Your child has learned to read and write many words during the short time 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. All completed work will be need to be edited for these words using one of the editing techniques we have learned this year at school. The goal is for the children to spell these words correctly in their writing by then 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.
Today we had time to explore our Power Words Centre. Power words are words that are often not easily sounded out using stretchy snake and our brains have to learn to read and write them automatically. Later in the year we will be introducing a list of words that are Grade One Power Words but for the time being we are working on the Power Words Centre activities that will focus on listening to the sounds heard in words when we say them and figuring out where in the word we heard the sound. Is the sound at the beginning, middle or the end? This can be a very difficult skill for some children to acquire, but with lots of exposure to activities like the ones in our Power Centees and through oral games played in the classroom and at home this essential foundation for pre-spelling skills will develop.
At home you can: Say a word to your child that has three sounds in it such as cat. Ask your child “is the /c/ ( c sound not letter name) at the beginning, the middle or the end of the word? Where is the /t/ sound? Where do you hear the /a/ sound? There is no need to show your child the visual of the word as we are developing oral skills in these types of activities!