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.
- Poem Launch: Students hear/read a poem that includes vowel sounds and spelling patterns introduced in the cycle. Students identify words with similar spelling patterns and vowel sounds both aloud with the teacher and independently.
- 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.
- 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 two unique spelling patterns found at the end of a word, "-ible" and "-able," and analyze the phonemes and graphemes they contain. In addition, they are introduced to the suffixes "-ful" and "-less" (examples: "careful," "careless"). 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.
Also called "gardeners' gold," compost is a mixture of garden scraps and kitchen vegetable scraps that rot and makes your soil better. Some gardeners make compost piles, and you might want to start one if you have room. If not, you can usually buy compost, or some towns have it available for free.
A compost pile is built in layers like a fancy birthday cake. Start off with about 6-8 inchest of garden scraps. Then sprinkle a handful of fertilizer on top. This helps feed the organisms that will break the scraps down. Add a two-inch layer of soil. The soil gets organisms into a pile. Build up several layers. To speed up the decaying process, after several weeks turn the pile with a shovel to get air in the compost pile. Compost is ready when it is crumbly and has that "earthy" smell. It may take several months before the compost is ready, but the wait will be worth it and your garden will thank you with the best looking flowers and vegetables.
I want cake for dinner!
You say it's not sensible, but I say it's possible.
Be flexible! After all, cake is edible.
What's more preferable than a tasty, colorful cake?
It's a desirable choice for eight-year-old me.
But you say vegetables are preferable. Gosh, that's predictable. I want something pleasurable, not responsible.
Cake is as digestible as vegetables. (I've got to think of something more plausible.)
Aha! I've got it. I'll make the cake with green frosting (just like vegetables).
Cake for dinner it is! Now we can agree that's acceptable.