How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (2023)

by Shirley Houston

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (1)

Using letter-sound correspondences is the most reliable strategy for spelling and reading words, however, there are times when a student will come upon ‘tricky words’ and cannot rely on this strategy. These words are tricky because they cannot be spelled or read phonetically using the letter-sound correspondences known by the student. Often, teachers try to teach tricky words using repeated visual exposure – whole word imaging or memorising – but research indicates that this is not the most effective approach. This blog will discuss the flaws of the ‘whole word’ approach to the learning of tricky words and suggest more appropriate teaching/learning strategies.

Tricky Words or Irregular Words?

A word may be temporarily tricky. The student who has been taught only single-letter short vowel representations and the most common single-letter consonant representations will struggle to read and write some of the words commonly seen in basic sentences, such as ‘I’, ‘the’, ‘my’ and ‘was’. They will appear to be irregular to the student until the child is taught more of the advanced code.

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (2)Tricky words – high frequency but tricky to decode when a child has less of the phonics code.

Once the student has learned those letter-sound correspondences, the word will no longer be tricky or seem irregular. High-quality explicit synthetic phonics readers often list the temporarily tricky words they contain on the inside cover. These words are explicitly taught before the child reads the book.

Some words are permanently tricky. These are the irregular words (sometimes called ‘rule breakers’ or ‘exception words’). They cannot be completely encoded or decoded phonetically, even by advanced learners. However, only about 4% of English words have a completely irregular spelling, such as ‘eye’. Many irregular words are decodable except for just one letter. E.g. ‘friend’.

What Exactly are Sight Words?

As I once heard someone say,

‘Sight word’ is a goal, not a quality of a word.”

A sight word is essentially any word a person recognises automatically, without effort. It is not a word that has to be learned by visual rote memory. Words become sight words because of the number of times we see or write them in context. All words, regular and irregular, become sight words for competent readers.

(Video) Blending Activities | Phonics

Fluent readers appear to be ‘reading by sight’, using a straight visual-lexical pathway. Consequently, for many decades, teachers have been expected to teach their students a ‘sight word’ list, the most well-known being the Dolch and the Fry lists. These are actually lists of high-frequency words, the words most frequently seen in written text, therefore most likely to become ‘sight words’ first. The first 100 words from Fry’s list make up 50% of the words children read. Typically, teachers have taught children to learn and recall these words as wholes rather than to decode or encode them phoneme by phoneme. Children have been asked to memorise the word shape or salient visual features and have been ‘drilled’ with flashcards.

Some high-frequency words contain only standard letter-sound correspondences so are totally decodable and should not be taught as sight words.

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (3)Fry’s word list – words in red are perfectly decodable even before consonant digraphs are taught and should not be taught as a ‘sight word’. The words ‘that’, ‘with’, ‘this’ and ‘when’ are perfectly decodable once digraphs are taught.

Others contain more advanced letter-sound correspondences and are tricky e.g. ‘was’ or ‘you’. Regular and irregular words on the sight word lists have been (and still are!) taught in exactly the same way – a nightmare for students with deficits in visual memory and/or rapid, automatic naming.

Flawed Practice

The practice of teaching words as whole words, be they regular or irregular, is flawed. Brain imaging studies undertaken since the 1990s have shown us that strong readers use the language and auditory centres of their brains as they read, decoding each sound so quickly that it appears instantaneous. They are not reading whole words – they are decoding the sounds in each word in milliseconds. According to Stanford research by Brian McCandliss, investigating how the brain responds to different types of reading instruction, beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading (in the left hemisphere). In contrast, whole word learning is biased toward processing in the right hemisphere, the side of the brain that processes pictures and is typical of struggling readers.

You need to teach about 44 sound-letter correspondences and the skills of blending and segmenting, for phonics to make it possible to read and write 95% of all words. How many sight words do you need to teach to make it possible to read and write 95% of all words? Learning one word as a whole word/shape does not help the student learn other words. Consequently, this practice is inefficient, time-consuming and frustrating for students. It encourages students to be ‘word guessers’ when a word is not automatically recognised. There are minor visual differences between some words e.g. ‘though’, ‘thought’ and ‘through’. Without using knowledge of sounds, it is difficult to memorise them and not mix them up. The fastest, most efficient and reliable way to learn sight words is with phonics.

Teachers should distinguish between words that can be completely decoded using letter-sound correspondences and those that cannot. Words that can easily be decoded and encoded phoneme by phoneme require less teaching time than the tricky, irregular words.

