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Hillcross Primary School

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Key words

Key Words or High frequency words are quite simply those words which occur most frequently in written material, for example, "and", "the", "as" and "it". They are often words that have little meaning on their own, but they do contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence.

It is really important that children learn how to read these words as they will make up a large proportion of the words they will be reading in everyday texts. They also need to learn to spell these words as they will find they will need to use them a great deal in their writing. (Research has shown that just 16 words, such as ‘and’, ‘he’, ‘I’ and ‘in’, but also the more phonetically-difficult ‘the’, ‘to’, ‘you’, ‘said’, ‘are’, ‘she’ and ‘was’, make up a quarter of the words in a piece of writing, whether it’s for adults or children.)

At Hillcross we refer to these words as keywords. These words have been organised into groups; linked to the units of Phonics International. The children will be taught the specific set of words linked to the unit of phonics they are learning.

How Can You Help at Home?

The Key word lists can be accessed below and can be used at home to develop your child's recall of these words. Others ways that you can help support them are to;

  • Cut out high frequency word lists and stick them on a prominent place (the fridge, the back of their cereal packet, etc.), so your child has a visible reminder while they're learning them.

  • Use Magnetic letters – good for helping children with tricky words. Leave some up on the fridge so your child becomes more familiar with the word every time they get a drink. 

  • Memory games– place flashcards downwards for a game of pairs.

  • Ask your child to look out for high frequency words on signs or advertisements when you’re on a journey or a shopping trip. 

  • Choose three or four of the words and help your child make a silly sentence containing as many of them as possible.

  • Show your child you enjoy reading. You are their best role model so show them you enjoy reading and share books with them regularly.