Learning the Nifty Thrifty Fifty* Is Easy As Pie!

Older students need to learn to decode larger (polysyllabic) words. Since English is very complex, students need to learn a core vocabulary that will help them figure out what unfamiliar words in text mean. Our Nifty Thrifty Fifty store of words contain common roots, prefixes and suffixes. To help students learn a system for decoding and spelling big words, they will learn to read, spell and understand common spelling patterns of the following 50 words. Once students know the spelling patterns of these words, they can apply that knowledge to help them to spell and build meaning for many other words.

Patricia Cunningham, author and respected educational lecturer, writes that for each Nifty Thrifty Fifty word a reader knows, she or he can read at least 7 more words. That means that by mastering the Nifty Thrifty Fifty words listed, students can use at least 350 additional words when reading and writing.

Each month, we will focus on 8-10 Nifty Thrifty Fifty words. These will be posted in the classroom and used in our writing. We will look for examples in our reading. Students are encouraged to send in examples they find on their own to post on our bulletin board.

For your information, the entire list follows. Check our class newsletter to see which words we are studying each month.

antifreeze
beautiful
classify
communities
community

composer

continuous
conversation

deodorize

different
discovery
dishonest
electricity
employee
encouragement
expensive
forecast

forgotten

governor
happiness
hopeless
illegal
impossible
impression
independence
international
invasion
irresponsible
midnight
misunderstand
musician
nonliving
overpower
performance
prehistoric
prettier
rearrange
replacement
richest
semifinal
signature
submarine
supermarkets
swimming
transportation
underweight
unfinished
unfriendly
unpleasant
valuable

*Adapted from Month-by-Month PHONICS for Upper Grades, 1998, Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy Hall. Carson-Dellosa.

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