High frequency words are quite simply those words which occur most frequently in written material, for example, “and”, “the”, “as” and “it”. They are often words that have little meaning on their own, but they do contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence.
Some high frequency words are decodable using phonics such as ‘mum’, ‘in’, ‘on’ and ‘down’. However some high frequency words are known as ‘tricky’ words as these cannot be decoded using phonics. Words such as ‘go’, ‘the’ ‘I’ and ‘to’ are tricky words that children will often come across early on in their reading journey.
At Cathedral School we teach children the high frequency words whilst teaching phonics. Therefore our High Frequency Word list is broken down into Phonic phases. Tricky words are also taught to ensure that when children come across them in text they are aware of how to tackle them. Often the spelling of high frequency words is taught concurrently to the reading of them.
Here is the High Frequency word list.
What can you do at home to support the learning of High Frequency Words.
-Pairs: You need 2 sets of word cards. Pick out the word cards that your child already knows for the first few times you play the game so that they enjoy it and succeed. Then, gradually take out some of the word cards they know and replace them with a number of words they don’t know.Place the 2 sets of word cards you have chosen face down. Turn one card over and say the word, turn another card over and say the word. If they match and you have made a pair you can keep the pair and you have another go. If they did not match it is the next person’s turn. Keep going until all the words have been paired.
-Snap: You need 2 sets of word cards. Each person has a pile of cards they keep face down. Each person turns a card over in turn and says the word they turn over. If they match you have to shout the word (and not snap). The first person to shout the word that matches is the winner of the cards on the table. Keep going until all the cards have been won.
-Shout out loud: Use one set of word cards. Spread the word cards out face down. Take it in turns to turn over one card at a time. The first person to shout the word out loud wins the card. Keep going until all the cards have been won. You can play this with silly voices. Before you turn over a card you have to decide what sort of voice you have to use to say the word e.g. whisper the word, say it like a gorilla, roar it like a lion, squeak it like a mouse.
-Hunt the words: Use one set of word cards. Hide a number of them around a room (your child must not look). The child has to find the cards and bring them back to you saying the words they find as they find them.
-Rainbow writing: Children can practise writing out the word in as many different colours as possible – can they write it all in capitals? Can they use curly writing?
– Reading detective: Can you find any of your high frequency words in your reading book?