The irony of the teaching practice of presenting irregular words to be learned as unanalysed wholes is that exception words require more letter-sound and phonemic analysis than regular words, not less”.

(Video) Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) Tips and Tricks that aren't Tricky

David A.Kilpatrick, 2015, Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties

Naming and Identifying Tricky Words

I like to use the term ‘tricky’ rather than ‘irregular’ with young children when talking about words that cannot be fully sounded out, because, as I mentioned before, some are only temporarily tricky. The word ‘tricky’ is also more intriguing than ‘irregular’ because tricks are usually fascinating and something that a child would like to master. The Orton-Gillingham program refers to tricky words as ‘red words’. The red alerts the student to the fact that these words cannot be sounded out in full. The tricky bit is written in red and the rest of the word in green.

The tricky words chosen for teaching should be those most helpful for the immediate reading or writing of an otherwise decodable text. A school should move students through a sequence of tricky words that all teachers follow until the words are mastered. Phonics Hero teaches tricky words in Part 1 and Part 2 of the games and Phonics Lessons. The number of words taught each week should reflect the student’s capacity for recall.

Tricky words should not be taught as whole units. Active analysis of words helps to put them into long term memory.

Steps for Explicit, Systematic Teaching of Tricky Words

Step 1: Read the tricky word to the student(s), then read it together. Say the word again, phoneme by phoneme, representing each sound with a counter in sound boxes. E.g:

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (4)

Step 2: Identify the regular letter-sound-correspondences in the word. E.g:

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (5)

Step 3: Identify the ‘tricky’ bit. In the word ‘many’, the short /e/ is represented by an ‘a’. Have the student(s) read then write the tricky word, using colour to highlight the tricky bit (red or a colour more meaningful to the student).

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (6)

Step 4: If there is a reason for the unusual letter-sound correspondence that you are aware of, explain it. Explain the language origin, the etymology, the base word etc. E.g., ‘many’ is a short form of ‘manifold’ so is spelled like that word. English words don’t end in ‘i’ so the ‘i’ was changed to a ‘y’. The pronunciation of the ‘a’ was changed over the years.

(Video) I Will Show You Your Name In This Video..

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (7)

Step 5: If appropriate, teach the student to use his ‘spelling voice’ in saying the tricky word, e.g. ’man-y’ (this is actually how some Irish people pronounce the word, so I get students to say it with an Irish accent!).

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (8)

Step 6: Where needed, teach the student a mnemonic that will help him learn the tricky word. For example, there is a basket-shaped letter, ‘u’, in the middle of ‘buy’, which helps the student to remember that this homophone is associated with shopping.

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (9)

Our Phonics Lessons include the teaching of tricky words for both reading and spelling. They’ve got the sound buttons, pictures to develop vocabulary and over 250 sentences using the target – everything you need to systematically teach them.

Start a Trial of Phonics Lessons With a Teacher Account

Further Tips:

If there are other words with the same tricky pattern, teach these alongside the initial word, as a set. For example, if teaching ‘could’, teach ‘would’ and ‘should’. In the Dolch list, ‘could’ is assigned to Grade 1, ‘would’ to Grade 2. The word ‘should’ does not appear at all. This makes no sense. We want to help students to see letter patterns.

For some students, a tricky word is easier to remember if they draw a picture into it. E.g. the ‘o’ that isn’t heard in ‘leopard’ might be more easily remembered if there were lots of spots drawn on the named animal.

Developing Automaticity

Automaticity in encoding and decoding of tricky words is easiest to achieve when multi-sensory activities and opportunities to ‘overlearn’ are provided.

  • Phonics Hero (get access to free resources with a Teacher Account) provides both of these essentials in the games of steps 4 (reading tricky words), 5 (spelling tricky words) and 6 (reading tricky words in sentences). The tricky words in the Phonics Hero sentences are bolded to remind the student that it is not possible to decode the word sound by sound.
How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (10)An example from Phonics Hero: this game targets the /ck/ sound and highlights the tricky words.

  • Tracing, copying and writing of tricky words in various media will increase recall. Students may write them in the air with large movements, on the ground with a wet brush, in sand or shaving cream or in chalk on whiteboards. They may cut letters out of newspapers or magazines or use letter tiles, magnetic letters, stamps, play-dough, Wikki Stix or string letter beads. As the student writes or creates the letters in the correct order, they should simultaneously say the letter names. There’s lots more ideas in our easy tricky word activities post.
How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (11)Write words in flour or foam, play Hopscotch or magnetic writing.

