Early Years Staffroom

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High Frequency Words


High frequency words are words which occur frequently. These are different from Tricky words. Tricky words are words that you cannot sound out. Some High frequency words can be sounded out for example ‘it’s’ and some are also Tricky words. The meaning of the High frequency words is often difficult to explain to a child as they usually have an abstract meaning. It is easy to understand ‘cat’ for example but not so easy to understand ‘the’.

Researchers believe that learning just 13 of the high frequency words will enable children to read 25% of any text. Therefore learning 100 high frequency words gives children access to 50% of any text.

When you add this to the phonics learning children’s reading can really take off.

How to teach High frequency words?

  • Play ‘beat the detective’ child to run and find the word before the other person has written it!
  • Splat the words with fly squatters.
  • Place a HFW in the corner of the room and run to the word called out.
  • Lucky dip!
  • Play snap!
  • Write them in chalk onto a hopscotch grid. Read them as you throw the stone onto them.
  • Play bingo with them.
  • Put them into a sentence, ensuring children understand the context
  • Point them out when reading a bedtime story.
  • Put a few at a time onto a wall using post its or bricks /flowers  and practise them each evening in a fun way hiding one and asking which one is missing.
  • Play treasure hunt with HFW word flowers.
  • Building  with HFW.
  • Write the words on lolly sticks and practise 1 a day from the pot.
  • Write the words on the back of toy eggs and flip them over with a spatula to reveal the word!

We have created a parent handout  with this information and a grid of the 100 HFW.

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