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How High Frequency Words Will Improve Your Child's Writing And Spelling

  • By Greg Goris
  • Published 02/28/2011
  • Writing

Imagine if you could give your child the key to reading, writing and spelling success? Well give them a head start with High frequency words (Often called Sight Words or Dolch Words) In 1948, Edward Dolch PhD published the Dolch Sight Word List, a 220 high frequency word list. He compiled this list based on children’s books of the period, and selected 220 “service words” which children need to recognise in order to achieve reading fluency. Dolch excluded nouns from his main list, but did compile a separate 95-word list of nouns. They have stood the test of time and are still one of the most recognised sight word lists used in schools today. These words are often called sight words because some of them can’t be sounded out, and need to be learned by sight. Sight words are those most common and frequent words used in our everyday reading and writing. Around 50- 60% of our written material is made up of these most frequently used words. They are service words which hold ideas together, there is no picture attachment. Learning these words by sight helps readers to maintain speed and fluency by not getting ‘caught up’ on meaning. They are best learned by sight, not by sounding out. This makes sight words difficult for those with vision impairment, dyslexia and memory cognition problems.

Teaching a child how to read can be difficult. However, teaching high frequency words to young children can be easier and can actually help a child to learn to read a lot faster. Sight words are often associated with the whole language approach which usually uses embedded pho

nics (indirect instruction) Here are some high frequency words that are used: * the * go * you * do * and How to teach children to master sight word recognition? Start teaching your child sight words from a young age as with increase exposure their young minds will absorb them rapidly. Read your child books with repetition and rhyme, point to words as they get older and then ask them to read it to you making sure they match the words with the words on the page (eg not just rote reading from memory, you need to encourage the link). Books from authors such as Eric Carle are fantastic, try “Brown bear, Brown bear, What do you see?” and “Have you seen my cat?” and of course “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Play games using Sight Words. Print sight words onto thick cardboard or laminate them to keep them for longer. You can use these cards as Flash cards working with 3 or 4 new words a week or you can create duplicate copies of words and play games like Match and Memory. Play a family game of bingo where everyone has to write sight words onto their game cards and then tick them off when they come out – first one to tick them all doesn’t have to wash up! You can also encourage the use of sight words through creativity, ask you child to cut selected sight words from a magazine then make a collage with them. Writing silly stories together is also another way to encourage sight word use. Write it or type it up, change colours when they write a sight words, make it fun and enjoyable and they will want to do it again and again.

These are just some of the positive ways you can help your child get a jump start into their learning with sight words.

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