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High Frequency Word lists Messages in this topic - RSS

FPUser15268
FPUser15268
Posts: 1


8 days ago
FPUser15268
FPUser15268
Posts: 1
I am working to determine high frequency lists for grade level for each nine week period in our K-4 building. I am using the BAS 1 for grades K-2, but I am having difficulty breaking the word lists into grade levels and 9 weeks. I know K has the 25 word list, but our district is setting the expectation higher than K students only learning 25 words. Is there another document that has specific grade level lists using the word lists from the BAS? Also, what are those lists based on? Fry? Dolch? Thanks for any insight!
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Debbie Magoulick, Fountas & Pinnell Consultant
Debbie Magoulick, Fountas & Pinnell Consultant
Posts: 142


8 days ago
FPUser15268 wrote:
I am working to determine high frequency lists for grade level for each nine week period in our K-4 building. I am using the BAS 1 for grades K-2, but I am having difficulty breaking the word lists into grade levels and 9 weeks. I know K has the 25 word list, but our district is setting the expectation higher than K students only learning 25 words. Is there another document that has specific grade level lists using the word lists from the BAS? Also, what are those lists based on? Fry? Dolch? Thanks for any insight!



This is a great question and one that comes up frequently so I am going to elaborate a bit on the rationale that goes beyond your question.


High Frequency (HF) words refer to a collection of words that a child can read AND write with automaticity. Fry, Dolch, and Fountas and Pinnell selected words that are used most often in the English language texts. However, the explanations of HF words found in the Literacy Continuum, Guided Reading, and Phonics Lessons mention the value of these words to readers and writers beyond just reading them with automaticity. They are also high utility words that help in solving other words.


Fountas and Pinnell suggest that Kinder students have a core of about 25 words "...along with a few specialized words they have encountered. Many children will know more words; ...the precise collection does not have to be the same for every child..." (Word Matters p. 89) The focus is on learning "how to learn words" and how to use known letters, words, spelling patterns, word structures, and word meanings to learn and/or solve new words; use them as resources that will help them learn to read and write other words. The Fountas and Pinnell Phonics Lessons have lessons for teaching HF words each month of the school year, but also provide lessons for the other categories of word solving. This is where the list of 25 words for Kinder assessment originated.


Once students understand how to attend to the print, how to use known to get to new, and how to use the parts in flexible ways they will be able to "memorize more basic sight words for automaticity," to have a repertoire of 100 words by the end of first grade. If you teach the children how to use spelling patterns then you do not need to teach every word that uses the pattern. For example if a child learns can and learns how to change can to make man, fan, pan then the child knows how to make most if not all of the -an words so all of those words are not on the list. It is more important to teach the Kinder children to become word solvers than to just learn words.


The texts that most kinder students are reading independently probably have a limited number of HF words in them. Sample your Guided Reading Library texts for levels A-D to establish the list for your Kinder students. Include the Word Writing Assessment found in BAS Optional Assessments to observe how children can generate words.


When Readers Struggle p. 471 cautions us that "the intensive testing of knowledge of isolated units of language has reached an all-time high, and instruction has generally followed suit. ... We sometimes forget that a measure of progress that is easy to analyze statistically is not necessarily a measure of good instruction." Don't get too hung up on the numbers of words, especially for Kinder, but focus on the "how to learn the words." Word Matters is an excellent resource that explains this in more detail.


Thank you for your question but keep thinking about the why behind the tests and challenge the district with your rationales based on what is best for children.
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