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Spelling Piano app rebuild!

Why add 100 orthographically mapped high frequency words to the app, and rebuild it?

The Speech Sound Mapping Piano app

Why did we choose these 100 words for the new Speech Sound Mapping Piano app, launched in June?

Identifying which words young children should learn first is particularly important, because it helps them to get the best return for their learning effort (Nation, 2013). There are a small number of high-frequency words (around 2,000 items)  that cover from 70% to 90% of the words in different kinds of texts (e.g. newspapers, general conversation, TV programs, and academic texts) (Coxhead, 2000Dang & Webb, 2014Nation, 2004). Knowledge of high-frequency words is important because it may allow learners to recognise a large proportion of words in different spoken and written texts.

Given that there are several different high-frequency word lists, one question that arises is which list is the most useful for young learners. Criterion to evaluate word lists, to make these lists more relevant to KS1 learning and teaching, list evaluation should involve their end-users— learners and teachers. Unfortunately, no studies could be found that involved children and teachers in the evaluation of high-frequency word lists.

Regardless of what is available, the DfE recommends the following, and call them ‘exception words’ as they have at least one grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence not explicitly taught within Synthetic Phonics Programmes.

Reception Year Exception Words

  • I

  • no

  • go

  • to

  • the

  • into

These words are part of the Early Learning Goals in the UK, which aim to develop children's literacy skills by the end of the Reception year. These words are often included in reading schemes and phonics programmes to help children recognise and read them fluently despite their irregular spelling.

While the list of strictly defined exception words for Reception year (EYFS) is relatively short, children are also introduced to a wider range of high-frequency and exception words in their Synthetic Phonics Programmes. Here are additional common tricky words typically taught in Reception:

Additional Reception Year Exception  Words

  • he

  • she

  • we

  • me

  • be

  • was

  • my

  • you

  • they

  • her

  • all

  • are



Year 1

  • the

  • a

  • do

  • to

  • today

  • of

  • said

  • says

  • are

  • were

  • was

  • is

  • his

  • has

  • I

  • you

  • your

  • they

  • be

  • he

  • me

  • she

  • we

  • no

  • go

  • so

  • by

  • my

  • here

  • there

  • where

  • love

  • come

  • some

  • one

  • once

  • ask

  • friend

  • school

  • put

  • push

  • pull

  • full

  • house

  • our

Year 2

  • door

  • floor

  • poor

  • because

  • find

  • kind

  • mind

  • behind

  • child

  • children

  • wild

  • climb

  • most

  • only

  • both

  • old

  • cold

  • gold

  • hold

  • told

  • every

  • everybody

  • even

  • great

  • break

  • steak

  • pretty

  • beautiful

  • after

  • fast

  • last

  • past

  • father

  • class

  • grass

  • pass

  • plant

  • path

  • bath

  • hour

  • move

  • prove

  • improve

  • sure

  • sugar

  • eye

  • could

  • should

  • would

  • who

  • whole

  • any

  • many

  • clothes

  • busy

  • people

  • water

  • again

  • half

  • money

  • Mr

  • Mrs

  • parents

  • Christmas

These words are part of the statutory requirements for KS1 students and are meant to support their reading and spelling development.

The reality is that they will need to use these words – and many more- within their writing, even if the are being taught to read with very controlled correspondences, and therefore restricted words.  

Within the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach in Australia over 80% can read and spell over 400 of these ‘high frequency words’ – because of the unique system that shows the graphemes (Code Mapping Tool) the phonemes (Phonemies) and ensures that children understand the meaning.

So within the new app – that will replace the SSP Spelling Piano app – children will continue to learn the target Grapheme-to-Phoneme Correspondences that are tested within the Year 1 Phonics Screener Check (going Speech to Print and also Print to Speech) but ALSO the statutory Spelling Words for Year 1 and 2, and a wide range of words known to be used frequently when they look at books and that they need to use when writing.

Oxford University Press (OUP)  conducted extensive research into the word frequency usage of young children. OUP's research investigated the most used words by young children in both their writing and reading. This research helped to inform the creation of resources and word lists that are widely used in schools today to support early literacy development.

https://www.oxfordwordlist.com/

“The Oxford Wordlist includes the 500 most frequently used words by children in their first three years of school. We've examined these word choices against the same demographic criteria used in the first research conducted 10 years ago, and explored what these word choices indicate about how children's identities and social experiences have changed in the past decade. This new research also informs new publishing by Oxford University Press.”

The findings from this research are often incorporated into phonics programmes and literacy resources to ensure that the words children are learning are those they are most likely to encounter in their reading and writing.  However, there is little consistency across the UK.

Here are the first 100 words (Oxford)


and

the

i

to

was

my

she

went

we

it

in

her

on

had

he

like

at

of

is

for

there

they

then

but

one

that

with

day

so

have

house

time

weekend

you

got

home

eat

mum

said

cat

played

when

are

because

go

play

up

after

came

dad

happy

me

once

what

didn't

forest

his

saw

school

them

all

called

dark

do

dog

fun

get

looking

made

people

will

cool

did

food

going

name

some

stepmother

two

upon

were

about

boy

egg

fish

good

no

out

sisters

stepsisters

want

wish

ate

baby

castle

could

dogs

down

family

favourite

 

Some of these can be decoded when children know the 4 Code Level GPCs however.

By ensuring that children can learn at least 100 of these high frequency words within the app – without any need for adult supervision or instruction, and especially if they do so before starting school, they are far more likely to achieve literacy success.

The act of segmenting and blending these words are strengthens phonemic awareness, which is the biggest predictor of reading and spelling success or failure (National Reading Panel (2000).  So aside from learning these words, this vital skill is being developed – and further extends the phonemic awareness intervention. It also builds their confidence mapping words. As Lowe & Bormann (in Daffern, Mackenzie & Hemmings, 2015, p. 73) suggest “as primary school students progress through schooling, they may become less willing to take risks with vocabulary choice when writing, particularly if they are unsure of a word’s spelling.” Early phonemic and orthographic awareness  of the mapping of high frequency words supports students to become more independent so that they can focus their attention on dealing with low frequency words. This secure knowledge promotes development of their self-efficacy and self-esteem and frees up teachers to focus on expanding students’ vocabularies.

Because of the way the words are displayed – unique to Emma Hartnell-Baker’s work – the children have 2 of these elements displayed immediately, when using the Duck Level Words video lessons, or Speedy Sight Word Handbook.

Therefore, to better support those already using the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach the words align with SSP ‘Duck Levels. Some can be decoded when the children get to that 'Code Level'. An important concept for teachers of phonics is that words are only 'decodable' to children when they understand the grapheme to phoneme correspondences - whether they consist of GPCs that WILL be taught (and understood) is irrelevant to the child at that point in time. If they are learning 's a t p i n' then the word 'and' is NOT decodable to the child at that time.   

The words are as follows:

Tab 1 : the a I and is so was to you thank
Tab 2 : here see saw many with they said do us has my after this because
Tab 3 : like me she come what very puppet how goes by for say been friend give have her made one played down there too you use
Tab 4 : love again away didn't could thought cold looked out out came before King boy girl gave two school always stayed should which where when who
Tab 5 : were people over sister brother all sign sigh he we of undo then number baby that or words day must his go are duck  
 
Once the children get the hang of this they can learn any words, with the ICSWY Lessons - it includes Map and Drag 

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