One of the key ways you can support your child’s learning is to encourage them to learn their weekly spellings. These words may follow a particular spelling rule which will have been taught in class, or they may be ‘tricky’ words that do not follow the usual rule.
In school, once a child has a knowledge of the phonic sounds, children are encouraged to recognise and spell high frequency words. These are grouped into the first 100 words and then the next 200. The National Curriculum also sets expectations for words that children should be able to spell by the end of specific years. To enable you to support your child as they work towards being able to spell these by the end of the year, you can find copies of these word lists over here –>
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 do contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence. 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. In addition to being difficult to sound out, most of the high frequency words have a rather abstract meaning which is hard to explain to a child. It’s easy to learn words like “cat” and “house” because they can easily be related to a real object or a picture, but how do you represent the word “the” or “of”?
Why learn the High Frequency Words?
Researchers reckon that learning just 13 of the most frequently used words will enable children to read 25% of any text (obviously, that 25% wouldn’t make much sense on its own, but it’s a very good start).
Learning 100 high frequency words gives a beginner reader access to 50% of virtually any text, whether a children’s book or a newspaper report.
When you couple immediate recognition of the high frequency sight words with a good knowledge of basic phonics, that’s when a child’s reading can really take off.
What are Common Exception Words?
Common exception words are words where the usual spelling rule doesn’t apply. Some of these exception words are used frequently, so children are introduced to common exception words in Years 1 and 2.
Children learning to read and spell common exception words is vitally important for early reading and writing development. To help children with recognising these high frequency words, they need lots of practice and over-learning.
Becoming a Proficient Speller
Spelling is a skill that stays with you for life. Once children have managed to learn to spell the common words used in everyday texts, children are challenged throughout key stage two to further extend their vocabulary. Scientific research shows that the broader a child’s vocabulary, the more likely they are to achieve well academically. This vocabulary is ideally broadened through adult interactions as well as reading high quality texts. The National Curriculum provides us with word lists for Years 3/4 and for Years 5/6 that they expect all children to be able to understand, spell and use in their writing appropriately by the end of years 4 and 6 respectively. Again these word lists are provided so that you can support your child towards this target —>
We will be adding suggested reading lists for each year group soon so that you can identify appropriate books for your child to read.