Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Words surround us. Many words, classified as high frequency words, make up a large percentage of the text we encounter on a daily basis. Educators understand the importance of recognition, memorization, and comprehension of these high frequency words as it contributes to improved reading ability in beginning readers. Teaching high frequency words supports student knowledge of language structure, speech patterns, and the language of the books we read. This thesis project asks the question - can kindergarten students master, identify, and read high frequency words in a text? The study explored the effectiveness of teaching kindergarten students sight word vocabulary in support of a phonics based reading program. There were two objectives to the study - to increase recognition of high frequency words and to determine whether the expectation of ten words per month was a reasonable goal.

The four week research project was conducted with children from two kindergarten classes from an urban school district. The total sample for the study was 24 students comprised of two groups of randomly selected students; 12 students in the experimental group, and 12 in a control group. Pre and post testing was used for assessment. Study conclusions support explicitly teaching kindergarten students high frequency words as part of a balanced literacy program as students in the experimental group were successful in reading the high frequency words in isolation, by means of flash cards, and were able to identify them in the context of a sentence.


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