Edward W. Dolch was an education professor at the University of Illinois. In 1936 he created a list of the 220 words that are most commonly found in writing. Dolch reasoned that by instantly recognizing these words, children would become stronger readers with greater comprehension. His reasoning still stands true today. There are no nouns on this list, so it's difficult to create picture clues for them. Many of the words do not follow the basic phonics rules, so they cannot be "sounded out" either. Thus they should be learned by memorization, or sight, and that's why they're called "sight words."

Here at Little Cedars we call these "Popcorn Words" because students should know them so well that they "pop" right out of their mouths! The words are broken down into eleven lists. Learning these words helps students read more fluently since the words are prevalent in all forms of writing. We assign five Popcorn Words per week and expect students to know 100% of Lists 1 - 6 by the end of first grade. Lists 7 - 11 are the second grade words.

Some people say that Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat to satisfy a challenge for him to write a children's book using only the 220 Dolch words! What do you think; did he win the challenge?

Click here to access Dolch Lists 1 - 11 in a different format