High frequency words are the ones that appear a lot more than other words when reading, writing and speaking e.g. s, the, are, to, etc. It is important for a child to recognize these words by sight in order to be a fluent reader. These words do not mean much in isolation but when used in a sentence, they help in making it understandable. High frequency words can be categorized into ‘Flash Words’ (used frequently in sentences) and ‘Heart Words’ (irregularly spelled words like to and do).

There are a number of techniques and strategies for teaching high frequency words, some of which are listed below:

  • Restructuring: High frequency words should be integrated with phonics instruction to make it easier for students to read and spell words. It is recommended that students should be taught around 10-15 high frequency words prior to phonic instruction but after they know all letter names.
  • Word Walls: Students should use word walls by playing games that encourage them to interact with the words. This helps them get better at spotting and memorizing high frequency words.
  • Reading: Invest in books that are specifically meant to teach high frequency words. Such books are easy to read and consist of repetitive as well as predictive text for kids to understand how the words are used.
  • Games: There are certain games that can help students learn and reinforce high-frequency words e.g. word searches, Go Fish, Wordo, Read the Room (words are posted around a room and students are supposed to find and note them on a sheet), etc.
  • Flashcards: The word to be learnt is written on a flashcard and shown to students. They are asked to identify the words shown till they are consistent in doing so. Flashcards facilitate practice and repetition of high frequency words.
  • Writing Board: The teacher writes a short message on a white board and ask students to decode the high frequency words and circle them with a highlighter.
  • Music: Children can also learn these words by singing them in a catchy tune. In addition to being fun and entertaining, it also aids in memorizing new words.
  • Manipulative: Students use magnetic letters or letter tiles, alphabet cookie cutters/play dough letter stamps and alphabet rubber stamps to build words.

When teaching high frequency words; introduce them in isolation, provide repeated exposures via text materials and deliver instructions in small doses (not more than 10 minutes) to make it easy for students to attain their learning goals.

See-n-Read Reading Tools provides comprehensive learning & reading tools to enhance spelling and academic vocabulary. Easy to use intervention methods are offered to improve reading and learning skills. For more details on ways to teach high-frequency words, contact: (630) 236 – 5592.