Part 5: Tricky words

Irregular words

Irregular words are known by the children as ‘tricky words’, because they are inclined to trick you! However some part of a tricky word will be regular. For example, with the word ‘come’, the ‘c’ and ‘m’ are regular.

Children are more able to read and write irregular words when they have knowledge of letter sounds and can relate the sounds to symbols. The children look carefully at the words. They find it amusing to look for the irregular part. It is the start to analysing words. The extra attention to the details helps to put it in their memory.

A list of sixty irregular, or just difficult to spell, words are given in Photocopy Section 13, Tricky Words Sheets. It is best to learn these ‘irregular keywords’ first because they are the ones most frequently used.

The irregular keywords start being introduced after the fourth group of letters have been taught. For reading, a good pace of teaching is three new irregular words a week. The children look at them carefully and identify the irregular part. With the word ‘of’ for example, the ‘o’ is regular but the ‘f’ is sounded like a ‘v’.