What are Tricky Words?
Tricky words are words in the English language that cannot be easily sounded out or decoded using phonics rules. These are words that do not follow the typical spelling patterns or rules that children learn when they are first learning to read.
Tricky words are also known as sight words, as they are often memorised by sight rather than through sounding out the individual letters. Examples of tricky words include “the,” “was,” “said,” “one,” and “who.”
Because they cannot be easily sounded out, children often struggle with reading tricky words and may need extra practice and support to master them. However, because these words are so common in the English language, it is important for children to learn and recognise them in order to become confident and fluent readers.
How to help your child read Tricky Words
Here are some strategies to help children learn tricky words:
Repetition: Encourage your child to practise reading and writing tricky words regularly. The more they see and use the words, the easier they will become to recognise.
Visual aids: Use flashcards or other visual aids to help your child learn the tricky words. You can write the word on one side of the card and a picture that represents the word on the other side.
Word games: Play word games with your child that incorporate tricky words. For example, you can play “I Spy” using tricky words, or make a word search puzzle that includes the words.
Context clues: Help your child learn tricky words by using context clues. Encourage them to look at the words around the tricky word to help them figure out what it might mean.
Reading aloud: Read books aloud to your child that include tricky words. This can help them become familiar with the words and understand how they are used in context.
Practise spelling: This doesn’t have to be a formal writing activity. You can make the words using playdough, paint, sand, foam letters in the bath or even outside using natural materials.
Remember that learning tricky words takes time and practise. Be patient and provide your child with plenty of opportunities to practise and reinforce their learning.
Top 10 Tricky Word Resources
The Learning Resources Reading Rods Building Sight Words set is a comprehensive learning tool designed to help children develop their reading and word-building skills. The set includes a variety of materials, including Reading Rods, Learn to Read books, Word Building Activities, Letter Blocks, Sight Words flashcards, CVC Words Spelling Toys, and other reading tools for kids.
The PlayShifu Educational Word Game – Plugo Letters is a STEM toy designed to help children aged 4-8 develop their phonics, spelling, and grammar skills in a fun and interactive way. The game comes in a kit that includes 48 alphabet tiles and a mobile app that offers nine different learning games.
The Plugo Letters game uses augmented reality technology to create an immersive learning experience for children. The alphabet tiles are placed on a magnetic playboard, and the mobile app detects their position and responds with different challenges and activities.
The Learning Resources Sight Word Bingo is an educational game designed to help children learn and recognise sight words. The game includes 36 double-sided game cards, 720 tokens, and a caller’s mat and cards.
Sight words are commonly used words that young readers need to recognise quickly and accurately, as they often cannot be sounded out phonetically. The Sight Word Bingo game provides a fun and engaging way for children to practise and reinforce their sight word recognition skills.
The Coogam Sight Words Swat Game is an educational toy game that is designed to help young children develop their literacy skills through interactive and fun gameplay. The game includes 400 Fry sight words which are essential for children who are learning to read and write.
The set comes with 4 fly swatters, which are used to “swat” the correct sight word that is shown on a flash card. The game can be played by one child or multiple children, making it an excellent tool for both homeschooling and classroom settings.
The Learning Resources Lowercase Alphabet Stamps is an educational tool designed for children to learn and practise the alphabet. The set includes 26 lowercase letter stamps, each featuring a clear and easy-to-read letter.
The stamps can be used in a variety of ways, such as for letter recognition, tricky words spelling, and creating new words.
The Common Exception Words Flash Cards set is a fantastic learning resource designed to help children in Reception, Year 1, and Year 2 develop their vocabulary and spelling skills. The set includes 109 cards, each with a colourful illustration and a commonly used word that is an exception to the standard spelling rules.
These flashcards are perfect for home learning, allowing children to practise their reading and spelling skills independently.
Playdough Letter Stamps
The Suwimut 62 Pieces Alphabet Letter Cutters includes 26 uppercase letters, 26 lowercase letters, and 10 numbers, all made of high-quality food-grade plastic.
The cutters can be used to create letters, tricky word and decodable words. The set also includes plunger tools for easy release of the cut shapes.
The National Literacy Strategy Magnetic Words for Years 1&2 triple pack (packs 1, 2 & 3) Key Stage 1 is an educational resource designed to support literacy development in children in Years 1 and 2 (ages 5-7) in the United Kingdom. The pack consists of three separate sets of magnetic words, each containing a range of high-frequency words commonly used in reading and writing.
The Learning Sight Words: Wipe Clean Spirals (Wipe Clean Learning) UK Edition is an educational resource designed to help children learn and practise sight words.
The resource consists of a spiral-bound book with wipe-clean pages, as well as a pen that can be used to write on and wipe off the pages. The book contains a range of sight words that children in the UK are expected to learn, and provides opportunities for children to trace and write the words, as well as to practise using them in sentences.
The New Tricky Words Phonics Flashcards for Ages 4-5 (Reception) is a set of educational flashcards designed to help young children develop their phonics skills.
The set includes a total of 55 cards, each featuring a tricky word commonly used in the English language. The flashcards are specifically designed for children aged 4-5 who are in their Reception year at school, making them an ideal tool for parents and teachers to use in helping children develop their early literacy skills.