Heart words are the most common words in print. The Fry Words are commonly used high-frequency word lists. In education, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on getting students to recognize high-frequency words automatically and for good reason. In her book Uncovering the Logic of English, Denise Eide (2012) reports that “…according to some counts, the 100 most frequently used words make up 50% of all that we read and write.” According to Really Great Reading, we like to call these words Heart Words because we want students to know them “by heart.” There are parts of the word that follow the rules and parts that do not follow the rules. For example, in the heart word the, the /th/ makes the correct sound but the /e/ does not so the student needs to memorize it by heart.
In First Grade, our “oddball” spelling words will be called HEART WORDS. Students will have a set of these cards to review (read and spell).