Your child has learned to read and write many words during the months he or she has been in school. There are many high frequency word lists or sight word lists available on-line that give you an idea of what words your child should be able to read at what grade level. These are the words that research suggests appear most often in texts at a particular grade level. Two of the most common lists are here:
Grade One Power Words differ from high frequency or sight words because these are the words that the children need to learn to use correctly in their writing by the end of Grade One in order to be best prepared for the material that will be introduced in Grade Two. Children move through several developmental phases as they learn to write words. From the early stage of using only the first letter to represent a word, your child is experimenting with the spelling of words. Throughout the early years of primary inventive spelling is encouraged so that children become confident writers and are able to get their ideas on paper. By the end of Grade 3 and into Grade 4 more standardized spelling emerges. By this age and grade level your child should have a strong foundation in phonemic awareness(hearing the individual sounds in words), a good knowledge of phonics (what sounds letters make) as well as an understanding of the patterns that make up words. All of this put together takes time to develop and creates an ability to use more formal spelling.
Below you will find The Grade One Power Words List. This list consists of the words often used in the children’s writing and many of these words have to be learned as they can’t all be sounded out. The children will be told that if these words are used correctly it will give their schemas enough power to be in Grade 2 next year. The idea is that all completed work will be need to be edited for these words using one of the editing techniques we will learn this year at school. The goal is for the children to spell these words correctly in their writing by the end of Grade One without using the word list as a model.
Children gain knowledge about spelling by reading and writing. The more a child reads, the more words he or she is exposed to and this exposure helps spelling develop. You can help your child learn the Grade One Power Words by pointing them out while reading to your child or while reading with your child. When you are done reading go back and look at a few of the power words. Talk about the letters that make up the words while your child traces the letters with a finger. What does your child notice about the word? Can the word be sounded out? Are there any patterns in the word that your child recognizes? Can your child use the word in a new sentence? Can your child write the word yet?
Keep in mind that many children can easily memorize words and spell them correctly when given in isolation but have difficulties using the words in the context of their own writing. As teachers and parents, we need to look at each child and figure out what strategies work best for him or her to learn to use the Grade One Power Words independently.