What's the current thinking on reception key words?

(31 Posts)
Iamnotminterested Wed 05-Dec-12 17:16:36

Am I right in thinking that learning the 45 key words is now out of date? Are children still tested on them at the end of reception? Mrz?

RiversideMum Wed 05-Dec-12 18:10:58

I think there are key words in letters & sounds, but they are done by phase rather than age group. I teach tricky words because lots of the key words are decodable. I wouldn't dream of testing children ... but that's just me.

simpson Wed 05-Dec-12 19:22:25

My DD has tricky words in her class (reception) don't know how many there are though...

Also a lot of the words seem easily decodable to me (like, then, when) unless the teachers want the kids to recognise them before they learn to decode them (not sure if this is the case, but if it is I am a bit hmm about it tbh).

learnandsay Wed 05-Dec-12 19:34:23

Fram what I remember of various arguments I've had over the years keywords and tricky words aren't exactly the same. Tricky ones can largely be sounded out but have some tricky element to them www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007ypdw

And key words are simply common words which continuously crop up in texts, and might also be tricky but don't have to be.) www.bankfoot.bradford.sch.uk/LearningSystem/PortalHome/preDefault.asp?Resource=EA8FB11A-DE64-4865-84D5-1E4756C3BB60&ResourceID=4409

I think key words are an old fashioned concept because the idea nowadays is to teach the children to read the words and then you don't have to worry if they're key, tricky or some other designation. They're all just words.

mrz Wed 05-Dec-12 19:42:21

The 45 reception High Frequency Words were replaced in 2007

maizieD Wed 05-Dec-12 20:01:19

I think key words are an old fashioned concept because the idea nowadays is to teach the children to read the words and then you don't have to worry if they're key, tricky or some other designation. They're all just words.

Spot on, lands grin

Though I would add the word 'how' between 'children' and 'to'...

Mashabell Thu 06-Dec-12 08:06:57

key words are simply common words which continuously crop up in texts
They are indeed, and remain so irrespective of the latest teaching fashion or fad. Letters and Sounds lists 300 of them, but the first 100 of them are the most high frequency of all.

Many of them have phonically regular spellings (a, and, at, in, it), but 40 among the first 100 are tricky in various ways:

the - he, be, we, me, she,
was, want, all, call, said,
of, to, one, come, do, down, into, look, now,
only, other, some, two,
could, you, your,
when, what, where, which, who, why,
there, were,
right, are, have, before, more.

Phonics fanatics claim that they teach those by the phonic method too, but they have to keep going over them so many times, because most children keep stumbling over them for a long time, that children may well just be imprinting them on their minds anyway.

They are clearly trickier to learn than the 190 of the 300 English most HF words with phonically consistent spellings:
a, am, an, and, as, at, back, bad, can, cat, dad, gran, grandad, had, has, hat, man, rabbit, ran, sat, than, that, that’s,
came, gave, made, make, place, take, same, name, baby,
away, day, may, play, say, way,
car, dark, garden, hard, park,

bed, best, better, eggs, end, fell, get, help, let, let’s, next, red, tell, them, then, very, well, went, yes, her,
been, feet, green, keep, need, queen, see, sleep, three, tree, trees,
each, eat, sea, tea, please, even, here, these,

big, children, did, didn’t, different, fish, him, his, if, in, is, it, it’s, its, king, little, miss, still, thing, things, think, this, will, wind, wish, with,
birds, first, girl,
inside, like, liked, time, I, I’ve, cried, night, right, by, fly, my,

box, dog, fox, from, got, hot, long, lots, no, not, of, off, on, so, stop, stopped, top, floppy, across, along,
cold, old, told,
go, going, home, over, clothes,
or, for, horse, morning,
found, house, mouse, our, out, round, around, shouted, about, boy,

but, duck, fun, just, much, mum, must, run, sun, under, up, us, jumped, suddenly,
use,
their, they, new, again, air, because, began, boat, window.

It is my (non professional) view that the list of 45 words exists still because of old book stock.
If all they have are ORT from 20 years ago, then it's likely you will get 45 words to learn. Otherwise, the DC can't access their reading book with their jolly phonics knowledge.

That's just how it seemed to me.
Dd now y1 learnt them all by Feb in YR, is now apparently learning year 3 words. Still on old ORT but now had plenty of words in the books that she does apply some phonic knowledge.