  • Put tricky words on word strips and, each day, move them through a Mastery Folder or three containers labelled ‘words I’m learning’, ‘words I know’ and ‘word bank’, as the student correctly reads and/or spells them. Notice that I did not use the word ‘flashcard’ – speed should not take priority over accuracy!
  • Play ‘Mix and Fix’: have the student make the tricky word with magnetic letters or letter tiles, check it with a model, then mix the letters up and fix them up again. This should be repeated three times.
How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (12)Mix and fix those tricky words.

  • Play ‘Word Detective’: show the student(s) a tricky word written on a whiteboard and ask the student(s) to read and orally spell the word. Turn the board away and erase a letter. Show the student(s) and ask them to identify the missing letter. The missing letter should then be written in again.
How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (13)If children’s handwriting is still developing, use magnetic letters for ‘Word Detective’.

  • Put the tricky words taught onto a Sound Wall that draws attention to the structure of the word, e.g. ‘people’ might be put under ‘long e’.
  • Create meaningful opportunities for the student to read or write his tricky words in sentences.
  • Play memory games such as Snap, Concentration, Bingo or Go Fish with tricky words on cards. Hangman is a particularly effective game for letter sequence recall in tricky words. Double print our tricky word cards: Playing with Sounds words or Letters and Sounds words.
  • Use the Phonics Hero worksheets: for tricky word reading there is a word search and, for spelling, repeated practice. See a reading and spelling example. Educators can access the worksheets when they sign up for a Teacher Account and parents can log in (or sign up for an account) to purchase the worksheets.

When the student feels that he is developing automatic recall, encourage the student to self-assess by looking, saying, covering, visualising and writing the word, saying the letters. He can then check what he has written by comparing it with the original.

(Video) The Day the crayons quit - Books Alive! Read Aloud book for children

We Can do Better with Tricky Words

The teaching of tricky or irregular words should be much more effective, efficient and interesting than the ‘Drill and Kill’ practice of teaching each irregular word as a whole, on its own, out of context and with no reference to phonics. Tricky words are an opportunity (or challenge) to do word study, to teach about the many layers in our words: sounds (phonology), spelling (orthography), meaningful parts (morphology), function in a sentence (syntax) and meaning (semantics).

How to Teach Tricky Words so They Aren't Tricky! | Phonics Hero (14)

Author: Shirley Houston

With a Masters degree in Special Education, Shirley has been teaching children and training teachers in Australia for over 30 years. Working with children with learning difficulties, Shirley champions the importance of teaching phonics systematically and to mastery in mainstream classrooms.If you are interested in Shirley’s help as a literacy trainer for your school, drop the team an email on info@phonicshero.com

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FAQs

What is the best way to teach tricky words? ›

Books your child will learn how to read and spell tricky words regularly in lessons. So they become

Should children be taught why a word is tricky? ›

Tricky words are words that early readers will struggle with. This might be because they have unusual spellings, contain new sounds and graphemes or don't follow ordinary phonemic rules. Many tricky words are ones that we use often, so it's important to teach kids how to spell and pronounce them.

How do you explain tricky words in phonics? ›

A 'tricky' word is one that cannot be sounded out. They are words that are non-phonetic. If you sound them out and then try to blend the sounds, you will get a word that does not sound right. They are words that must be recognized by sight.

How do you teach sight words to struggling readers? ›

5 Tips for teaching sight words
  1. Look for them in books. Draw a child's attention to a word by looking for it in children's books. ...
  2. Hang them around the classroom. ...
  3. Help children use them. ...
  4. Re-visit them regularly. ...
  5. Introduce an online typing course.

When and how will you introduce tricky words? ›

The standard way to first introduce 'tricky words' is to show the children the word, and then try to sound it out. By doing this you demonstrate why it is 'tricky' because it will make a silly word. They often find this bit quite funny!

How many times do you need to see a word to learn it? ›

Basically, these studies suggest that the number of repetitions needed to learn a word is about 10-15 times, with lots of variation — among kids and words. For example, poor readers may require 12-25 reps to “learn” a word, while better readers may get away with only 8-12 (Lemoine, Levy, & Hutchison, 1993).

What is the difference between sight words and tricky words? ›

Tricky words - Tricky or phonically irregular words differ from sight words as children need longer to decode. They are words that cannot simply be sounded out in their head.

