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Is there any difference between the "Dolch" and "Fry" word list and the "Fauntas and Pinnell" list?

Question:

Here's my question: Is there any difference between the "Dolch and Fry" word list and the "Fauntas and Pinnell" list? My daughter has been reading "easy readers" with relative ease. She's able to read books like Hop On Pop, Go Dog Go, the Biscuit Series, and this summer she whipped right through the HooKed On Phonics for Kindergarten from our library. At my meeting with her teacher yesterday I saw a list of the Fauntas And Pinnell words that my daughter was asked to read. The words from each list are correlated to a reading level from A-Z. She was placed in the B Level. I was then shown a book with four word sentences that I knew my daughter could read (e.g. The worm pops up.) and I said so to her teacher. I guess I'm a little bit confused with all these lists because on one hand my daughter can read different easy words I've shown her, but according to the Fauntas list she's not at all where I thought she was. I know it's only Kindergarten and it's supposed to be all fun but she likes to read and wants to and picks up books on her own to read. Should I care if she knows one list and not the other?
 
 Answer:
In comparing the Dolch, Fry, and Fountas/Pinnell lists they are similar, with the Fry and  Fountas and Pinnell being possibly a little more closely aligned. It sounds like your daughter’s teacher may be using the Guided Reading assessment and books to begin reading instruction. Since this assessment is being used by her teacher, it might be best to make another appointment for the express purpose of becoming better acquainted with the materials. I think it may also be possible to contact Fountas and Pinnell for answers to specific questions. Although I am familiar with these books and materials, I don’t feel that I could answer questions about them with authority.
 
What I can tell you is that it sounds like your daughter is doing very well. The best news is that she has a head start in a concerned and literate mother, and is interested in and enjoys reading. She also sounds like she had most of her pre-reading skills – alphabet knowledge, phonemic awareness, print awareness – down before she even walked through school doors. You might be surprised at how important this is, and how much of an advantage this gives her in comparison to many other children.
 

In my opinion, if she is enjoying what she reads at school and continues to progress with vocabulary building, fluency, and understanding, these are the important things, no matter the book with which she begins.