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
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.