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Dolch Sight Words: Third Grade

In the late nineteen forties, Edward William Dolch, Ph.D. compiled a list of high frequency words that must be learn, so they can be automatically recognized. Dolch realized children learning to read would greatly benefit from a sight word vocabulary. His research identified 220 sight words which were commonly found in children’s readings.

Dolch Sight Words

When faced with a list of 220 words, which ones should you introduce first? Conveniently, Dolch asked and answered this question. He categorized his word list into five groups:

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

Automatically recognizing those words most commonly found in our language, is a critical step in learning to read. In fact, many scholars today recommend obtaining a sight word vocabulary by the end of first grade. This objective does not undermine Dolch’s research by level. Instead, his research provides us with an approach as to the sequence of teaching these high frequency words. Remember to review previously taught words on each list.

Dolch Sight Words – Third Grade

Dolch’s third grade word list contains 41 sight words. Almost half of these words are included on Fry’s instant 300 word list, which represents an estimated 65% of printed material. One word, shall, is not in use today as much as it was 60 years ago; it is therefore excluded from some curriculums today. The following sight words are on Dolch’s third grade word list.

about* eight hurt myself six
better fall if* never* small
bring far* keep* only* start*
carry* full kind* own* ten
clean got laugh pick today
cut* grow* light* seven together*
done hold long* shall try*
draw hot much* show* warm

* Included on Fry’s Instant Words List (Top 300)

Dolch’s sight words continue to help children develop a sight word vocabulary. Through his research, he identified the high frequency words a child learning to read should automatically 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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