Her phonic knowledge is no where near as good as her ability to read whole words.

Mashabell Thu 06-Dec-12 17:46:30

It is my (non professional) view that the list of 45 words exists still because of old book stock.

No. The hundred most used English words are still what they were many decades ago, and the 40-45 of them which contain letters with more than one sound are still the same too. They remain as tricky as ever.

Her phonic knowledge is no where near as good as her ability to read whole words.
So what would she be able to do better if her phonic knowledge was better? Phonics is only the initial stage of learning to read. The final stage is being able to read all common English words by sight instantly, without having to work them out by means of decoding and blending.

mrz Thu 06-Dec-12 17:57:07

The ORT key words aren't exactly the same as the 45 reception HFW from the literacy strategy or the 100 HFW in L&S. or the Key Words in Ginn ...

maizieD Thu 06-Dec-12 18:36:33

I think that the list of 45 words still exists because some teachers are still living in 2006. They were part of the old National Literacy Strategy guidance which was superceded in 2007.

Mashabell Fri 07-Dec-12 07:36:22

No, Maizie,
the words that are tricky to read
(the - he, be, we, me, she, was, want, all, call, said,
of, to, one, come, do, down, into, look, now, only, other, some, two,
could, you, your,
when, what, where, which, who, why,
there, were, right, are, have, before, more)
were so a long time ago and will continue to be so.

They were first identified by Murray and McNally at the end of the 1950s
www.theweeweb.co.uk/ladybird/key_words_reading_scheme.php

mrz Fri 07-Dec-12 07:42:33

Obviously you are right masha these words are so tricky...which is why most 5 year olds have no problem reading them hmm

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 08:19:01

Some of those words are not "tricky" IMO.

"which, why, down, when, look, right" are all easily decoded and the other ones are decodable once the child knows the alternative sounds.

These are not the same words that DD has for " tricky words" though (although some of them are).

Mashabell Sat 08-Dec-12 06:16:26

Some of those words are not "tricky" IMO
Nor should they be to u.
But to children learning to read words with silent letters (which, why, when), rare spellings (right) and letters with more than one sound (down - blown, look - moon) are much tricker than the likes of 'sit in it' or 'keep, sleep, deep'.
All words stop being tricky once u've seen them a few doze or few hundred times.

Most teaching fads come over here from the US. Judging by this

www.alexandrianews.org/2012/12/christopher-jorss-masters-dolch-sight-words-and-earns-black-belt/

key words may well be coming back into fashion again.

wordsmithsforever Sat 08-Dec-12 08:06:54

But why is "me" tricky? I just don't get it. The letter e can have a short or a long sound. Put the letter sound of m (mmmm...) together with long e and there you have it? Others are the same... confused

maizieD Sat 08-Dec-12 10:40:46

But why is "me" tricky? I just don't get it.

Ahh, the voice of sanity and reason.

A lot of teachers (and masha) get 'high frequency words' and what we now call 'tricky' words inextricably mixed up in their perceptions of them.

Because there was so much emphasis in the past few decades on learning to read and spell the 'high frequency words' and, because sensible, down to earth, phonics instruction was just about non existent, there arose a perception among teachers that 'high frequency words' had something very difficult about them, which made them hard to read, which ordinary words didn't have. You will still find lots of people calling them 'undecodable' or 'irregular', which is a load of nonsense.

DamnBamboo Sat 08-Dec-12 11:13:05

Ok, so butting in here (hope that's ok) what are the learned opinions on which words reception should be focusing on?

And moving on from that, are the lists currently available for other years, also outdated?

SoundsWrite Sat 08-Dec-12 11:47:17

First, the term ‘high frequency’ has become so clichéd, it seems, in the minds of some teachers, to have become detached from its meaning. What ‘high frequency’ means is that the words in the list are the most commonly occurring words in children’s books and stories. However, being the most commonly occurring words in children’s books and stories doesn’t mean that all of them are complex to teach.

