High-frequency words are words that occur most frequently in written material and do not follow phonetic rules or, as we say in the EL Education curriculum, "don't play fair." Due to this fact, it is important that students are able to navigate these words with ease to improve their reading fluency and comprehension. While high-frequency words on their own don't carry much meaning, they are essential to sentences and help students gather meaning. Below you will find five activities for each day of the week that teachers can do with students or parents can do with their children at home as high-frequency words are being introduced cycle by cycle.
- Read it, say it, write it, read it again
- Use high-frequency words in sentences (oral and written)
- Read a list of high-frequency words and time yourself on fluency (keep running list)
- Search for high frequency words in sentences / poems and underline them
- Fishing for high-frequency words (one person reads the word aloud, other students find the word in a stack of other high-frequency words)
The instructional practices listed below summarize the instruction that accompanies the skills that are being taught in this cycle for the respective grade level. Teachers should review these routines for guidance on how to teach the skills and patterns reflected in the microphase.
- Syllable Sleuth: Students analyze words by identifying the syllable type (vowel spelling patterns) to determine the number of syllables and successfully decode words.
- Words Rule (Identify and Match): Students apply their knowledge of open and closed syllables to identify syllable types and decode multisyllabic words.
- Engagement Text: Students use knowledge of phoneme segmentation to isolate and identify the initial, middle, and final sound in a word. As they identify each sound, they must connect it to its written representation (grapheme) and practice proper letter formation using a skywriting technique.
- Comprehension Conversation (optional): Students answer suggested (or similar) text-based comprehension questions about the engagement text.
- Snap or Trap: Students are introduced to the high-frequency words of the cycle. This practice explicitly teaches all high-frequency words students will see in the Decodable Reader. Students decode and analyze each word to determine if the word is a "snap" word because it is decodable (regularly spelled) or "trap" because it is irregularly spelled.
- Decodable Reader Partner Search and Read: Students read a short text that incorporates words using familiar phonemes (sounds) and high-frequency words from the cycle, which students search out in the text with a partner before reading the text. Students receive practice with concepts of print (e.g., one-to-one match and return sweep) and apply knowledge of taught graphemes and phonemes as they decode words.
- Words Rule (Review): Students review spelling patterns in words and apply their knowledge of syllable types to identify when each pattern is applied. Students are able to successfully decode (read) and encode (spell) words with familiar spelling patterns.
- Interactive Writing: Students work together to brainstorm a list of words with specific spelling patterns. Next, students construct a silly sentence using words with the same spelling pattern and review high-frequency words taught.
- Snap or Trap (Review): Students review high-frequency words of the cycle. This practice explicitly reviews all high-frequency words students read in the Decodable Reader. Students decode and analyze each word to determine if the word is a "snap" word because it is decodable (regularly spelled) or "trap" because it is irregularly spelled.
- Fluency: Students interact with an excerpt from the Decodable Reader by applying elements of fluency to decode (read) excerpt aloud. In Modules 1 and 2, teacher leads analysis of excerpt and students choose one or two elements of fluency to focus on
(dependent of excerpt). In Modules 3 and 4, teacher introduces Fluency Rubric for students to provide specific feedback to their classmates in the elements of fluency.
Review and Setting Purpose for Assessment: Students review the vowel sounds and spelling patterns learned to prepare for assessment, feedback, and goal setting.
- Assessment and Goal Setting: Students take mid-module and end-of-module on-demand assessments. Teachers score immediately to track student progress and possibly revise their personal goals for the module accordingly.
Cycle Word List
In this cycle, students are introduced to the spelling-sound patterns "-ind" (/ind/), "-ild" (/ild/), "-old" (/old/), and "-ost" (/ost/), and contractions with the word "is" (examples: "it's," "she's"). In addition, they continue to review and practice using their knowledge of known syllable types to decode two-syllable words. For the full cycle overview with word list, Cycle-at-a-Glance, and teaching notes, download the cycle overview.
Engagement Text and Decodable Readers
The text listed below can be utilized to reinforce the skills taught in the cycle. Teachers can use the text to have students apply their learning during small group work or teacher-led groups. By focusing on the skills/patterns being taught, students can apply their learning to text. A list of activities to consider with the text are listed in the activity section.
Sunnyside Gazette Edition 8: "Principal Pack Saves the Day!"
The residents of Sunnyside are saying goodbye to the mild days of fall and bundling up for colder weather. This weekend, temperatures dipped close to freezing, and the forecast for the coming week is call-ing for even chillier days ahead.
This weather report was especially bad news for Principal Noah Pack. On Friday, the old heating system at Sunnyside Elementary began to fail. Principal Pack and the building engineer worked on it all day but were unable to fix it.
"I watched the weather report that morning," said Principal Pack. "I knew the temperature would be dropping over the weekend and into the next week. I knew I had to do something to make sure the kids would be warm enough at school on Monday."
Principal Pack called several local heating technicians but had trouble finding somebody that would work over the weekend. So he turned on his computer and searched the internet. He learned all about the old heating system in the school.
After many hours of work and research, Principal Pack fixed the heating system!
"It is still very old. But until we can replace the heating system, at least I know it is working for now and my students can come to school on Monday," said Principal Pack.