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A Science-based Model for Teaching High Frequency Words

High-frequency words are words that appear most often in print. They are the first words we want to anchor into a student’s memory because they appear so frequently in texts. The ability to automatically retrieve or “sight read” these words allows learners to read more fluently and with greater comprehension.

Eyewords is an Evidence-based, Multisensory-Orthographic Sight Words method that combines Multisensory Learning, Social-Emotional Learning and the Science of Reading. When implemented together, Eyewords materials and learning system lead to greatly improved reading outcomes for new learners, struggling readers, English Language learners and those with learning exceptionalities.


Improved Neural Synaptic Transmission

Cognitive neuroscience confirms that brain neurons that fire together, wire together. Therefore, when we learn while engaging multiple senses simultaneously, neurons in the brain fire at the same time and wire together to create neural networks. These neural networks naturally integrate information to form a clear mental picture, as well as allow the brain to store and retrieve information more efficiently than with unisensory learning.


Multisensory-Contextual Cues

Most high frequency words are abstract and hard to contextualize. They have little meaning on their own but contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence. Words that have a rather abstract meaning are hard to explain to a learner. It's much easier to develop meaning for words like "cat" and "house" because they can be related to real objects or pictures, but it is difficult to conjure up mental images for words like “the” and “said”.

By embedding visual-contextual images, providing related auditory phrases and corresponding kinesthetic actions, Eyewords has created context for abstract high frequency words. The engagement of multiple modalities make words meaningful for learners. In addition, when material is presented in a way that engages multiple senses, the information becomes richer and those learning it become more motivated to participate actively in the learning.





Orthographic Mapping

Orthographic mapping enables learners to connect something new with something they already know. By listening and speaking students have learned word pronunciation and through the multisensory-contextual component of Eyewords, they have learned meaning and context for abstract words. These elements are stored in a learner’s long term memory.

Students then use the oral language processing part of their brain to map (connect) the sounds of words they have already acquired language and meaning for. The sounds in a word (phonemes) are connected to the letter sequence of the word (the spelling). Learners then permanently store the connected sounds and letters of words (along with their known meaning) as instantly recognizable sight words.

If a learner knows the pronunciation and meaning for the word said and has good phonemic awareness skills, they can pull the word apart (segment) into its individual sounds (phonemes) /s/ /ai/ /d/. Those sounds become the anchoring points for the word’s printed sequence. The student can then push the sounds back together (blend) to form the whole word.


The Invaluable Role of Play

It is well understood that children learn naturally through active play. When children engage in play, their attention and learning retention is high. Each Set of Eyewords Multisensory Teaching Cards includes its own series of play-based reading games and activities designed to help consolidate sight word reading of the high frequency words quickly, efficiently and in a fun and engaging way. Learners activate all modalities through experiences of touching, moving, seeing and hearing. All activities are designed to support self-regulation, motivation, social engagement and mental systems such as attention, perception and memory.


Data Tracking

Data collection and analysis allow educators and parents to see how their learners are performing over time and to use that information to guide instruction and provide additional support through mentoring and coaching. Data allows students to see a real-time snapshot of their performance and progress and set personalized goals for themselves. It also allows school principals and district administrators to analyze achievement gaps between groups of students and implement targeted interventions to close them. Eyewords has created an easy, comprehensive and efficient way to assess and track data using the following:

  • Excel Assessment Trackers with automatic graphing of data for comparison between assessment points
  • Google Sheets Assessment Trackers with automatic graphing of data for comparison between assessment points
  • Educator PDF Trackers
  • Student PDF Trackers

Physical and Digital Resources

Eyewords has created both physical products and digital resources to support homeschool learning, in-school instruction and virtual learning. Check out our physical teaching cards, dictionaries and sight word blankets and our digital orthographic mapping resources, interactive lessons, printable worksheets, games and assessment tools. We have everything you need to propel learners toward strong reading fluency and comprehension.