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Language and Communication recognises 20 high frequency words  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


To be able to recognise an increasing range of high frequency words automatically and without hesitation

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Reading
P-scales/Curriculum level:L1b
TAP skill:Reading
TAP level:TAP56
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Using a race track game to practise high frequency words

Set of 20+ cards with target high frequency words



Race track or loop

1. Read through the cards with the player(s).

2. Place the cards face down.

3. Players take it in turns to pick up a card, say the word, throw the dice and move around the board.

4. Winner is the first person to finish.

5. Repeat the game after reading through all the cards again or selecting a particular word or words to focus on.

6. Discard easy words and add new words gradually.

Children need to be able to read a range of high frequency words to develop fluency in reading.

New words need to be introduced gradually. There could be several copies of each word or of selected words. Start off with a small set of words so that the child experiences lots of success.

2+ players.

A short track is ideal as the game can be completed in a short time and repeated easily.

If a child reads a word wrong, help them to read the word or tell them the word.

Remember the game is meant to be fun!

Using different fonts on the computer to practise high frequency words


Child understands how to change font

1. Select the word(s).

2. Type the word once for the child.

3. Ask the child to select different fonts and type the word randomly on an A4 sheet.

4. Print out the sheet and ask the child to select the best and worst font.

A list of words can be obtained as above.

This could be done daily.

The words could be typed into boxes ready to make flash cards (2x5 per page).

Sentence building to practise high frequency words

Flash cards with set of words. Words which could start a sentence are provided in both capitalised and lower case form.

Add one card with a full stop and one card with a question mark.

Make a list of possible sentences before the session.

1. Select 10 words.

2. Read the words with the child.

3. Match the capitalised version with the lower case version.

4. Explain that you are going to make sentences with the words.

5. Spread out the words and tell the child to make a sentence, reminding him to use capitals, full stops and question marks where necessary. If this is too difficult to begin with then write the sentence for the child and ask him to match it with the cards.

6. Ask the child to make his own sentences and questions from the words.

7. The child can write the sentences in his book.

8. Ask the child to read the sentences from the original list.

Teaching the words in sentence form gives them a meaningful context.

Possible set of words: it, It, is, Is, dad, Dad, mum, Mum, and, off, on, big, get, can, Can

Possible sentences include:

It is Dad.

Is it mum?

Mum and dad.

Keep the list of possible sentences with the words so that this can be practised daily. A duplicate set can be used for homework.

This can be followed up using a programme such as Clicker (see on the computer. Printing a grid of words will allow the child to work on writing the sentences again independently.

Add to the words gradually adding new sentences at the same time.

Playing Four in a Row to help word recognition

Sheet of paper as a 'board'

A dice

Different coloured pencils

Preparing the 'board':

Create a landscape page with 6 columns and 7 rows (ready prepared four in a row game board).

On the first row, number each column from 1-6.

Select a set of high frequency words the children have been learning to recognise, and which need reinforcing.

Write the words randomly in each of the other 36 boxes - they can be repeated.

The board can be photocopied for use on another day.

1. Give each player a different coloured pencil.

2. The first player rolls the dice and chooses any word to read from the column that corresponds to the number on the dice.

3. If they get it right they circle the word with their own colour.

4. Each player has one throw per turn.

5. The winner is the player with 4 words in a row either horizontally, vertically or diagonally (like the game Connect Four).

6. If there is a time issue it can be played as Two (or Three) in a Row.

Children need to be able to read a range of high frequency words to develop fluency in reading.

For this game, use familiar words that need more practice.

Words can be changed as progress is made.

For 2 or more players.

You will need to decide what happens if a child reads a word wrong. Do you tell them the word? Or do they lose their go? Remember the game is meant to be fun!

Pelmanism (pairs)

Two sets of 10 cards with target high frequency words. Each set made on different coloured card, e.g. mum mum

1. Choose 5 target words.

2. Read through the cards with the players.

3. Place the cards in two rows face down on the table.

4. Players take it in turns to pick one card from both rows and read the words out.

5. If the two cards are the same the player keeps them.

6. The winner is the person with the most cards.

7. Discard easy words and add new words gradually.

Children need to be able to read a range of high frequency words to develop fluency in reading.

Different pupils will manage a larger or smaller number of cards.

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