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Dolch Sight Words: First Grade

In the late 1940s, Edward William Dolch, Ph.D. was determined to ascertain which words were most common in children’s readings. Consequently, he identified the most frequent words and compiled a list of 220 sight words. A child should learn to automatically recognize these words upon sight.

Dolch Sight Words

Which words do you introduce to a child first? Thankfully, Dolch further categorized his word list into five groups:

  • Pre-primer
  • Primer
  • First Grade
  • Second Grade
  • Third Grade

Obtaining a sight word vocabulary is now recommended by the end of first grade. A first grade milestone for our school is to be able to read and write high frequency and sight words correctly by the end of the school year. This goal does not undermine Dolch’s research but rather presents an approach regarding which words to tackle first. After a child masters the words on the pre-primer and primer list, proceed to first grade. Scholars recommend reviewing previously taught words so plan to review the words on prior lists as you progress to more advanced lists.

Dolch Sight Words – First Grade

Dolch’s first grade list includes 41 high frequency words. A mere 100 words are estimated to represent over half of all printed material. Almost half of the words below are included on this list. Dolch included the following sight words on his first grade word list.

after fly his* old take
again from* how* once thank
an* give just open them*
any going know over then*
ask had* let put think
as* has* live round walk
by* her* may* some* were*
could* him* of* stop when*

* Included on Fry’s Primary Students’ Most Used Words and/ or Instant Words List (Top 100)

Dolch’s sight words provide a great tool for both parents and teachers. He carefully selected 220 high frequency words, which were further categorized according to level.

Source: Fry, E.B., Ph.D. & Kress, J.E., Ed.D. (2006). The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists 5th Edition. Sanfransico, CA: Jossey Bass.

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