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Dolch Sight Words List – By Level of Difficulty

Dolch Sight Words

- By Level of Difficulty

Edward William Dolch, Ph.D. further analyzed his list of 220 sight words; he categorized them into two groups: easy and hard. Using a Wisconsin study that tested 6,000 students in both first and second grade, he categorized the sight words according to level of difficulty. Dolch provided this information to assist teachers in determining which sight words should be taught first and which ones require emphasis.

Dolch Sight Words List: Easier

Dolch categorized his sight word list to assist teachers in determining which words a child should learn first. The following words were categorized as easy.

a come I one them
after did if or then
all do in out they
an down into play this
and eat is pretty three
are fly it red to
around for its ride today
as four jump round too
ask from just run two
at funny like said under
away get little saw up
be go long see walk
before going look she was
big good make six we
black green me sleep when
blue had my so white
brown he myself some who
but help no soon will
by her not stop yellow
call here of ten yes
can him old that you
cold his on the your

Dolch Sight Words List: Harder

Dolch categorized his sight words into 2 lists to help teachers determine which words a child should learn first. The following words were categorized as hard.

about drink keep pick those
again eight kind please together
always every know pull try
am fall laugh put upon
any far let ran us
ate fast light read use
because find live right very
been first made say want
best five many seven warm
better found may shall wash
both full much show well
bring gave must sing went
buy give new sit were
came goes never small what
carry got now start where
clean grow off take which
could has once tell why
cut have only thank wish
does hold open their with
done hot our there would
don’t how over these write
draw hurt own think work

Source: Dolch, E.W., Ph.D. (1948). Problems in Reading. Champain, IL: The Garrard Press.

Dolch Sight Word List

Dolch further refined his lists into 5 categories: pre-primer, primer, first grade, second grade and third grade.

Pre-primer Primer First Grade Second Grade Third Grade

Today, many reading curriculums recommend obtaining a sight word vocabulary by the end of first grade. His categories are a perfect guide as to which words to introduce first.

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