Heart Word Lists

  • Heart Word Practice - Tips for Parents


    On this page you will find a list of words for your students to practice this year.   In education, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on getting students to recognize high-frequency words automatically for good reason - these words are the most common words in print.  According to some estimates, the 100 most frequently used words make up 50% of all that we read and write and recognizing these words effortly is critical for becoming a fluent reader.  Our Phonics Program Really Great Reading calls these words Heart Words.   Heart Words can be categorized into two groups – Simple Heart Words and Tricky Heart Words.

    • Simple Heart Words can be decoded using common phonics knowledge and letter-sound relationships (decodable words). These are words like and, it, in, and but. Notice that in each of these words, the consonant and vowel letters make the sounds that we expect. 
    • Tricky Heart Words deviate from common phonics patterns or familiar letter-sound relationships (non-decodable words). These are words like from, what, give, and do. Each of these words has at least one letter that spells a sound we do not typically expect it to spell. When words are irregularly spelled, research suggests that they are harder to anchor into our sight word memory. 

    As you practice these words with your child, help them to identify the predictable spelling patterns.  Ask them which spelling patterns are expected and what (if anything) is unexpected in the word.  When they practice writing the word they can highlight or put a heart around the unexpected letters - the ones that need to be learned by heart.  This practice is more effective at anchoring Tricky Heart Words than memorization.  

    Your child can use https://www.reallygreatreading.com/heart-word-magic for animations and more practice with these words.

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