What is the most difficult word to spell? ›

Top 10 Hardest Words to Spell
  • Weird.
  • Intelligence.
  • Pronunciation.
  • Handkerchief.
  • logorrhea.
  • Chiaroscurist.
  • Pochemuchka.
  • Gobbledegook.
10 Mar 2016

What are tricky words with examples? ›

Tricky words are typically part of the phonic code. The word 'want' has the 'o' sound instead of 'a,' which is how it's spelled. This means that children find it difficult to read out the word, as the sounds don't accompany the letters. Other tricky words include: was, swan, they, my and are.

How many sounds make up a word? ›

Despite there being just 26 letters in the English language there are approximately 44 unique sounds, also known as phonemes. The 44 sounds help distinguish one word or meaning from another. Various letters and letter combinations known as graphemes are used to represent the sounds.

How do you remember how do you spell said? ›

Said - silly ants in dresses. Believe - never believe a lie. Special - the CIA has special agents. Laugh - laugh and you get happy.

Why is put a red word? ›

So many students struggle with memorizing these sight words because they cannot be sounded out using regular spelling rules. For example, the word “put” is a red word. If you try to sound this word out based on our spelling rules you would get, /p/ /u/ /t/ which would rhyme with the word “cut”.

What are the 4 steps for teaching sight words? ›

1) Develop visual memory from left to right 2) build the word 3) trace the word 4) write the word…

How do you teach dyslexic students sight words? ›

Research shows that kids with dyslexia learn best when they engage many senses. You can activate kids' sense of touch by having them trace letters on lists of sight words with their finger. Or cut the letters out of sandpaper and have them trace the scratchy surface while saying the letter names and then the word.

Why can't kids remember sight words? ›

If, after ample repetition, your child still can't remember basic sight words, it could indicate dyslexia, an auditory processing problem, or a visual perception disorder.

How many tricky words should junior infants know? ›

My aim for Junior infants is that they will be able to read tricky words 1-30 and comfortably recognise them in their reading. However, for senior infants, I would expect them to be able to read all 60 tricky words, and I would be also expecting them to be comfortable using tricky words in their writing.

How do you teach non phonetic words? ›

Teaching Kids Non-Phonetic Words in Homeschooling - YouTube

How long does it take to memorize 1 word? ›

Memorizing new words will definitely help you build up a strong vocabulary. So, the key takeaway of this article is that you will need about 30 to 50 seconds to memorize a word. But you need to give the words about 6 to 12 exposures over a period of time to covert the knowledge in your long-term memories.

How many new words can a person learn in a day? ›

The language director at one place I studied at told the instructors to teach no more than 25 new words a day (with the assumption being that teachers would go right up to that limit). (Firehose) 100+ words a day – There are language programs out there written by memory experts that claim 100 to 200 new words a day.

How many times should you repeat something to memorize it? ›

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

According to this technique, “you've got to actively recall the memory 30 times,” Cooke says. So when you meet someone new, you might want to repeat her name 30 times.

How many sight words should a 6 year old know? ›

Some literacy experts like Tim Shanahan believe that kindergarteners should master 20 sight words by the end of kindergarten. The Dolch word list has 40 words listed for Pre-K students and some school districts require that kindergarteners learn 100 sight words by the end of the school year.

Should you teach sight words? ›

Learning sight words can boost your child's reading skills and confidence. When you give your little one the resources they need to recognize sight words, they'll be on the path to mastering — and enjoying — their reading journey!

Is mother a sight word? ›

Most of these irregular words are also sight words or high frequency words – they are commonly found in printed material. All of the above words are included on Dolch's sight word list with the exception of the following: should, whose, people & mother. Dolch intentionally excluded nouns from his sight word list.

What is the #1 misspelled word? ›

Accommodate. “Accommodate” was the most commonly misspelled word on both Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com in 2021. Kelly believes this word tops both lists because it's so hard to remember that both the C and the M are doubled. With both consonants doubled like that, it almost looks wrong, but it's correct.

Is Gray spelled gray or GREY? ›

Grey and gray are two different spellings of the same word. Gray is more common in the U.S., while grey is more common in other English-speaking countries. In proper names—like Earl Grey tea and the unit Gray, among others—the spelling stays the same, and they need to be memorized.

What's the hardest English word? ›

Sesquipedalian. Originating from 17th century Latin and originally meaning 'a foot and a half long', this word literally stands for 'long-winded' words, such as Sesquipedalian. And one would think it would mean something really mysterious and fascinating. But no, just 'long.

