These are tricky tricky tricky tricky tricky tricky words! Don’t let them trick you!
You may recognise the title wording from hearing the tricky word songs on YouTube, if not google them and they’ll never leave your head! On a plus side children love them and it helps them to learn to read and spell them.
What actually is a high frequency word?
Well like the name suggests it is words that occur most often in reading and writing.
Did you know that the first 100 hfw (high frequency words) occur most often in reading and therefore are used often in writing?Reading and then writing them without having to think too much improves flow and pace which is why we spend lots of time on them as well as using phonics to read other decodable words.
Over 50% of all text contains the first 100 high frequency words and the first 25 words make up one third of text. (The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists, 2000)
According to Robert Hillerich “Just three words I, and & the account for 10% of all words in printed English.” Dr. Edward Fry et al.
What is a tricky word?
You have probably heard your child or their teacher mention tricky words but have no idea what on earth they are talking about. Within the first 100 hfw are tricky words (also known as CEW common exception words), these are words that have a tricky part and are often recognised as a whole word. This is because they aren’t decodable at the point children learn to read them due to children’s phonics knowledge development at that time. For example, 'like' is a tricky word at first until the children know about the tricky bit the split vowel digraphs (i_e in like) then it becomes decodable and not tricky.
These are the order and rough age they are taught:
Reception Autumn term
Reception Spring term
Reception summer term and recapped in YR1 Autumn term
Yr 1 autumn term
First 100 high frequency words (HFW) with tricky or common exception words (CEW) in order of frequency in text.
Tricky words are in Italics, bold and underlined
If you recall something about 30 times this supports the memory but also writing it by hand increases the muscle memory forcing the brain to remember the details. Of course, if you spell it wrong lots of times then that may become your recall and so you then have to work hard to change that.
tear it up bingo, splat the word, pairs, snap, rainbow writing, roll a dice and write it, that many times, video re tubes and torch, bingo, password on a door to press and say each time you go through, write in foam, flour, glitter etc to make it sensory and tactile which gives children feedback and supports muscle memory.