High-frequency Word Lists

  • A core of known high frequency words is a valuable resource as students build their reading and writing processes.  As required by our Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), students are expected to use the relationships between letters and sounds, spelling patterns, and morphological analysis to decode words, including being able to:

    • Kinder: Identify and read at least 25 high-frequency words from a commonly used list.
    • First Grade: Identify and read at least 100 high-frequency words from a commonly used list.
    • Second Grade: Identify and read at least 300 high-frequency words from a commonly used list.

    What are High Frequency Words?

    High frequency words are quite simply those words which occur most frequently in spoken and written language. Most high frequency words follow a regular phonetic pattern.  Some examples include the words can, he, came, no, and play.  For most high frequency words, developing readers can use letter/sound correspondences, spelling patterns, morphological analysis, and spelling rules to decode these words. 

    What are Irregular “Heart” Words?

    Irregular “heart” words are those words that do not follow phonics patterns.  Words such as the, is, to, and are, do not follow commonly taught phonics rules.  As a result, these words typically have to be memorized in order to become sight words (so developing readers have to know them by heart).  Irregular 'heart' words are indicated by an asterisks (*) on our high frequency word lists.

    What are Sight Words?

    Sight words are any words recognized and read with automaticity (without having to sound them out). Keep in mind, any word becomes a sight word once it is read and written with automaticity.

    Developing Readers as Word Solvers

    By becoming conscious word solvers, young readers notice words that appear frequently in the texts they read and eventually their recognition of these words becomes automatic where they recognize the word on sight. In this way, their reading becomes efficient, enabling them to decode words using phonics as well as attend to comprehension. Developing readers increase their sight word database by continuously adding to the core words they know.

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