Getting Started

First things first…. Let’s clarify what sight words are and talk about some of these words you may have been hearing about!

What is a Sight Word?

A sight word is any word you know effortlessly without sounding out or guessing. (Adults know 30,000 – 70,000 sight words and all of the words on this website are likely sight words for you!)

What is a High Frequency Word?

A high frequency word is a word seen often in text.

There are regularly spelled high frequency words and high frequency words with an irregular sound-spelling pattern.

(Only 4% of words have more than one irregular sound-spelling pattern).

What is a Heart Word?

A heart word is a word with an irregular sound spelling pattern. We put the heart over the irregular part when we are mapping words to help kids remember that irregular sound spelling.

What is Orthographic Mapping?

Many people have a misconception that orthographic mapping is something that we do, however, it is important to note that it is a mental process, not a teaching strategy.

When we use strategies like phoneme-grapheme mapping, we promote the mental process of orthographic mapping (which is how our brains store words).

Now that we have cleared up those definitions, let’s talk about teaching high frequency words!

What is a High Frequency Word?

Whether a word is regular or not, you can teach it by matching sounds to symbols (speech to print). After all, the letters of the alphabet were invented to represent what we are saying!

Before we talk about the process, let me tell you this game changing fact.  Memorizing just one word can take hundreds of repetitions (depending on the child).  But with the necessary foundational skills, mapping words typically takes just 1-4 repetitions!

If a child is not storing the word after several repetitions, check the following:

  • Do they have phonemic awareness/proficiency
  • Do they have letter sound skills
  • Are they completing the mapping process independently

So let’s get into it! Here are 4 EASY steps to teaching any word!

  • Have the child say the word
  • Have the child segment the sounds
  • Have the child spell each sound (match sounds to symbols)
  • Put a heart over any irregular sound spellings

I want to just re-emphasize here the importance of having the foundational skills of phonemic awareness (link to foundational skills page) and letter sound skills.  Once a child has these skills, it’s like magic, but it’s science! The mapping and reading will come much easier for them.

My son is in kindergarten and has never memorized a single word. We focused our time teaching him phonemic awareness skills, letter-sound skills, and mapping words and he can read!

Ready to make the switch from memorizing words to mapping them? Check out these teaching slides to get started!

This Orthographic Mapping Simplified Kit may also help you get started as it includes a sample lesson plan, parent letter, and mapping templates.

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What People Are Saying

Jennifer F

★★★★★

Finally learning high frequency words makes sense and isn’t frustrating!  Thank you for this easy to use resource that is easy to fit into our routine and help students be able to decode and encode the words.

Christine S

★★★★★

This is the best high frequency words product I’ve ever found. I am just starting my journey into learning about the Science of Reading, but I love how much of a difference I am seeing in learning new words! I am excited to use it from the beginning next year!

Mary F

★★★★★

This is a product that will not overwhelm a teacher new to SOR.  It is easy to use, straight forward, and benefits all students.  I highly recommend this product.

The Gel Pen Teacher

★★★★★

This resource has given me so much confidence in ACTUALLY teaching kids high frequency words!   And bonus, they like the routine too!

Paige W

★★★★★

I have never had my students enjoy learning irregular words before these resources. It really makes it so manageable to teach these in a sequential order. I love how they only add a few “heart” words in at a time. I truly cannot talk enough about how the Science of Reading has changed my classroom and how my students see themselves as readers.

Camilo L

★★★★★

I have been using this resource to help my students map out words. I love the sequence and scope that it follows. The PowerPoints are editable which makes it great if I want to personalize slides for the students I work with.

Stephanie G

★★★★★

This has changed the game for me! My students have REALLY struggled with sight words this year. More than ever. My team and I decided to change our approach with the SOR. My students are actually getting it! Things are clicking and they’re so proud of themselves. Thank you for making an easy resource for us to use every day!

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