Which High Frequency Words?

One of the things that makes learning to read so difficult is that even when children have mastered all the critical core phonic skills they will encounter many words that are not phonically regular. That’s the bad news. The good news however, is that the outcome of our research and analyses of all the words within the 500 Books indicates that a small number of words occur over and over again and are incredibly useful and a large number of words occur with very low frequency. For example, we have found that just 16 words account for over 28% of all the words in the 500 books and 100 words account for over 50% of the words in the 500 books. So teaching a small number of words is extremely powerful and gives children access to a significant proportion of any books that they read. An added bonus in learning around 100 high frequency words is that these words occur just as often in adult literature so will facilitate children’s ability to generalise what they have learnt as their reading progresses. Skill matching links 100 high frequency words to the books in which they occur most often within the 500 books.