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St Anne's Infants' School


Reach for the Stars

High Frequency 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 are essential for the sentence to make sense. 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 or sight words.

It is helpful to talk about them to the children as words that "you can't stretch and read - you just need to learn this word.



Here is a really simple game you can play (which the children love) to help them learn to read these words "in a flash":


  • Make word cards with sight words your child is working on.
  • Start with around 5 words. Words can be repeated in the pile.
  • Include some words your child knows well and some that your child partially knows.
  • Show your child the words and place on the table. Slide each word down the table. If they can read the word before it gets to the bottom edge of the table, it goes in their pile. If not, it goes in your pile. Your child should try to get all the cards.