A Year of Second Grade Sight Words

These second grade sight words can be used to fill your word walls for an entire year. They are the categories I used to build word walls for one year with second grade students as Title I reading specialist.

Using these categories resulted in a total of 883 words on our word walls for the year.

Here they are, in the order they were presented.

Students' Names

You already know how much children of all ages love to see their names anywhere and everywhere. So it makes sense to start the year with their names on the word wall. This puts the wall into their learning context and captures their interest right from the start.

High Frequency Words

Students who have difficulty reading often have weak sight vocabularies. Knowing a large number of these words helps children read more rapidly and smoothly which in turn helps them understand and remember what they have read, improving comprehension

The Dolch high frequency words are the high frequency words I used with struggling readers in second grade, beginning with the preprimer list and working our way through them all.

Number Words

Appearing in the Dolch lists are number words from which a spinoff word wall can be built with the help of students. Words for this wall can include words such as first, last, some, multiply, etc. Students typically show a great deal of creativity and imagination in their suggestions for second grade sight words in this category.

Color Words

When using the Dolch art paragraphs, I decided it was a good opportunity to start a collection of color words. I had the children read the color of every crayon they used, and we created a word wall of these color words.

Some of the words were quite large, but the kids enjoyed it so much that they were bringing in words they had read on crayons at home!


Some color words are also the names of flowers. Use of a "Carnation Pink" crayon, for instance, may spark the creation of a word wall with the names of flowers. Bringing in different kinds of flowers for my students deepened the experience - and the learning.

The florist in our town was happy to donate carnations when I found my children had never seen them - she even gave me one for each of them, and the kids were delighted.

Action Words (nouns)

Teaching subjects and predicates improves comprehension skills because in every sentence, somebody is doing something. Children are creatures of action so a very natural outgrowth of theDolch words is a second grade sight word wall of action words. Acting out the words and seeing if the others can guess the word and read it is a fun way to review them, and incorporating music is critical for those children who are right-brained.

Subject Words (nouns)

A companion wall to the action word wall is a subject word wall. On this second grade sight word wall are words that tell who did the action. Moving their names to this wall places it in their context and raises the interest level a great deal.

By choosing a subject word and a predicate word they can makesimple – and often silly – sentences, which they greatly enjoy. My children would beg to do it!

Holiday Words

Children love holidays – all holidays – so it is wise to capitalize on their excitement by building holiday word walls together.

This is an excellent opportunity to teach tolerance and help students understand that we must respect and honor the customs and beliefs of all people.

A great deal of sensitivity is required in December, and it is important to include Hanukkah and Kwanzaa words along with those associated with Christmas.

Thanksgiving word wall

Seasonal Words

Closely related to holiday words are seasonal words, and word walls about autumn,winter, spring, and summer offer great opportunities for vocabulary expansion.

Second grade word wall with seasonal words for winter

Prefixes and Suffixes

When students have learned most of the words in the first three or four Dolch lists as well as words on other walls, they are ready to create additional words by adding prefixes and suffixes.

Two word walls may be created in this manner as students look through the word album containing the words they have already learned.

Examples: sleep - sleepless, sleepy, sleeping, sleeps

That's four new words right there! My kids were thrilled when they discovered they could make new words.

Go to Word Walls from Second Grade Sight Words

Go to How to Teach Sight Words from Second Grade Sight Words

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A Year of Word Walls - cont'd


Prefixes offer a natural way to introduce the idea of opposites with words such as “like/unlike” and “please/displease.” This is also the perfect time to introduce the words “antonyms” and “synonyms.”

Opposite word walls can be acted out, and children will enjoydemonstrating such concepts as “up/down,” “in/out,” and “fast/slow.”

Since drama engages the right brain, this is a great activity.


A companion to the previously listed wall, a wall of synonyms presents the opportunity to introduce fresh words which can be used in place of “tired” ones. Here is a chance to really enrich vocabularies in a meaningful way.

Blends and Digraphs

Often students have an easier time focusing on parts of words on the wall because of lower stress. This leaves them more relaxed and free to enter into the learning and more able to recognize the details of words such as consonant blends and digraphs.

Grouping words with blends together on a wall often brings this word feature into focus and provides needed practice.

Favorite Words

Here is another opportunity to help children feel connected to words on a word wall. Putting up their favorite words helps them feel ownership of them.

Word Families

Children love to think of as many words as they can to place in word families, and they enjoy drawing or building “houses” for them out of recycled materials. Making the connection to science (recycled materials) and to their own lives (families) makes this activity a truly authentic learning experience.

Teaching to the life of the child – helping him/her relate it to something familiar – is the hallmark of good teaching.

Words from Partner Reading

When students have developed a sight vocabulary by learning the words in the Dolch lists along with words from other walls, it is time to begin building walls with those they encounter in text.

According to some researchers, reading aloud lights up the brain more than any other activity so partner reading is a good choice for building fluency and finding words for these walls.

Partner reading in this context requires that two students have copies of the same book, chosen by them. The notion of choice is an important one in order for students to feel ownership of the activity.

Students take turns reading a page aloud, helping each other figure out unfamiliar words. Those they are unable to decode are reported to the facilitator, be it teacher or parent, who writes the words on a list and later on index cards.

These cards are taken a few at a time, the number depending on the level of the children, and are used to play sight word games before they are placed on the word wall.

A set of thirty cards at a time works well for the games with second graders.

Science Words

Children have a natural interest in the world around them and seem to arrive with the question “Why?” Capitalizing on their natural curiosity just makes sense and presents an excellent opportunity to expand not only their vocabularies but their minds as well.

A nature walk can generate an entire word wall, and children are particularly enthusiastic about robotics and electronics.

Curiosity is one of the things known to stimulate the growth of dendrites in the brain. Presenting unusual objects can help stimulate curiosity and add words to their vocabulary. A gourd, for instance, is an object second graders might not have encountered. Other objects might include old or antique items such as a slide rule or a butter churn.