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.
- Word Workout (Word Stars): Students apply their knowledge of vowel sounds and spelling patterns to sort words based on spelling pattern.
- Word Workout (Exercise Practice): Students practice exercises learned in the opening to practice reading and spelling multisyllabic words with different syllable types and spelling patterns.
Cycle Word List
In this cycle, students are introduced to the 1-1-1 doubling rule: when adding a vowel suffix (examples: "-ing," "-er") to single-syllable words with one short vowel and one consonant at the end, that consonant must be doubled. 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 9: “Local Student Wins City Spelling Bee” By Tina Tipster
Over 20 students from across the city competed last night in the City Spelling Bee held at the Trove Public Library. Local news anchorman Brad Cast emceed the event.
The competition began at 7:00 p.m. After 20 rounds, only two partici-pants remained: Sunnyside residents Nell Nash and James Lewis. The final winner was James, who correctly spelled the word “humming-bird” after Nell forgot to include two “m’s” in the middle of the word.
After winning, James said, “I am so glad that my grandma and my little sister, Patricia, were here to see me win. I want to congratulate Nell. She is my friend and she did a great job, too.”
James will advance to the State Spelling Bee in Capital City next month. He will compete for the chance to attend the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.