Some time ago, someone asked me about the kindergarten sight words we used. Did we use the Dolch or Fry word lists? Which one was the best? What was the difference?
So… I did a little digging.
Both Dolch and Fry advocated for whole word reading. Although they felt that phonics could be taught, they suggested students should memorize these “sight words” as whole words… vs. decoding them (more on this later). Subsequent research supports that stronger outcomes for readers are realized if students receive systematic explicit phonics instruction. Students must be able to decode words, but… sight words fluency is important as well.
So who are these guys?
- The list was created in 1936 by Edward William Dolch, Ph.D
- Dolch has 220 words that do not include nouns.
- There is a list of list of 95 nouns that were common at the time of the list’s creation.
- Edward Fry, Ph.D. created the list in 1957 and revised the list again in 1980.
- The list was taken from the American Heritage list, which ranks the frequency of words as they occur in materials used in 3-9 grade.
- The words on the Fry list include all parts of speech.
- The words are listed by frequency.
Mutt (what I call it)
Make your own list… borrowing some words from each list.
This article offers a great comparison (Dolch vs Fry) chart.
Once you have created your word list, you need to practice it.
SIDENOTE: There *might be a bit of Denver pride represented in these photos.
The stopwatches we used are very simple and can be found HERE.
I have chosen to create these units using the Dolch Sight Word list as this appears to be more suited towards K-2 learners. Never fear, I have made this editable so you can add your own words.
Have a fantastic day!
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