Helping Kids Make Connections while Learning the First 100 Fry Words

I think we'd all agree, learning high frequency words is essential for beginning readers. I think we'd also agree, developing decoding skills is a very high priority. 

I'm here to say. . .  I really believe that it's best for kids if they are not kept separate! 

The Fry words are commonly used as high frequency words. I'm thankful to have this list. It's great to know which words occur most frequently in print. But, these word lists were not designed as an instructional sequence. When these words are introduced in order (by frequency within text), it takes away our opportunity to show kids the connections among words. Reading is all about making connections - and there are so many connections that can be made as kids learn these important words! 

I've been playing with various ways to organize these words in a way which can help kids develop phonics skills - and understand the relationships among these words - while also focusing on high frequency words.  

Do you have a moment to take a look?   

The first page of this file includes only short vowel words which are on the 1st 100 Fry word list. I'd recommend starting with these basic short vowel words. (There are digraphs included and a few consonant blends. Those are words to provide a bit more support with.) 

The second page is a bit unique.  It includes all the short vowel words with phonetic spellings - and also irregularly spelled words with the vowel sound. I recommend introducing this page after kids have become comfortable reading the first set, which included only short vowel words with standard spelling. 

  • Under short a, I've added the word have (even though there's a silent e.) 
  • Under short e, I've included words with the short e sound: been, said and many. This a great time to introduce the idea that letter sounds are very helpful for reading words, but there are some exceptions to every rule.   
  • Under short i, the words which, into and little are added.  
  • The short o words remain the same!
  • Under short u, I've added another column - words with the schwa sound. Once kids learn to use the short u sound (with the umbrella at the top as a key), it's much easier for them to remember the vowel sound and read these words. 
The third page, with long vowel sounds, includes just a few words that need some extra explanation.  They, there and their are included under long a - according to their vowel sound. You and your are included under long u. (This could be debated, but I find that kids pick up on it quickly!)

The fourth, and final page, was a lot of fun to create. My goal was to give kids supports that would help them read these words (once they have been introduced). So - I went with sets of rhyming words whenever possible - with a key word at the top. The few words left are grouped by vowel sound (first, her and were) or by concept (number words: one, two). 

There are definitely other ways these words could be arranged.  To me, the important thing is that we arrange them in a way (any way) which helps kids make connections. 

These word charts are available, for free, at my Teachers pay Teachers shop.  Click here or on any of the pictures to download the set.  

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a look!   I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. 

:) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)


  1. Thank you. I have been teaching my virtual learners their sight words using this grouping. It makes so much sense.

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