The Fry Words are the 1,000 most common words in the English language. Dr. Edward Fry compiled this list in 1996 after determining that these 1,000 words are the words found with the highest frequency in children's books, articles, textbooks and novels.
Because of their frequent occurrence in texts, many educators believe that learning these words can be the key to helping struggling readers. Often, teachers recommend that students in first grade work to master words one through 200 and students in second grade work to master words 201 through 400.
Parents and educators can make a difference in the progress of beginning readers by using some simple strategies and activities to help children master the Fry words. As students work to master the Fry words, your students will begin to grow in their reading.
Assessing Fry Word knowledge: First, begin by completing a checklist assessment so you know where your child should start. You can find checklists for each set of 100 Fry Words at The Curriculum Corner here: www.thecurriculumcorner.com/2012/07/05/fry-list-check-off-pages/.
These checklists have three columns so you can check off words the child already knows and then track progress as students move through the list. It is suggetsed that children reach a 90% accuracy rate before moving onto the next list.
Word Stacks: Once you know where to begin, create a word stack of just right words. You can use index cards and create a stack of words with a ratio of three known words to one unknown word. Write three words the child knows and then one word that needs to learn.
Continue this pattern until you have between 10 and 15 words. If a child has very few unknown words from the first Fry list, you might need to use their name, color words or numbers. Then, hole punch these words and put them on a binder ring.
Children can then practice these words independently, with a buddy or with a teacher. As children master new words, add more unknown words, always remembering to keep the ratio three known to one unknown.
Printable activities: Word stacks are very effective, but sometimes you might want to give students extra practice through printable activities. Children often enjoy using letter stamps to stamp their words, writing rainbow words or playing bingo-like games. You can find printable forms for these activities at The Curriculum Corner here: www.thecurriculumcorner.com/2012/07/06/fry-word-activities-for-all-words/.
Sight Word Games Children also tend to love practicing Fry words by playing games. You will find two different versions of a bird themed sight word game here.
You will find more free printable activities and games in the materials here.
Mastering the Fry words can be a great first step in becoming a stronger reader!