High Frequency Words
I got all excited this afternoon and was giving myself a big pat on the back for stressing high-frequency words so much with my students. Our text states,
"Of the approximately 600,00+ words in English... only 13 words account for over 25% of the words in print and 100 words account for approximately 50%."(Beers 212)
And I thought, I know this! I teach this! I have great sight-word games for my first graders, and my reading coach has told me my kids know them backwards and forwards. But then I took a step back and thought, wait a minute - do ALL my students know them? I spend lots of time in first grade with sight words, but what about my very low, struggling sixth graders? I guess I assumed that because they are sixth graders, they know these "easy" words. But immediately, I was able to identify two or three of my most struggling kids, and you know what? I'll bet they struggle with a lot of them beyond the basic 13 (and, for, he, the, etc...). And these are the same kids that lack almost any kind of fluency. This has never once crossed my mind, even though I'm sure I have heard them struggle to decode the most basic words.