How to learn high frequency words

So you’re raring to learn high frequency words. But how do you go about it? Below we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to making learning them a breeze!  

Key Stage 1

Start small and build up

When introducing new high frequency words (HFW) to your child, give them a few new words at a time – maybe 3-5 to start with. You could even mix them in with familiar words.

Use flashcards

It’s really useful to print out HFW onto flashcards, which you can use in lots of creative ways!

  1. Do quickfire practice by showing your child a card and asking them what the word is.
  2. Put the cards face down and ask your child to pick a card and read the word out loud. Challenge them to write a silly sentence which uses that word in context!
  3. Play Snap or Pairs using them, shouting the correct word as they match them.
  4. Lay out the cards face-up. Say one of the high frequency words and ask your child to use a fly swat (or spatula) to slap the word as quickly as they can!

Put them all around your house!

A great way to learning HFW is to make sure your child sees them regularly. You could start by sticking them on the fridge or the door so they are visible.

Fill in the gaps

Write a HFW on a whiteboard. Ask your child to close their eyes; replace one letter with a dash and ask your child to tell you which letter is missing.

Play games

Feeling creative? Why not use HFW to create bingo sheets, dominoes or magnet fishing? You could even play a game of Twister and add the words to the mat.

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Key Stage 2

As spelling becomes more important in Key Stage 2, it can be quite handy to have some fun activities up your sleeve to make learning their words engaging and memorable. As with the first 100 high frequency words, you’ll want to introduce these words to your child first before playing games to consolidate their learning.

Spelling in shaving cream!

A great way to practise spellings is to make it very tactile. Squirt some shaving cream on a table and then get your child to write the words in the shaving foam with their finger. For less mess, you could pour some salt or sand into a shallow tray and do the same.


If the weather is good enough, grab some chalk and get outside. Write the letters of the alphabet in a jumble on the floor (make sure they all face the same way!) and then say a word. Your child has to hop or jump from one letter to the next to spell it out.

high frequency words

Play some games

Scrabble and Bananagrams are not only fun games, they can also be used to practise spellings. Pick out the letter tiles for one of your child’s words and say the word, and then ask your child to spell the word. If your child is quite competitive, add an extra element by timing them and keeping a leaderboard to see how they improve over time! Get arty If your child is quite artistic, you could ask them to turn each word into a work of art. Why not try writing the word in colourful bubble writing, or write the ‘easy’ letters that they can remember in one colour and the more tricky ones that they forget in a different colour?

Use creative writing

  1. Create an acrostic for the spelling words: can your child make it rhyme or make it make sense?
  2. Why not put the spelling words into sentences? If your child is up for a challenge, try writing a story which uses all of their words!

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