Learning the most commonly occurring words by heart is a very effective way of improving reading and spelling efficiency.
The aim is to make reading and spelling of these words automatic - that means that children can read and spell them 'without thinking.' Once again, the key is practice.
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Don't Pick Pete
Fill in the board with the words you are practising.
Player one secretly picks Pete and writes it down.
Player two guesses words. You get a counter each time you guess a word which isn't Pete. When you guess Pete, add up the counters you have so far.
Swap roles and repeat.
Create a traditional fortune teller using High Frequency Words. As children play with it, they have to spell out the HFW too, which is great for extra practice.
You can give them to children ready made, but having children fold them themselves is excellent for fine motor skills practice.
Create a set of cards with the words you are practising. You can make pairs, threes or fours (depending upon how many words you want to practise). The picture above shows a focused set of words and a game I made with all 100 high frequency words.
Deal 5 cards to each player and put the rest in a pile. Children can find it really hard to hold cards, so I usually put up a book as a barrier then you can just lay cards flat on the table.
Make any pairs (or 3s or 4s) you can - make sure the child knows how many to make a set. Put any completed sets to the side. Then, player 1 asks player 2 for a card they need to complete a set. If player 2 has the card, they must hand it over. Repeat until player 2 does not have the requested card, then player 2 says 'Go Fish.' Player 1 picks up a card from the remaining pile, and then player 2 can ask player 1 for cards.
Keep going until you have used all of the cards. The winner is the person with the most sets.
Snakes and Ladders
Simply write the HFW into the squares of a printable Snakes and Ladders board (the one shown is from Twinkl) and play as normal, reading every square that you pass.
For this game, cut up a piece of foam into squares. It also works with lolly sticks.
Choose the words you want to practise, and write each one 3 or 4 times until you've used up most of the squares. Then create some bonus cards like:
'Pick 3', 'Pick 5' 'Go Again'
'Put 2 back' 'Put 5 back' 'Zap - put all back'
Put the tiles into a tub or face down on the table and start a timer. Pick a tile, read it and keep it. If you get a bonus tile, follow the instructions.
Keep playing until the timer runs out. The game never ends because of the Zap tiles (make 2 of these for added jeopardy!), so you need to have a timer. It's good fun to play, as you could have twenty tiles then at the last second get a Zap and lose it all so children get very tense about which tile they are picking up!