Familiarizing Students with High Frequency Words

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Watch this video lesson to learn what you as an educator can do to help students learn to read with confidence. Learn why learning the high frequency words is beneficial, if not crucial, to becoming a competent reader.

High Frequency Words

Did you know that in the English language, only about one hundred words make up about fifty percent of our printed reading material? That's right! If you know just those one hundred words, you'd be able to read fifty percent of books, magazines, and newspapers. These are called the high frequency words, because these are the words that appear most often in print. It can be a challenge to teach some of these high frequency words, because some of them have a very abstract definition. There is no physical object a child can connect the words with. Think about the words 'a', or 'an', or 'with'. Can you think of a physical object that you can show a young child and say, 'this is what the word 'an', 'a,' or 'with' is?' I can't. So, how can you teach these words? Let's look at some suggestions.

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  • 00:00 High Frequency Words
  • 00:50 Music
  • 1:27 Games
  • 1:53 Practice
  • 2:47 Lesson Summary
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You can use music to help you teach these words. Choose some music that has a good beat and rhythm, something that your students can easily remember. Then sing the word to the beat. Repeat the word, sing the word's spelling, and even add in examples of the word in action. For example, for the word 'with', you can sing the word 'with,' then the spelling W-I-T-H, and then sing some examples of the word in action, such as, 'Sue is with Sam' or, 'the cat is with the dog.' When you are singing the examples, you can also add in pictures to show the scenario to help your students understand the word even more.


Games are also a good way to help your students learn high frequency words. You can do simple games such as word search for the high frequency words. You could also create cards of the high frequency words and then use them in games. If you create two cards of each word, you can then use them in a memory game where you lay the cards face down, and you have the students turn two cards over at a time. The goal is to turn over two matching cards.

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