Words First
Words First is a stand-alone programme specifically designed to teach children to read and write high frequency words.


The first story book is based on just 12 of the high frequency words. No other words are used.

Reading Context
The aim is to teach the High Frequency Words both individually and within a reading context, so that the children realise from the very beginning that words join together to convey meaning.

Structured Approach
Words First takes a carefully structured approach to learning to read and write, by linking word recognition and comprehension skills in a series of graded steps.

Words First - Series 1
The scheme takes as its starting point the first 45 high frequency words identified by the National Literacy Strategy, which are directed at Reception Year Children.

In order for the words to be presented in a reading and learning context just three further words are used - ‘do’, ‘not’ and ‘write’. These words come from later lists in the NLS document. This means that the learning objective is to teach 48 words. No other words are used.

Learning Progression
The 48 words are divided into four groups of twelve. After each group of twelve has been learned securely, the children are rewarded by reading for themselves a simple story which contains only the words they have been taught. So story one is based on just 12 different words, story two on 24 words and so on. There are five stories in all - the last story revises all 48 words.

Four words at a time
Each group of twelve words is further divided into three sub-groups of four - so the children will learn up to four words at a time. Most of the words are also linked to a picture. The twelve words used for story one are divided as follows:
    can    I    see    write
    me    not    this    you   
    and    do    get    is

Whenever possible, words with similar letter sequences are divided into separate sets or sub-sets.


Series 1 includes five story books

The Story Books
The story books feature a young boy, his home, his pets and his relationship with others. The full-colour illustrations are clear, simple and child-friendly. The children’s story books for individual reading are in A5 portrait format.

Comprehension Sheets
Very simple comprehension sheets are provided from the first story onwards to ensure that reading for meaning is emphasised at the earliest opportunity.

Type Style
Both the learning materials and the story books are presented in the Sassoon Primary Infant font.

Series 2A
Series 2A introduces another 100 words, approximately half of the words on the Y1/Y2 word list in the National Literacy Strategy.  The words chosen for Series 2A have been subdivided into five groups of 20 words. For teaching purposes each list is further divided into two groups of ten. Each of the five story books for Series 2A is in full colour and has 32 pages.

Series 2B
Series 2B covers another 80 words, including all the remaining words from the list for Years 1 to 2. The story books (books 11 to 15) again have 32 pages.