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Reading Tricky Words

Reading Tricky Words

Tricky words are common words with complicated spellings.

They are sometimes known as irregular words or common exception words. They are harder for children to sound out and read, as they often do not follow the phonics rules that children have learned e.g. was  the  you  my


Tricky words are taught as part of our phonics programme and feature in children's reading books. They are split into phases according to the stage of the phonics programme. In EYFS, we concentrate on phase 2 and phase 3 Tricky words. We begin to look at phase 4 Tricky words in the summer term. 


Initially, we show the children a tricky word and they try to sound it out. They quickly see that this does not work. We tell them what the word actually says and then look at the parts that are tricky and the sounds they actually make. We encourage the children to try to use the word in context in a sentence. 


A list of Tricky words linked to Phonics Phases can be found below; along with practical ideas for how to support your child read these words at home. There are also web links to the tricky word songs we use in school.