+ Dolch Kit: A Site for High Frequency Words

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Kathy Gursky has a Web site that contains a “Dolch Kit.”  

There are 11 word lists to click on.  You will also find activities to do!  Visit the site at http://www.theschoolbell.com/Links/Dolch/Dolch.html.

What are “Dolch Words?”

The Dolch Words are a list of the 220 “most frequently used words in English.”  Edward William Dolch first published the list in 1948 in his book Problems in Reading.               

The list includes words (excluding nouns) that were common to the word lists of the International Kindergarten Union, The Gates List and the Wheeler-Howl List.  These were all lists used in beginning reading programs during the 1940s.  The list holds up over time, although some words are out of date (“shall” is not a frequently spoken word today).

Some words play fair: they are predictable because they follow one of the regular syllable structures or are part of a recognizable pattern/family, all of which can be systematically taught.  But others don’t play fair.   Those words must be taught using repeated multisensory methods.

Kathy says to remember that learning these words for reading and spelling does not make a child a “reader.”  Sometimes a child can read  the words from a list and not recognize them in a book or a story.  So use the lists as a supplement to a strong, balanced reading program.

Says Kathy:

In my first grade classroom, I use a plastic, hanging “file cube” to store Dolch kit materials.  I do not have a special “Dolch” practice time.  Materials are available during center time.  Sometimes I pull activities to use with a struggling group of readers and I can quickly gather an activity for a parent or cross-aged tutor to use with a selected group of students.  Students keep a Dolch Word practice booklet in their bookbox on their desks so they can use little “sponge” moments to practice their words.  Most practice actually takes place at home.

Kathy says she tries to test students once every week or two; she likes to do her own testing so she can observe a child’s errors.  She uses the opportunity to give a child a mini lesson.  She expects students to read the words with automaticity.  She says she finds that if others  test her students they are sometimes too lenient: they let the child struggle to sound it out and give him credit for “knowing” the word…

Thanks to Kathy Gursky.  I was directed to this site by “2 Sisters,”   teachers whose site “The Daily Cafe”    can be found at http://www.thedailycafe.com/public/384.cfm.  Sign up for their “Tip of the Week.”

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021   or email   aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com


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