My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

These sight words??!!!!

10 replies

Tiasmummy · 24/10/2008 09:19


My daughter is 4 years old and started reception full time in September. As she is August born I thought I would try and give her a bit of a headstart before starting school. I started her on the first 45 reception sight words. Everywhere I have looked has this same set of 45 words that reception children are taught by the end of the year.

Yesterday the school gave out a list of 60 "tricky words" which seem too hard for reception to me! They include words such as "right, before, should, only, where, live and because". I was thinking of talking to the teacher in case there has been some kind of mistake! I dont want to come across as a moaning mum but I dont understand why they are not starting with the standard 45 words. I have googled sight words and these kind of words come up for year 1 and 2!

Is anybody else's reception age child doing these 60 words??


OP posts:
Mercy · 24/10/2008 09:25


My ds' class hasn't even started the 45 high frequency words.

debs40 · 24/10/2008 09:34

Hi My ds is in Year 1 and in reception they started with the basics. this seems very hard for 4 year olds who are adjusting to school and learning basic decoding skills.

Tiasmummy · 24/10/2008 09:44

Thanks for your responses. I thought they sounded much too hard as well. Will surely have to have a word with the teacher....I just cant think of any reason why they would give them such hard words at 4 and 5 years old!

OP posts:
janinlondon · 24/10/2008 09:45

We had this list in reception too. I can remember it because the whole class learnt this one: "Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants"!!

Tiasmummy · 24/10/2008 10:30

Janinlondon - Now I know somebody else has had the same list I am not sure if I should speak to the teacher after all :-/ Maybe the "list" just differs from school to school?

OP posts:
sitdownpleasegeorge · 24/10/2008 10:50

I think I read somewhere on MN that the 45 key words for reception level has been replaced by a longer (?) list.

You are right however that the 45 word list is everywhere still, information on the web, available as magnetic fridge stickers etc, (shops have old stock to get rid of).

Our school used them last year and I just kept quiet about having read on MN that there was a more up to date list.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, but as the tricky words are usually not possible to decode using phonics they are best learn't as sight words as it makes reading much more rewarding for new readers when coupled with phonics knowledge.

gladbag · 24/10/2008 10:56

It's all a bit confusing because the Literacy Strategy (how schools teach reading and writing) has been 'renewed' recently, and some things have changed - particularly the teaching of reading. Most schools now use a new programme called 'Letters and Sounds'. This doesn't have the 45 Reception sight words laid out or taught in the same way, so although there are lots of resources out there, it's because that is how it has been taught for the past 10 years or so, but not anymore.

The current list of 'high frequency' words can be seen here. There are 100 to begin with, then there are 200 more 'common words', which include the ones your dd has been given.

If you scroll down you can see that these words are taught in 'phases' and are split into 'decodable words' (that can be sounded out and blended) and 'tricky' words that just have to be learnt.

In Reception most children will currently be working on Phase 1 or 2 (I know my ds has been doing phase 1 this half term, and will be starting phase 2 after the break). So I'm really not sure why your poor dd has been given those words. The school may be using a different scheme (they don't have to use Letters and Sounds) but either way I would go in and have a chat with the teacher. I'd want to find out a little about which scheme they were using and what stage they were at....

That is really long! Sorry. Hope it was helpful, and not confusing the issue more.

Reallytired · 24/10/2008 15:53

It sounds a lot, but you would be surprised. However I think its a mistake to concentrate on sight words. In fact it goes against the principles of teaching synthetic phonics.

Get her to learn her letter sounds and then how to blend. Many of the high frequency words are completely decodable and the tricky words can be decoded using phonics with a little bit of tweaking. For example "was" would phonetically be spelt as "wos". You little girl just has to remember to tweak the "a"

Seriously if you concentrate on your little girl learning letter sounds and decoding through the word with no guessing she will easily manage all the 45 high frequency words of reception and the year 1 and year 2 words. Although frankly she should not be gettting sight words to learn.

cat64 · 24/10/2008 16:10

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

Tiasmummy · 24/10/2008 21:22

Thanks so much for all your replies:-)

Gladbags - the info and link you gave have been very helpful. was not even aware that there was a new list of frequency words!!

Sitdownplease - It does make it confusing as the 45 are still out there! Thanks for your response :-)

Reallytired - yes it does sound alot does'nt it :-( I just feel like so much is being heaped on my daughter at one time. They are doing jolly phonics, praticing to write letters and now this gigantic list of words!

Cat64 - I would of thought it would be done in smaller groups as well...the letter that came with it does say "we dont expect you to do anything specific with these words..." so then why give them all out at the same time!!! Arrrhhhgggghhhh!! lol!!

OP posts:
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.