Heart Words: What Elementary Teachers Need to Know in 2023

Around 80% of high frequency words are decodable. But what about the other 20%? Do you find trick words challenging to teach? Using Heart Words can help struggling students map out irregular words and identify patterns. Read on to learn more about Heart Words as they relate to the Science of Reading!

What are Heart Words in Reading?

Heart Words are irregular, high-frequency words that appear often in print. Students focus on a Heart Word and identify all the word’s sounds. After writing down the word, students then need to figure out which parts follow the rules, and which they have to know by heart

Why Teach Heart Words

Rather than teaching students through flashcards and memorization, the Heart Word approach helps students to orthographically map. This process allows words to transition into long-term memory! 

Heart Words List

Below is a list of heart word examples.

  • They
  • Said
  • Where
  • Of
  • Was 
  • Have
  • From
  • Who
  • Look
  • What

5 Ideas for How to Teach Heart Words

Below is a list of ideas for how to teach a heart word to elementary students using a variety of learning tools and practices. 

1. Instructional Videos

Heart Word Magic provides free, educational videos that explain each Heart Word! Simply go to the website, click on the focus word, and enjoy. 

2. Use a Highlighter

Have students highlight the heart part of a given Heart Word to practice identifying and mapping the letters. Worksheet templates are also provided on the Heart Word Magic website.

3. Map it Up

Provide students with a template where they can map the letters of a given Heart Word and identify the heart parts above the letters. This will help to strengthen their long term memory with these words!

4. Silicone Letter Pops

Provide students with silicone pops and write the letters of the alphabet on each pop. Then, have students say and pop each letter of the given Heart Word.

5. Kinesthetic Movement

First, have students tap their arms and say each letter of the Heart Word, blending it together at the end. For Sky Writing, have students write the letters in the air. These are great strategies that involve kinesthetic movement for students!

In closing, we hope you found this information about heart words helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these other posts:

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