What are the 10 tricky words? ›

10 tricky words in English & how to stop misspelling them
  • Necessary.
  • Stationary vs. Stationery.
  • Separate.
  • Affect vs. Effect.
  • Embarrassed.
  • Compliment vs. Complement.
  • Accommodation.
  • Rhythm.

What is the difference between a Decodable word and a tricky word? ›

Tricky words are not decodable using phonics alone as they have spellings that do not show grapheme-phoneme correspondence. They are called common exception words.

What are the hardest English words to pronounce? ›

Twelve Hard Words to Pronounce in English
  1. Anemone. This word is quite difficult to pronounce because of the prevalence of M & N sounds and the [uh-nee] ending that appears to be uttered like the numeral 'one', making the word anemone tricky to say. ...
  2. Mischievous. ...
  3. Colonel. ...
  4. Epitome. ...
  5. Remuneration. ...
  6. Draught. ...
  7. Quinoa. ...
  8. Onomatopoeia.
15 Apr 2022

Are there 42 or 44 sounds in English? ›

It is generally agreed that there are approximately 44 sounds in English, with some variation dependent on accent and articulation. The 44 English phonemes are represented by the 26 letters of the alphabet individually and in combination.

What sound does a make? ›

Pronouncing the umlaut Ä

The short Ä is pronounced like the “e” in the word “bet” in English. It is like saying “eh”. The long Ä on the other hand is simply taking the short one and keeping the sound, so making it longer. It is like saying the “ay” in “say”.

How do you pronounce the letter a? ›

How to Pronounce Letter A in English - YouTube

What are the 4 spelling strategies? ›

Good spellers use a variety of strategies for spelling. These strategies fall into four main categories—phonetic, rule-based, visual, and morphemic.

What is the fastest way to memorize spelling words? ›

You can use common mnemonics, or make up your own.
  1. Develop short phrases for complicated words. For example, "Necessary = 1 collar and 2 socks (to remember one 'c' and two 's's)."
  2. Try spelling mnemonics that use a phrase. For example, "Rhythm = Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move."
  3. Make up rhymes. ...
  4. Compose nonsense stories.

Is Dad a tricky word? ›

When we talk about 'tricky words' we do not include the high-frequency words such as 'dad', 'got' or 'him' as they don't have any tricky bits in them. We can't avoid 'tricky words' as they appear in the simplest of sentences that beginner readers will encounter when learning to read and write English.

Can T Fred a red? ›

Red words are common words, used regularly in speech, which have exceptions to the phonics rules! The phrase used during phonics lessons has historically been, “You can't Fred a red.” …Or can you? In the past, we have taught children that you can't sound out red words and that we just have to read them.

What word has red in it? ›

redistribution
  • redistribution.
  • predisposition.
  • predestination.
  • predestinarian.
  • uncredentialed.
  • oxidoreductase.
  • redintegration.
  • redintegrative.

How do you make sight words fun? ›

Write the sight words on an outside wall with chalk, then hand your child a spray bottle, call out a word and let your child spray the word with water! Super easy, and super fun! And there you have it! Enough sight word practice inspiration to keep your little one engaged with practising their sight words each day!

How do you reinforce sight words? ›

Strategies
  1. Start with a small number of sight words and focus on them for a week. ...
  2. Create two sets of cards with the words on them, and play matching games like Go Fish or simply mix up the cards and have the child pick out the matching cards to pair up.
  3. Point out sight words when you see them as you read together.
17 Sept 2020

What is the best teaching method for dyslexia? ›

The Orton–Gillingham Method

This popular method has long been used to teach children with dyslexia how to read. By focusing on the connection between letters and their sounds, children can assign more meaning to the language and develop better overall comprehension.

How do dyslexics learn best? ›

Listening to audio books as an alternative to reading. Typing on a computer or tablet instead of writing. Apps that can make learning fun by turning decoding into a game. Using a ruler to help kids read in a straight line, which can help keep them focused.

Are flashcards good for dyslexia? ›

The objective of using flashcards is to help students with dyslexia learn high-frequency words and become more fluent in reading.

What reading level should a 7 year old be at? ›

Level 7. Recommended reading age 6 - 7 years. Children can read complex sentences fairly fluently, taking note of punctuation. They use expression and do not rely on illustrations to help them.

