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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.


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  

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