Tag Archives: Dolch

Free copy of Stepping Stones for Early Readers

School Sparks is offering a free copy of Stepping Stones for Early Readers. It is an e-book filled with tips for helping your child build confidence and become a successful reader. They use sight words and word families to accomplish this goal.

The e-book also includes other reading resources such as a list of 92 Dolch sight word flashcards, 96 easy-to-read sight word sentences, 10 sight word bingo cards, and 10 word family sliders.

You can also download a free copy of the Early Writing for Little Hands e-book from School Sparks. This e-book includes a summary of how to introduce your child to the letters of the alphabet, ideas for  teaching your child proper pencil grip, and 52 full-color letter tracing worksheets (one worksheet for each uppercase and lowercase letter).


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Words–simple little words!

What do “The Cat in the Hat” and E.W. Dolch have in common? If you guessed sight words (Dolch Words) you are correct. Edward William Dolch, PhD, published the Dolch word list in his book “Problems in Reading” in 1948. He had researched children’s books to determine which words were most frequently used. He determined that there were 220 words that children should master in order for them to read fluently. Dolch eloquently stated, “A child’s language development is, next to his character, the most important part of his school experience.”

Dolch referred to his list of words as “service words” or “tools” because essentially they serve as a tool in learning to read, and they are included in all types of writing regardless of subject matter.

The 220 words include

  • 6 conjunctions – used to join clauses,
  • 16 prepositions – used to introduce phrases,
  • 26 pronouns – used to represent person or things,
  • 34 adverbs – used to modify verbs,
  • 46 adjectives – used to modify nouns, and
  • 92 verbs – used to denote action.

Nouns were deliberately left out of this list. They comprise a 95 count separate word list.

Dolch penned many books (a total of 70 works). You can read a list of them here.


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Learning to read and spell can be a daunting task for some and a breeze for others. The English language is one of the hardest languages to learn for several reasons.  Spelling doesn’t always follow the rules. Phonics are not enough. Many English words are quite difficult to pronounce. The spelling of the word may give little insight as far as how one actually says a word. Think about the words “squirrel” or “strengths”. Someone who doesn’t know English will have a hard time trying to sound them out. There are so many sounds to learn. Many words have to be memorized, that’s why learning Dolch words in grades one through three are a must. Approximately 50-75% of words used in our everyday reading are comprised of Dolch or sight words.

Subtle ordering of adjectives is also a stumbling block for some folks learning to read or speak English. An example of this is, “a cute little kitten” or “a little cute kitten.” Synonyms galore also cause problems in reading as does stress on certain words in a sentence. An example–I rode my bike. I rode my bike. I rode my bike. I rode my bike. What about words like “thou,” “thee”, “thine”, and “shalt” for instance. Unfamiliar or old English words cause lots of problems, too. Irregular verbs certainly stir the reading pot. The past tense of “buy” is “bought”, and the past tense of “sell” is “sold”, and neither “buyed” nor “selled” are real words? And those are the easy ones! What about adding “ness” to swift. It becomes swiftness. Now try that with strong–strongness?? Not hardly. It becomes strength, but the opposite of that is weak–weakness. Go figure! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to learn English as a second language!


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