Did you know that approximately 65% of all written material is made up of just 300 words? Over half of all newspapers, textbooks, children’s stories and novels are composed with these same 300 words. In 1948, Edward Dolch, PhD, compiled a list of words based on the most frequently found words in children’s books and called his list The Dolch 220. In 1997, Dr. Fry expanded on this list and published a revised version of his previously published work, 1000 Instant Words. In his research, he found that 25 words make up approximately one-third of all published items. 100 words make up about one-half of all published texts, and 300 words make up approximately 65% of all written material.
Once he developed his list, Fry encouraged children to memorize these words, as many of them are hard to sound out phonetically. Fry believed that memorizing these sight words would help students become more fluent readers with greater comprehension skills. Dr. Fry recommended that the first 100 words be mastered by first grade.
Well, that is just what we are doing in first grade! Our students have been given the challenge of surpassing the 100-word mark and mastering the first 300 Fry words. Our students have taken this challenge head on. Many have already exceeded the 300-word mark! We are so proud of our first graders. If you are ever in the neighborhood, come on by and check out our Wall of Reading Stars, we might even pull out a list and challenge you!
Fry, E.B. (1997). 1000 Instant Words. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary Books.