Tag Archives: Edward W. Dolch Ph. D.

What are Dolch words? Are they the same as sight words?

Yes, Dolch words are the same as sight words.  Many teachers expect beginning readers to recognize these words by the end of first grade.

Child looking at flash cards of two and three letter words.

Click on the picture to enlarge it.

The list of 220 Dolch words was compiled by Edward W. Dolch, Ph. D. in 1936 and published in his book Problems in Reading in 1948.  Dolch listed the most commonly used words in children’s books available in the 1930’s.  He then divided them into six parts:  pre-primer, primer, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 and nouns.

Dolch thought that if a child could read the words on his list, then that child could read fluently.  Even though many of the words on the list are pronounced according to the rules of phonics, some are not and do need to be memorized.  This is why the list is sometimes called sight words.  Many kindergarten and first grade classrooms have these words posted to the walls or have flash cards of these words.

Online you can find free copies of the list by searching for “Dolch words.”  You can also find flash cards, interactive sentences which pronounce the words for a child and spelling tests based on these words.

Few story books use just the Dolch words.  Dr. Seuss in writing The Cat in the Hat, tried but found it impossible.  However, he used just 236 words, many from the Dolch list.