commonly Used English Words
Here is a list of the 300 most commonly used words (starting with: the, of, and, a, to).The first 25 words make up about one-third of all printed material in English (Fry et al. even included even blogs in making the compilation!). The first 100 words make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.
If you compare this list with the Dolch Word List (click here), you will see that the lists have many of the same words in common. (The Dolch Word List is particularly helpful for children because Dr. Dolch composed his list from children’s stories).
If your child or student can read these words from sight (s/he knows the word when they see it and don’t have to sound it out), then it will greatly improve his/her reading fluency. Be sure to present these words in different settings as some children can recognize a word from flashcards, but not in different fonts, sizes, or stories.
First Hundred Words
the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, was, for, on, are, as, with, his, they, I, at, be, this, have, from, or, one, had, by, words, but, not, what, all, were, we, when, your, can, said, there, use, an, each, which, she, do, how, their, if, will, up, other, about, out, many, then, them, these, so, some, her, would, make, like, him, into, time, has, look, two, more, write, go, see, number, no, way, could, people, my, than, first, water, been, called, who, oil, sit, now, find, long, down, day, did, get, come, made, may, part
Second Hundred Words
over, new, sound, take, only, little, work, know, place, years, live, me, back, give, most, very, after, things, our, just, name, good, sentence, man, think, say, great, where, help, through, much, before, line, right, too, means, old, any, same, tell, boy, follow, came, want, show, also, around, form, three, small, set, put, end, does, another, well, large, must, big, even, such, because, turn, here, why, ask, went, men, read, need, land, different, home, us, move, try, kind, hand, picture, again, change, off, play, spell, air, away, animal, house, point, page, letter, mother, answer, found, study, still, learn, should, America, world
Third Hundred Words
high, every, near, add, food, between, own, below, country, plant, last, school, father, keep, tree, never, start, city, earth, eyes, light, thought, head, under, story, saw, left, don’t, few, while, along, might, close, something, seem, next, hard, open, example, begin, life, always, those, both, paper, together, got, group, often, run, important, until, children, side, feet, car, mile, night, walk, white, sea, began, grow, took, river, four, carry, state, once, book, hear, stop, without, second, late, miss, idea, enough, eat, face, watch, far, Indian, real, almost, let, above, girl, sometimes, mountains, cut, young, talk, soon, list, song, being, leave, family, it’s