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High Frequency Words

Research shows that learning just 13 of the most frequently used words will enable children to read 25% of any text. Learning 100 high frequency words gives a beginner reader access to 50% of virtually any text, whether a children's book or a newspaper report. When you couple sight recognition of common and tricky words with knowledge of phonics, that's when a child's reading can really take off…


First 100 High Frequency Word Lists

This word list contains the first 100 common words which children encounter in their reading. The words are listed in frequency order, reading down the columns, starting with the most common word, 'the'.


High Frequency Word Cards Set 1


These cards contain the first 32 high frequency words. They include decodable high frequency words as well as the tricky words.


a, an, as, at, if, in, is, it, of, off, on, can, dad, had, back, and, get, big, him, his, not, got, up, mum, but, putthe, to, I, no, go, into


The six words in italics are 'tricky' words at this stage, which means that they cannot be easily decoded.


High Frequency Word Cards Set 2

These cards have 24 high frequency words, including both decodable and tricky words.


will, that, this, then, them, with, see, for, now, down, look, too, he, she, we, me, be, was, you, they, all, are, my, her


The twelve tricky words are shown in italics above. These can't be decoded using just the phonics knowledge.


Ideas for using the high frequency word cards

  • Use as flashcards to test knowledge of words which have already been learnt
  • Print two sets and match the pairs (start with just a few words and build up)
  • With two sets of cards, play a memory game, starting with all the cards face down, then taking it in turns to turn over two cards and read the words. If they match, keep the pair and have another go. If they don't match, turn them back over.
  • As the child learns each word, stick the card into a notebook. Read through the notebook for revision and practice.
  • 'Hide' a few cards around the room while your child isn't watching, then ask them to find and bring you the word 'and' for example. Swap places and let them hide the words and name them for you to find.
  • Cut out the cards, stack them together and staple down the side to make a mini book to read and practise the words.


Next 200 High Frequency Word Lists

The next 200 high frequency words follow on from the first 100. All 200 words are displayed on two A4 pages, with one hundred words per page. The most common words are on the first page. Start with "water" at the top left then read down each column to "laughed" at the bottom right of the first page. The next word is "let's" at the top left of the second page, and the list ends with the word "grow", which is the least frequently used word in the list.