While there are over 600,000 words in the English language, less than 20 different words make up 25 percent of the words we read, and there are only about 100 words that make up 50 percent of the words we read. These words are called high-frequency words.
There are several reasons why students should be explicitly taught high-frequency words in the keyboarding classroom. Elementary teachers who work with young readers will agree that many of these words, such as the, is, to and are, do not follow commonly taught phonics rules and must be taught as sight words. A second reason is that knowing the most frequently used words by sight will make a student a faster and more fluent reader and typist.
Purpose: Students will practice typing high-frequency words while using correct technique and finger reaches at the keyboard. This is a great exercise to use as a warm-up or for students to work on when they finish assignments early. It is recommended that this lesson be used after students know all the keys.
- The teacher provides each student with a Most Frequently Used Words List.
- In a blank Google Doc or Word document, students will repeatedly type the first word on the list all the way across the row to develop muscle memory.
- On the next line, type the second word on the list all the way across the row.
- For example–type an entire line or two of the word “the”, then do the same for “of”, “to”, “and”, etc.
- Repeat for each word on the list, allowing 5-10 minutes for the student to complete as many words as they are able.
The student should save the file and over multiple class days continue to work through each word until all words have been completed.
Activity Variation (for younger students):
- Teacher dictates (spells) one of the words from the list.
- Students locate correct finger reaches.
- Teacher spells the word as students type it.
- Students practice the word several times.
- Continue with the remaining words.
Most Frequently Used Words Lists. Here are some downloadable lists to get you started:
|First 100||Sixth 100|
|Second 100||Seventh 100|
|Third 100||Eighth 100|
|Fourth 100||Ninth 100|
|Fifth 100||Tenth 100|
For an added challenge in each of these typing activities, use the KeyMaster Learning Lights keyboard to blank out learner’s keyboards to promote touch type mastery.
Download this Lesson Plan as a PDF Here: Frequently Used Word Lists