100 Most Commonly Used Words
A Spelling List
© Beverley Paine
Thomas began learning to read and write at around age four, but took another eight or so years to really get started.... these were years in which I alternated between confident faith in his ability and sheer panic. Along the way I tried many techniques to improve his progress, and the most successful of these was teaching Thomas to recognise on sight some of the most commonly used words in our language. I added to these words he would come across fairly frequently, like our names and pet names, address and so on.
The following words actually make up half of all reading and writing we do, and unlocking the power in sentences to make sense by giving Thomas the ability to decode these really seemed to spur his development along. Of course, the timing may have been just perfect for him. Because I only came across this list when he was around ten years of age I have no idea how effective it might have been when he was five or six!
If you are interested in teaching your child to read by this method you could try the 'look, read, cover, write and check' method of learning these words from a list, starting with around five a day. Many of these words are not the best words to introduce phonetically and are generally learned much later, by sight. Often by the time a child has phonetic pronunciation and reading under way these words simply fall into place without any effort. Not so Thomas, who never got the hang of decoding words phonetically at all. He tended to use whatever methods came to hand at the time - usually asking for help.
I was very careful to introduce as many of these words in a sentence format, even writing and illustrating simple books which he learned to read, and which included much repetition of a selection of the words I wanted him to remember. Reading the words in a meaningful context was important, and the illustration helped remind Thomas of the action in the sentence, reminding him which word was needed to make sense of the text. I used cards, postcards, posters and lists to reinforce the use of these words in sentences.
Once Thomas mastered about 70% of this list reading began to fall into place fairly rapidly. He found that being able to recognise all the words between the nouns and verbs helped enormously.
Beverley Paine is a mother of three young adults and a prolific writer of homeschooling articles. More articles and essays can be found in her books, available from the Always Learning Books online bookstore.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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