The How of Teaching High Frequency Words

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The How of Teaching High-Frequency Words 

Teaching high-frequency words is one part of an explicit phonics lesson sequence. This module provides guidance on how to incorporate the neuroscience of reading within high-frequency word instruction. Interactive module lessons include phoneme-grapheme mapping, the heart-word technique, and practice activities to reinforce the learning of high-frequency words. (Estimated completion time: 3 hours).

  • The How of Teaching High Frequency Words
    • Navigation and Learning Objectives
    • Pre-Assessment
    • Introduction
    • Orthographic Mapping
    • Aligning High-Frequency Words to Phonics Scope & Sequence
    • Phoneme Grapheme Mapping
    • Using the Heart Word Technique
    • Practice & Review
    • Summing it Up
    • Post-Assessment
How to use this Module


Completion of The Why of Teaching Phonics & Word Recognition (Part 1), The What of Teaching Phonics & Word Recognition (Part 2), and The How of Introducing Phonics Patterns (Part 3). Taking courses in the recommended order helps you build a strong foundation in important concepts and practices related to teaching phonics and word recognition.

Module Description

This module is the fourth part of a five-part series on Teaching Phonics and Word Reading Instruction. Part 1 describes the research and effectiveness of phonics instruction, key terms used within phonics, and how sight words fit into phonics. Part 2 focuses on the instructional routines and practices that exemplify explicit and systematic phonics instruction. Part 3 provides guidance on introducing phoneme-grapheme correspondences and implementing activities that allow students to practice target phonics patterns.  This module (Part 4) focuses on how to teach high-frequency words as part of an explicit phonics lesson sequence.  

The following topics are discussed in the text, linked resources, embedded audio, and video:

  • The difference between sight words and high-frequency words.
  • Aligning high-frequency words to a phonics scope and sequence.
  • Instructional routines and practice activities for teaching students high-frequency words.

"Research shows that readers store 'irregular' words in their memory in the same way hey store 'regular' words. That is, readers pay attention to each letter and the pattern of letters in a word and associate these with the sounds that the represent."

Although this module will likely be most helpful for K-3 educators, educators in all grades and content areas may find this module to be beneficial.

Helpful Resources Related to this Module:

Module Resources

An outline of the module’s main content and supporting resources.

Welcome & Navigation

Step-by-step guide to assist you in navigating the professional learning modules. 

Ohio Literacy Library

In-depth information about the purpose and key elements of the Ohio Literacy Library.

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