Most Commonly Used Words in English

An analysis by Oxford English Corpus/Oxford English Dictionary determined the most commonly used words in the English language and listed these words, ranking them by frequency of use. Apparently the first 25 words listed make up about 33% of all printed material in English, the first 100 make up about 50%, and the first 300 make up about 65%.

I have made 2x3-inch flashcards of the first 100 most commonly used words, which will be kept in the "flashcards" drawer in the tutoring room. You can also easily find the list online: The First 100 Most Commonly Used English Words. This site also includes links to lists of the Second through Tenth 100 most used words.

There are a variety of activities that can stem from the list of the first 100:

- Have the student read the words. Since many of the first 100 words are sight words--words that readers should know by sight--use the flashcards to see if the student does recognize words like 'the' and 'you'.

- Dictate words for the student to spell, either orally or by writing.

- Dictate a word for the student to correctly use in a sentence, either orally or by writing.

- Have the student identify or count how many times the word appears on a page of a textbook or a paragraph from the newspaper.


Break the list into smaller chunks so your student isn't overwhelmed. Maybe a few words at a time for a level 1 ESL student, 10 words for an intermediate student. For higher-level ESL students and ABE students, it may be more appropriate to go with, for example, the Ninth 100 most used words and practice more challenging words like "particular" or "necessary".


new copier

The Basic Studies division received its shiny, new copy machine this past Friday. Jessie and I have yet to be trained on how to use it, but hopefully we'll be able to pass on our copier skills to you soon. Feel free to try it out on your own though. For those of you who need to make copies in the next few days, there is no copy code right now. We will let you know via email the new copy code.


tutoring computer moved

Because of feedback we have received, we have moved the tutoring computer to, hopefully, make it more accessible. The blue cabinet containing the computer has been moved along the east wall of 3122 so that it is sharing the space with the Prayer Area. (Second cabinet from the left.)

In its original place, tutors have commented that the computer is inaccessible while there are others sitting at the nearby table. Though most tutors were aware of the computer's location and would gladly move if asked, we hope that this move to the Prayer Area corner will allow more tutors/students access the computer.

Whenever you are interested in using the computer, feel free to pull up chairs to the cabinet. Please put chairs back when you are done to respect students who may use the space for prayer.


self-editing checklist; upcoming Literacy NOW trainings

In my Memoir Writing Workshop, I encourage students to edit and revise their own writing as well as their peers'. Though this is not a popular method for those students who want perfect, perfect grammar, there is value in developing a habit of reviewing a piece of writing before turning it in and developing independence for when there isn't a teacher or tutor around to correct a paper.

When teaching students to self-edit, it's best to start small--usually with writing mechanics. Does every sentence start with a capital letter? Does every sentence have end punctuation? Are paragraphs indented? Hopelink/Eastside Literacy has a basic self-editing checklist that students can use as a guide.

Once they have that down, the checklist can become more challenging and based on what is being taught in class. Is there subject/verb agreement in each sentence? Is there a topic sentence in each paragraph?

Literacy NOW has a great training called "Teaching Writing to English Language Learners." The next time it this workshop is offered, I'll make sure to pass that info along.

However, in the next two months, Literacy NOW will be offering the following workshops:

May 1 -- Keep Talking (for Talk Time volunteers or those who have conversation partners)
May 15 -- Teaching Multi-level ESL
May 15 & 22 -- ESL Pre-service (basic training for new tutors)
June 5 -- Citizenship
June 25 & 26 -- ESL Pre-service

Workshops are usually held on Seattle Central's campus. If you are interested in any of these workshops, email Jessie and she will sign you up.


Emergency Preparedness

April is Emergency Preparedness Month, and even though the scheduled earthquake drill didn't happen last week, emergency preparedness could be a valuable discussion to have with your students.

Faculty Chris Conley provides some great resources on earthquake and general emergency preparedness on his website. See below for links he recommends.

Fliers in 5 languages plus video on [the earthquake drill]:
Handouts and videos in 15 languages:
Lessons and resources on earthquakes: