Science of Reading Heart Words in Decodable Short Stories (high frequency words)

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A Teachable Teacher
Grade Levels
K - 1st
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
99 pages/short stories
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A Teachable Teacher


Heart words is a strategy for teaching high frequency words (sight words) that aligns with the Science of Reading. These decodable short stories each focus on one heart word so your students can practice reading high frequency words in context.

★Please click the preview to see everything that is included!★

Finally, a resource that allows your students to practice one targeted high frequency word (heart word) in the context of reading!

Every page (99 pages/words included) utilizes the same consistent, research-based practice so that your students can focus on the word at hand, and not new directions/activities.

What do students do on each page?

  • Say the target high frequency word/heart word
  • Tap the number of sounds in the word
  • Write the number of sounds in the word
  • Map the number of sounds in the word and add a heart where necessary
    • please note that hearts are not added for you - they're meant to be added by students during instruction.

  • Find the targeted high frequency word/heart word in the story and circle it. Heart it if desired.
  • Read the short story three times - coloring a numbered heart each time they read.

How short are the short stories?

  • The stories range from 2-5 sentences in length. They are short and decodable to provide a quick - yet meaningful - win for your students.

How decodable are the short stories?

  • These short stories include only
    • 1 - the targeted word;
    • 2 - VC and CVC words, and
    • 3 - pre-reading high frequency words as necessary 
      • The 10 pre-reading high frequency words are as follows: a, and, for, I, is, of, the, to, was, you

What grade is it for?

  • While these are ideal for Kindergarten and first grade, they can be used with any student(s) who can decode VC and CVC words and need(s) to learn high frequency words.

What words are included?

I’ve combined multiple lists of high frequency words and found 99 of most common irregular/temporary heart words. The words are as follows:

  1. a
  2. again
  3. all
  4. always
  5. and
  6. any
  7. are
  8. as
  9. ball
  10. because
  11. been* (includes the word have)
  12. blue
  13. boo
  14. both
  15. buy
  16. call
  17. carry
  18. clue
  19. cold
  20. come
  21. could
  22. do
  23. does
  24. don’t
  25. done
  26. eight
  27. fall
  28. find
  29. for
  30. four
  31. from
  32. full
  33. give
  34. glue
  35. goes
  36. guy 
  37. has
  38. have
  39. here
  40. his
  41. hold
  42. i
  43. into
  44. is
  45. kind
  46. know
  47. laugh
  48. live 
  49. many
  50. mind
  51. moo
  52. of
  53. old
  54. once
  55. one
  56. only
  57. our
  58. please
  59. pretty
  60. pull
  61. push
  62. put
  63. said
  64. shall
  65. should
  66. small
  67. some
  68. talk
  69. the
  70. their
  71. there
  72. these
  73. they
  74. those
  75. to
  76. today
  77. together
  78. too
  79. true
  80. two
  81. use
  82. very
  83. walk
  84. want
  85. warm
  86. was
  87. wash
  88. watch
  89. were
  90. what
  91. where
  92. who
  93. word
  94. work
  95. world
  96. would
  97. write
  98. you
  99. yours

About “Temporary” Heart Words

  • Many high frequency words are phonetic, while some are truly irregular. 
  • Phonetic high frequency words can be known as a temporary heart word if students have not learned the skill. (For example, he and me are phonetic, but would be temporary heart words if students have not learned long vowel sounds/open syllables.)
  • This resource does include temporary heart words/flash words.

There is 1 PDF file included in the download:

  1. Heart Words in Decodable Short Stories - printable PDF for 99 high frequency words

How are the words arranged in the PDF?

  • Words are arranged in alphabetical order.

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Total Pages
99 pages/short stories
Answer Key
Not Included
Teaching Duration
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