Did you know that 3 words make up 10% of what we read? (I, and, the)
Did you know that 13 words make up 25% of what we read?
Did you know that 100 words make up 50% of what we read?
It just makes sense that if children memorize these words, then reading fluency and comprehension will be strengthened. Many of the high frequency words do not follow phonetic patterns and they cannot be sounded out. Additionally, these words tend to be abstract and have no visual connection. Children simply need to recognize them by sight. In fact, in the “olden days” we referred to these words as “sight words.” Now they are commonly called high frequency words or word wall words.
Memorization of these words will be enhanced with repetition. I’ve heard it takes the average child 25-36 exposures/experiences with a word before it is saved in their brains. Rather than drill and kill, I’ve created a “cookbook” of activities, songs, and games to choose from for learning these words in, hopefully, a more meaningful and fun way.
I think it is inappropriate and unnecessary to introduce these words before kindergarten. However, many of these ideas can be adapted to other skills (letters, shapes, numerals) with younger children. These activities will be most effective with kindergarten and primary grade students, but they can be integrated with vocabulary word study for older students.
In addition to teaching words in isolation, use these games with phrase cards. Phrase cards are groups of words that come up frequently when children read. If they are learned as a “chunk” they will improve fluency when children read.
Wonderful Word Websites:
Helpful hints! Always introduce words in a meaningful way.
Use them in sentences and relate to books and other classroom print.
Encourage the children to use the words orally in sentences.
Write down sentences children make with these words.
Invite the children to use these words in their writing sentences.
Write short sentences so students can practice reading these words in context.
Note: Check the new PowerPoints in the Downloads section, too.