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Dolch Sight Words: Second Grade

In the late 1940s, Edward William Dolch, Ph.D. determined a need to ascertain which sight words would be the most valuable to a child learning to read. As a result, he analyzed the “best” word lists used by children. His findings were published in his book, Problems in Reading; he identified 220 high frequency words that must be learn, so they can be automatically recognized upon sight.

Dolch Sight Words

When faced with a list of 220 words, which ones do you initially select to teach a child to automatically recognize? Dolch must have asked himself this question too, because he categorized his word list into five groups:

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

Developing a sight word vocabulary is critical to any child’s reading development. In fact, today it is recommended that by the end of first grade, students should be able to both read and write high frequency and sight words correctly. This objective does not undermine Dolch’s research but rather offers a clear cut strategy as to which words to introduce first. As you introduce new sight words, remember to review previously taught words.

Dolch Sight Words – Second Grade

Dolch’s second grade list contains 46 sight words. Approximately 65% of printed material is comprised of 300 words. A staggering 67% of the words below are among the 300 high frequency words. Dolch included the following sight words on his second grade word list.

always* does* its* sit very*
around* don’t * made* sleep wash
because* fast many* tell* which*
been* first* off* their* why*
before* five or* these* wish
best found * pull those* work*
both* gave read* upon would*
buy* goes right* us* write*
call* green sing use* your*
cold

* Included on Fry’s Primary Students’ Most Used Words and/ or Instant Words List (Top 300)

Dolch’s sight words help a child develop a sight word vocabulary by identifying the words a child should instantly recognize.

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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