In the list of the first one hundred high frequency words the following are relatively straightforward to teach:
(2) and VCC (6) in VC (10) it VC (14) on VC
(18) at VC (20) but CVC (21) that CVC (22) with CVC
(25) can CVC (27) up VC (28) had CVC (34) this CVC
(36) went CVCC (41) not CVC (42) then CVC (48) mum CVC
(50) them CVC (54) dad CVC (55) big CVC (56) when CVC
(57) it’s VCC (64) will CVC (66) back CVC (67) from CCVC
(69) him CVC (71) get CVC (72) just CVCC (77) got CVC
(91) if VC (92) help CVCC (96) off VC (100) an VC

[C = consonant, v = vowel. The number preceding the words in the list corresponds to the place in which the word appears in the list of 100 high-frequency words in Letters and Sounds.]

If you look carefully at all of the thirty-two words above, you can see very clearly that almost all of them are comprised of one sound/one letter spellings. Indeed, most are either simple VC (‘it’) or CVC (‘big’) words. The level of complexity in these words increases slightly with the introduction of the idea that a sound can be spelt with two letters (‘will’, ‘back’).
From a structural point of view, the complexity also increases slightly with the inclusion of adjacent consonants in words which take the form VCC, CVCC and CCVC (‘and’, ‘help’ and ‘from’). Having said that, all of these words are very easy to teach and to learn.
So, in the list of one hundred high frequency words, at least a third of them are very or relatively easy to teach.

Mashabell Sat 08-Dec-12 11:54:56

But why is "me" tricky?
'Me' is tricky for beginning readers, because the most used English word is the.

Learning to spell the /ee/ sound is much worse:
been feet green keep need queen see sleep three tree trees
even here these
each eat please sea tea
key be he he’s me she we people

Shortly to be followed by:
ceiling, believe, police....

LeeCoakley Sat 08-Dec-12 11:58:49

soundswrite - the 'trickiest' ones are Mr and Mrs. For children who haven't been listening they have great comedic value. I like 'mister' and 'misters' or 'myrrh' and 'myrrhs' grin

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 12:02:41

Mr. and Mrs. aren't words; they're abbreviations. The words are mister and missus.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 12:17:05

I'm not sure about Licht and Dweck 1984. They're giving pupils work with passages or problems inserted at the beginning which have deliberately been constructed in order to confound them. Well, exams have passages and problems in them which are designed to confound pupils, aren't they? So, according to Carol Dweck's methodology all intelligent pupils should do badly at exams. Why doesn't this happen? Because pupils can prepare for exams. I'm sorry. But I think what Dweck is doing is plain silly.

maizieD Sat 08-Dec-12 12:54:02

I'm not sure about Licht and Dweck 1984

Have I missed something, lands? Who are these people and how did they get into the conversation?

maizieD Sat 08-Dec-12 12:55:55

Mr. and Mrs. aren't words; they're abbreviations. The words are mister and missus.

Mrs. is a contraction of 'mistress'. So is 'Miss'. (just being pedantic grin)

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 13:02:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maizieD Sat 08-Dec-12 14:31:55

Sounds 'interesting'. What thread is it in?

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 14:37:53
SoundsWrite Sat 08-Dec-12 15:14:37

Says Masha, "'Me' is tricky for beginning readers, because the most used English word is the."
Poppycock! Quite apart from the laughably clumsy logic, Masha doesn't understand that, as long as it is introduced in a timely fashion, there is nothing difficult or 'tricky' about the concept of the letter <e> representing the sound /e/ or the sound /ee/. After all children grow up with the idea that one thing can 'stand for' another. Any child will tell that a circle can be a face, or a moon, or a ball, etc, etc. So, the concept itself isn't a problem.
What might be a problem is if you introduce too many ideas to work with at the same time. So, the letter <e> is introduced first as /e/ in simple CVC words, followed by VCC and CVCC words (elf, mend), CCVC words (help), and so on. Later, it can be introduced as /ee/ in words like 'he' and 'she', etc.
And, LeeCoakley, I don't know about 'mister' and 'misters' or 'myrrh' and 'myrrhs'. I prefer 'mrz' and 'maizieD'! grin

Feenie Sat 08-Dec-12 15:31:56

Says Masha, "'Me' is tricky for beginning readers, because the most used English word is the."
Poppycock! Quite apart from the laughably clumsy logic, Masha doesn't understand that, as long as it is introduced in a timely fashion, there is nothing difficult or 'tricky' about the concept of the letter <e> representing the sound /e/ or the sound /ee/.

And Masha might know that to be the case, if she had taught any children to read - ever.

SoundsWrite Sat 08-Dec-12 15:53:22

'And Masha might know that to be the case, if she had taught any children to read - ever.' wink

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