• Welcome! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Fry or Dolch Word lists What's the difference


New Member
I am new to first grade and have a few students who are entering first grade and are behind with their sight word vocabulary. While preparing guided reading lessons, I got to thinking, what is the difference between Fry vs dolch word lists? Can someone enlightening me?


Instructional Coordinator

Hello: I just found the answer to this very question....
Answer: The Dolch list was created in the early 1900’s and is made up of the first
220 basic sight words. Between 50-75% of all words used in school books, library
books, newspapers, and magazines are in the Dolch Basic Sight Vocabulary of 220
words. These words are “service words” (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs,
prepositions, conjunctions, and verbs) which cannot be learned through the use of
pictures. Because they are used to hold thoughts together, these words must be
recognized at a glance before a child can read with confidence. Click here for the
Dolch list. The Fry list was created as an updated list based on the changes in
language and is made up of 1000 of the most commonly used words in the English
language. It is ordered by frequency so all of the Dolch words are embedded in
this list. These words make up about 90% of all written language. Click here for
the Fry list.
Sight words are a primary word knowledge focus for both the first and second
trimester benchmarks. Whether you use these words to address your benchmarks
or to implement a word wall, remember that assessment drives instruction. Print
out the word lists and make copies of the words for each child in your classroom.
Individually meet with each student and have each student read the word list(s) to
you. By highlighting the words your students do not know, you will have a quick
and visual way of determining which words to teach first. Also, student writing
journals are helpful in determining which words to teach. Look through the
journals regularly for words students misspell or misuse in their writing. Lastly, as
you listen to students read orally, note which sight words the students cannot
decode and which sight words students mispronounce.