Provide students with books or flashcards to practice memorizing high-frequency words. High-frequency words are the most commonly used words in printed text and over 50 percent of all text is composed of them. Because many are phonetically irregular, tend to be abstract, have limited visual correspondence, or even easily understood definitions, students must memorize them to read quickly and fluently.
Since these words are essential to fluent reading, and since many are not decodable, repeated exposure and memorization are crucial for students to read quickly and fluently. Students must have high-frequency words memorized to sight; otherwise, decoding will take up much time and effort, frustrating the reader and blocking easy comprehension.
Bingo cards, flashcards, and high-frequency word books provide necessary tools to help students memorize sight words. Use the High-Frequency Word Strategy Bank for additional strategies to help students learn high-frequency words. Follow these tips too for successful high-frequency word instruction:
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.
Other resources also emphasize high-frequency words. Every Guided Reading Lesson for level aa-J Leveled Books or Serial Books, and Level 1 Trade Book Lessons contain high-frequency word lists for instruction.
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