What are Popcorn Words???
Popcorn words are words that "POP UP!" frequently in reading and writing. It is critical that readers and writers develop automatic recognition of popcorn words, a skill that leads to fluency. Eventually, students will need to be able to read about 300 popcorn words "instantly" without hesitation, because these words make up 65% of all written material. Comprehension begins to break down when students are focused on trying to decode or sound out words.
Many popcorn words are called "Sight Words". Sight words do not follow regular phonetic rules. They do not follow easy spelling patterns (example: cave, save, wave, gave, have). As a result, these words are more difficult for students to master. Asking a child to "sound it out" is pointless with this type of word and generally causes increased frustration for beginning and struggling readers. Young readers need to recognize these words as "sight words". In order for students to retain a difficult word, they need many opportunities to experience and manipulate it.