What are the four types of dyslexia? ›

Dyslexia can be developmental (genetic) or acquired (resulting from a traumatic brain injury or disease), and there are several types of Dyslexia including phonological dyslexia, rapid naming dyslexia, double deficit dyslexia, surface dyslexia, and visual dyslexia.

How do you teach sight words to struggling students? ›

5 Tips for teaching sight words
  1. Look for them in books. Draw a child's attention to a word by looking for it in children's books. ...
  2. Hang them around the classroom. ...
  3. Help children use them. ...
  4. Re-visit them regularly. ...
  5. Introduce an online typing course.

What is the difference between sight words and tricky words? ›

Many sight words actually have parts of code in them, but they are “tricky.” Tricky words don't follow the entire code, but they have parts of codes in their structure. These words are “tricky words” to be decoded, not sight words to be memorized.

What are the examples of tricky words? ›

10 tricky words in English & how to stop misspelling them
  • Necessary.
  • Stationary vs. Stationery.
  • Separate.
  • Affect vs. Effect.
  • Embarrassed.
  • Compliment vs. Complement.
  • Accommodation.
  • Rhythm.

How do you teach non phonetic words? ›

Teaching Kids Non-Phonetic Words in Homeschooling - YouTube

What are the five basic skills in Jolly phonics? ›

The findings showed that the teacher had successfully implement the 5 skills in Jolly Phonics, namely (1) learning the letter sounds, (2) learning letter formation, (3) blending- for reading, (4) identifying sounds in words-for writing and (5) tricky words, through variety of enjoyable techniques involving children's ...

How many sight words should a 6 year old know? ›

Some literacy experts like Tim Shanahan believe that kindergarteners should master 20 sight words by the end of kindergarten. The Dolch word list has 40 words listed for Pre-K students and some school districts require that kindergarteners learn 100 sight words by the end of the school year.

Should you teach sight words? ›

Learning sight words can boost your child's reading skills and confidence. When you give your little one the resources they need to recognize sight words, they'll be on the path to mastering — and enjoying — their reading journey!

Is mother a sight word? ›

Most of these irregular words are also sight words or high frequency words – they are commonly found in printed material. All of the above words are included on Dolch's sight word list with the exception of the following: should, whose, people & mother. Dolch intentionally excluded nouns from his sight word list.

What is the most misspelled word in the world? ›

Globally, “coolly” is the most-misspelled word, more than any other word. “Coolly is the most misspelled word in eight North American countries. As we found to be the case around the world, people are blindsided by that second “l” and prefer to go with the incorrect “cooly.”

What is the most difficult English word? ›

7 most difficult English words that will let you forget what you wanted to say
  • Rural. ...
  • Sixth. ...
  • Sesquipedalian. ...
  • Phenomenon. ...
  • Onomatopoeia. ...
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. ...
  • Worcestershire.

Why is put a red word? ›

So many students struggle with memorizing these sight words because they cannot be sounded out using regular spelling rules. For example, the word “put” is a red word. If you try to sound this word out based on our spelling rules you would get, /p/ /u/ /t/ which would rhyme with the word “cut”.

What is the difference between phonetic and non-phonetic? ›

For English language learners, it is about being able to predict the pronunciation of a word based on its spelling. However, as you have probably already discovered, the pronunciation of lots of words in English don't match their spelling. Words whose pronunciation and spelling do not match are called non-phonetic.

How many sounds make up a word? ›

Despite there being just 26 letters in the English language there are approximately 44 unique sounds, also known as phonemes. The 44 sounds help distinguish one word or meaning from another. Various letters and letter combinations known as graphemes are used to represent the sounds.

What order should I teach phonics? ›

In first grade, phonics lessons start with the most common single-letter graphemes and digraphs (ch, sh, th, wh, and ck). Continue to practice words with short vowels and teach trigraphs (tch, dge). When students are proficient with earlier skills, teach consonant blends (such as tr, cl, and sp).

Which letter sounds should be taught first? ›

What sequence should be used to teach letter-sound correspondence?
  • Letters that occur frequently in simple words (e.g., a, m, t) are taught first.
  • Letters that look similar and have similar sounds (b and d) are separated in the instructional sequence to avoid confusion.
  • Short vowels are taught before long vowels.

What is the difference between phonics and Jolly Phonics? ›

In English, there are 26 letters and 42 letter sounds. Jolly Phonics teaches these 42 letter sounds to the children by using the interactive tools. In Jolly Phonics, Each Letter has a letter sound, fun action and song or rhyme associated with it. There may even be a story to go with each sound.

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