High-Frequency Word Cards

Jul 21, 2011 by

Did you know that:

  • only 13 words (a, and, for, he, is, in, it, of, that, the, to, was, you) account for 25% of the words in print?
  • 100 words account for approximately 50%?
  • 250 words make up 70-75% of all the words children use in their writing?

                                                —from Phonics from A to Z by Wiley Blevins

These statistics make it very clear that we must help students master these high-frequency words if they are to become fluent readers and writers.  Because most of these words are irregularly spelled, they cannot be taught the same way we teach words that contain phonograms or word families.  Children need repeated exposure to these words so that they can acquire a visual memory for them.  In some previous articles, I have shared the following effective techniques:

I would like to share another tool that you might find helpful.  These are high-frequency word cards.

Here is what I do: I give each student who hasn’t mastered the 150 Most Frequent Words a packet of cards attached to a 1-inch loose leaf ring.  Each card contains twelve high-frequency words. Students keep their word cards in their individual book bags or bins and practice reading them whenever they have a few minutes during the day. When students come to the guided reading table, they select a card/s to read to me. If they can read every word on the card quickly without hesitation, I stamp the card. If they stumble on a word, I put a dot by the word and tell them to keep practicing. I require them to earn stamps on each card at least two times (on different days) before I consider the card to be mastered. They keep practicing the word cards until all have been mastered.

To make the High-Frequency Word Cards for your students, follow these steps:

  1. Download and print the following document onto cardstock. 
  2. Cut each sheet into six sections.
  3. Punch a hole in each card.
  4. Place cards on a 1” looseleaf ring.

    High Frequency Word Cards


You may also be interested in word cards for Word Families.

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