The Cat in the Hat and the Dolch Project


Once in a while, almost all of us like to spend a lazy evening, under our blanket, cuddled up with our favorite book. Whether its a hard-cover novel or swiping through magazines on our ipad, we all read. We read to our kids at bedtime, the teachers read to them at school and we want them to read with us because we know the joys of reading. Getting lost in a story, being transported into another world and letting one’s imagination run wild are just a few of the experiences one has when reading.

Not for everyone, though. Children with learning disability (LD) are largely bereft of the joys of reading for fun, because of their inability to read most letters of the alphabet. Learning disability is very common and often goes undetected  till the child has grown up. There are five basic types of learning disabilities. These are dyslexia (reading-based disability), dyscalculia (mathematics-based), dysgraphia and disorder of writing expression (writing-based) and non-verbal learning disability (a developmental disorder). In 1936 a doctor by the name of Edward Dolch compiled a list of 220 words (which has expanded to around 300 in recent years) that children can learn just by seeing them. It uses the whole word approach with children who can’t learn phonetically. The Dolch list aims to help children with learning disabilities read more fluently.

Unfortunately, books written for children with learning disabilities are few and far between, the most well-known being Dr Seuss. Dr. Seuss’ books are all written using these sight words making them enjoyable for all children irrespective of their learning capabilities.  Luckily for us, a progressive Indian ad agency Grey Worldwide has started The Dolch Project an online movement to create short fiction using only words from the Dolch list to benefit thousands of children living with learning disabilities to experience the joys of reading. With 83 stories already crowd sourced, since the Dolch Project first started, there’s no stopping this unique solution to an age-old problem.

Think you have it in you to craft a beautiful story with 220 words? The Dolch list is here for you to refer to and let your creative juices flow. If you do attempt to write something, please share in our comments section. Happy writing!


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