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The Dolch Word List (also referred to as Dolch Words or Dolch's Basic Sight Words) is a list of commonly used English words compiled by Edward William Dolch, Ph.D. E. W. Dolch published the Dolch Word List in his book "Problems in Reading" in 1948. The Dolch Word List is comprised of 220 "service words" (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and verbs), which make up 50-75% of all text found in children’s books in the United States. Dr. Dolch did not include nouns in the Dolch Word List, but he did compile a separate word list of 95 frequently used nouns.

Many of the 220 Dolch Words included in Dolch Word List cannot be sounded out and cannot be taught through the use of pictures. Furthermore, phonics and decoding rules often do not apply to many of the 220 Dolch Words. Therefore, in order for a child to learn sight words and ultimately master Dolch Words he/she must recognize the sight words instantly or on “sight.” Hence, the list of 220 Dolch Words is often referred to as the "Dolch Sight Word List" and the words in it as "Dolch Sight Words."

The Dolch Word List is made up of 5 sight words lists, namely, Pre-Primer or Preschool, Primer or Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and 3rd Grade. For students with learning disabilities, the sight words should be learned developmentally beginning with the Pre-Primer or Preschool list.

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