Successful readers and writers need a sound knowledge of high frequency words.
One problem some struggling readers have is that they often pause at high frequency words during reading, stopping the flow of the text. This affects their phrasing and fluency, and ultimately meaning from the text is lost if they are regularly stopping to solve words. Learning how to spell some high frequency words also proves tricky for these students. In order to help these students along, Kathleen Morris and I have set up a computer program for them to work through. Some of the websites my students use each week are Popcorn Words, Sight Words with Sampsonand Spelling City.
The idea is that the students use these engaging websites to focus on the words and hopefully retain them more readily. The students have a checklist to tick off when they have achieved the different lists of words on the websites.
Recent testing has been very positive and all of my lower students have improved their fluency and they are reading the high frequency words more automatically in texts. My “struggling spellers” have made solid progress in writing the words since last term. Of course, it is an ongoing process and continual support and monitoring for these students is needed.
We have a “Phonemic Awareness” teacher who works with small groups of like-needs students to improve their reading and spelling skills for half an hour each day. These students receive homework to do each week, so they are getting lots of hands-on, fun practice.
As well as using the websites, my students practise writing their words each week during reading groups. I also have flash cards to improve “automatic recall”, word games and Integration Aides work with these students whenever possible. My students have individual spelling lists to work on at home and these are checked weekly. Using play doh and magnetic letters to make words, and writing on the interactive whiteboard are other methods we use to help the students retain high frequency words.