REPEATED READING OF HIGH-FREQUENCY WORDS AND PHRASES Timothy Rasinksi. The Fluent Reader, 2003 Recent studies on reading indicate that a limited amount of word reading practice, whether in the form of flash cards (Nicholson, 1998; Tan and Nicholson, 1997), word banks (Bear, et al., 1996), or words walls (Cunningham, 1995) can have a beneficial effect on students’ word recognition skills. Such practice activities require students to read orally isolated words to the point where they recognize those words quickly and accurately. Often high-utility or high frequency words are chosen for such activities because students need to be able to recognize them quickly. One potential drawback to reading words in isolation is that it may reinforce the notion that read is simply about identifying individual words. This could lead to word-by-word reading in some children, which is potentially a problem because the word is not necessarily the carrier of essential meaning. In fact, some scholars argue that the phrase is the key component in gaining meaning through written test (Schreiber, 1980, 1987, 1991). And a considerable amount of research has demonstrated that helping students learn to read in phrases will improve their reading fluency and overall reading achievement (Rasinski, 1990; 1994). There is value nevertheless in learning high-frequency words. It’s just that practicing them in isolation too much could have negative effects. Rasinski recommends that students learn approximately 100 high-frequency words each year, so the 300 words in Fry’s list should be mastered by the end of third grade. Repeated reading of a few phrases per week not only gives students the practice they need to learn high-frequency words, but also gives them practice in reading phrases, which is key to developing fluency and general proficiency. Teaching the phrases is easy. Simply list 5 to 10 phrases on chalkboard or chart and practice reading them chorally with your students several times a day – it only takes second. Read them once or twice at the beginning and end of each day, and right before lunch.