High-frequency words are the 100 or so most commonly used words in printed language.
Though the English language contains millions of words, over 50 percent of all text is composed of these 100 words.
These words often present a special difficulty to early readers. Many are phonetically irregular
(there, not "theer;" could, not "cold"), and they tend to be abstract and have no
visual correspondence, or even easily understood definitions. Yet these words are essential to reading. If students
are to read quickly and fluently, they must have these high-frequency words memorized to sight; otherwise, decoding
will take up much time and effort, frustrating the reader and blocking easy comprehension.
Recognizing high-frequency words by sight primarily involves memorization, and memorization comes most easily
through repetition. Students need to read and write high-frequency words as often as possible. Reading A-Z's
high-frequency word books will assist in word memorization since students can keep their own copies of the books
to read repeatedly.
The English high-frequency word books have been translated into Spanish and French. Because of the nuances of
each language, these translations cannot be literal word-for-word translations. In many instances, the number of
high-frequency words in a translated version may be greater than the English version. When using the translated
versions to introduce and teach Spanish and French high-frequency words, you may want to introduce and teach 2-3
words in different teaching sessions before giving students the books to read.
Each student can keep a word book at his or her desk. Folded and stapled construction or white paper, pencils, and crayons
are all that is required. Students can write their names on the covers and decorate their books. As students encounter
high-frequency words, they will add them to their books. They may use the books as a reference when reading new texts.
Invite students to be high-frequency word detectives. They can locate assigned words in the classroom or school environment and in print materials they encounter in their daily lives.
Have students pair up. One reads a high-frequency word book while the other times the reader. Have students perform timed
readings every day for one week, and you will see their reading rate and fluency improve.
Use plastic letters to make and break high-frequency words. Distribute the appropriate letters to all students in the group.
Write the high-frequency word on the board and have students use it as a model to make the word with their plastic letters.
Have students read the word. Then, erase the word from the board. Have students scramble their plastic letters and try to build
the word again. Speak the word as they do so, separating it into phonemes if necessary. Have students read the word they have
made to check that it is correct.
Almost any simple game can be slightly modified to accommodate high-frequency word instruction. Bingo is a consistent favorite.
Bingo cards can be downloaded from a link on the high-frequency word book pages (one set of 24 bingo cards for each set of books).
While playing bingo, as you call out each word, monitor students to ensure that they recognize the high-frequency words and place
chips on them when appropriate. Other simple games that can help teach words include common favorites like hangman.
Create flashcards for the high-frequency words in your lesson. It may be helpful to create your word wall from these versatile,
movable cards. Flashcards can accommodate any number of fun activities:
Use your imagination to create simple, fun activities that will give students daily exposure to high-frequency words.
You may unsubscribe at any time.