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The Dolch List

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The Dolch Word List

The Dolch word list is a list of frequently used English words compiled by Edward Dolch from 1936 and was originally published in his book Problems in Reading in 1948. The list contains 220 words that when easily recognised greatly aid reading fluency in English. This list excludes nouns; they are in a separate 95-word list. It is said that 50% and 75% of all words used in schoolbooks, library books, newspapers, and magazines are a part of the Dolch basic sight word vocabulary. Athough some of the words he selected might not always seem as relevant, due to his use of children's books of the era, the list is still considered to be a very useful tool.
Contrary to what you may hear most of the 220 Dolch words are phonetic but there are still 21 words that need to be memorized as sight words:

a

one

where

what

once

does

said

pretty

any

walk

many

the

there

could

been

very

two

was

of

buy

laugh

In most of these sight words, the majority of the word is decodable - there are just one or two letters that don’t say the sounds we would expect them to say. The spellings of these words aren’t completely random.

The full list below is divided according to the grades in which it was intended that children would memorize these words. Here is a PDF of the main list words in an alternative format of eleven groups.

Pre-primer

Primer

First

Second

Third

Nouns

a

all

after

always

about

apple

home

and

am

again

around

better

baby

horse

away

are

an

because

bring

back

house

big

at

any

been

carry

ball

kitty

blue

ate

as

before

clean

bear

leg

can

be

ask

best

cut

bed

letter

come

black

by

both

done

bell

man

down

brown

could

buy

draw

bird

men

find

but

every

call

drink

birthday

milk

for

came

fly

cold

eight

boat

money

funny

did

from

does

fall

box

morning

go

do

give

don’t

far

boy

mother

help

eat

going

fast

full

bread

name

here

four

had

first

got

brother

nest

I

get

has

five

grow

cake

night

in

good

her

found

hold

car

paper

is

have

him

gave

hot

cat

party

it

he

his

goes

hurt

chair

picture

jump

into

how

green

if

chicken

pig

little

like

just

its

keep

children

rabbit

look

must

know

made

kind

Christmas

rain

make

new

let

many

laugh

coat

ring

me

no

live

off

light

corn

robin

my

now

may

or

long

cow

Santa Claus

not

on

of

pull

much

day

school

one

our

old

read

myself

dog

seed

play

out

once

right

never

doll

sheep

red

please

open

sing

only

door

shoe

run

pretty

over

sit

own

duck

sister

said

ran

put

sleep

pick

egg

snow

see

ride

round

tell

seven

eye

song

the

saw

some

their

shall

farm

squirrel

three

say

stop

these

show

farmer

stick

to

she

take

those

six

father

street

two

so

thank

upon

small

feet

sun

up

soon

them

us

start

fire

table

we

that

then

use

ten

fish

thing

where

there

think

very

today

floor

time

yellow

they

walk

wash

together

flower

top

you

this

were

which

try

game

toy

too

when

why

warm

garden

tree

under

wish

girl

watch

want

work

good-bye

water

was

would

grass

way

well

write

ground

wind

went

your

hand

window

what

head

wood

white

hill

who

will

with

yes