What are Dolch sight words? They’re a list of 220 words, first published in 1936 by Edward William Dolch, that children ought to learn to recognize on sight as they’re learning to read. The theory is that these words are used so often in children’s literature that they are estimated to make up three quarters of all words used in children’s books. Because these words appear so often, they are also called high-frequency words.

As children are learning to read, the four key skills are decoding, fluency, comprehension, and knowledge. The ability to decode (or sound out) words is crucial to reading. But to become a fluent reader, it helps if kids don’t need to stop to sound out every word they come across. So being able to “read” or recognize high-frequency or sight words can help children read more fluently and, by extension, help them better understand what they read because they’re not stopping to sound out each word. In other words, memorizing these first grade sight words can help young kids keep going and gain momentum as they learn to read.

The 220 Dolch sight words are separated into lists for preschool through third grade and a list of 95 nouns. Here are the Dolch sight words for first graders.

1st grade sight words

after  of
again  old
an  once
any  open
as  over
ask  put
by  round
could  some
every  stop
fly  take
from  thank
give  them
going  then
had  think
has  walk
her  were
him  when
his  what
how  white
just  who
know  will
let  with
live  yes



Check out the Dolch sight words for preschool, kindergarten, 2nd grade, 3rd grade — and the list of preK-3rd grade nouns.

More ways to support 1st graders as they learn to read

• Play: Decoding activities for your beginning reader
• Read: Books to boost your 1st grader’s decoding skills
• Watch: Follow my finger
• Do: 1st grade sight words worksheets (#1 of 20)

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