Welcome to High Frequency Words where you will soon find lots of free online games, flashcards and printable
resources to help children learn those tricky sight words.
There are lots of lists of high frequency words available, all slightly different as they are based on different
research. This site usees the high frequency words suggested in the UK's Letters and Sounds phonics programme,
since that is the order in which most schools in the UK will teach the words.
What are High Frequency Words?
High frequency words are quite simply those words which occur most frequently in written material, for
example, "and", "the", "as" and "it". They are often words that have little meaning on their own, but they do
contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence. Some of the high frequency words can be sounded out using
basic phonic rules, e.g. "it" is an easy word to read using phonics. However, many of the high frequency words are
not phonically regular and are therefore hard to read in the early stages. These words are sometimes called
tricky words, sight words or camera words. In addition to being difficult to sound out, most of the high frequency
words have a rather abstract meaning which is hard to explain to a child. It's easy to learn words like "cat" and
"house" because they can easily be related to a real object or a picture, but how do you represent the word "the"
Why learn the High Frequency Words?
Researchers reckon that learning just 13 of the most frequently used words will enable children to read 25% of
any text (OK, that 25% wouldn't make much sense on its own, but it's a very good start).
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 immediate recognition of the high frequency sight words with a good knowledge of basic phonics,
that's when a child's reading can really take off.