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.
- Word Parts: Students apply their knowledge of word parts to correctly identify and spell basewords, suffixes, and prefixes to help them easily decode and understand unknown words.
- 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.
- Word Rule (Homophones): Students identify words that sound the same but are spelled differently (homophones) in a text and use context to determine the meaning of each word.
- 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 (Sneaky Sounds): Students apply their knowledge of the schwa sound to read and spell words correctly.
- 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 consonant-le syllable type. The cycle includes mostly two-syllable words where the first syllable contains a short vowel sound. In addition, they are introduced to the rule where the magic "e" is dropped when a suffix beginning with a vowel is added to a CVCe baseword (example: "write" to "writing"). 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 13: "Pest Control in Sunnyside"
By Walt Wordsmith
Sunnyside residents have been concerned about the growing number of rats and other pests in the alleys, subways, and sidewalks of the neighborhood.
"We must be vigilant about picking up our own trash," said Mayor Mack. "Restaurants and other businesses must be sure to secure-
ly close all trash cans and dumpsters in the alley. When they are left open, pests such as rats and alley cats will nibble and gobble up all the old food they can get their little paws on! They will continue to return to these spots if the trash cans are left open and trash continues to litter the streets."
In an attempt to rid the neighborhood of these pests, Mayor Mack made new rules for restaurants and other businesses: All trash cans and dumpsters must be securely closed at all times. Businesses that do not follow this rule will be fined $20 for each offense.
Words used from cycle: nibble, gobble, able