Tricky Words

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.

Monster Phonics

Monster Phonics makes teaching these words easier. See how colour-coding for sound facilitates learning tricky words. Download free Monster Phonics flashcards and PowerPoints. We also recommend that the first 100 words and next 200 high-frequency words are taught to ensure that all children are able to read and spell these words which make up 65% of all printed words. High-frequency word flashcards, PowerPoints, word charts and assessment are available to download as part of the Monster Phonics programme.

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High-Frequency Words to be taught at each Letters & Sounds Phase

Each Phase of Letters and Sounds teaches both tricky words that are not phonetic and decodable words can be sounded out.

Monster Phonics makes learning both tricky and decodable words much easier. 

Try our Tricky Word Mats for each of the Letters and Sounds Phases.

Decodable words are also easier to learn and more engaging with Monster Phonics. Try our Letters and Sounds Decodable Word Mats.

Decodable Phase 2 Words

a an at if in it off on can dad had him back and get big got up not mum but put as is his of

Monster Phonics Decodable Word Phase 2

Decodable Phase 3 Words

will for that this then them with look see too now down

Monster Phonics Decodable Word Phase 3

Decodable Phase 4 Words

went it’s from children just from

Monster Phonics Decodable Word Phase 4

Decodable Phase 5 Words

don’t old very I’m by time about house day made make came your here saw

Monster Phonics Decodable Word Phase 5

Browse the phased phonics teaching structure for schools.


What are tricky words?
Tricky words are those words which cannot be sounded out easily. Emergent readers may find them difficult to read as they have not yet learned some of the Graphemes in those words.
What are Common Exception Words?
Tricky words are called common exception words in the KS1 Spelling Curriculum.
What else are tricky words referred to as?
Tricky words are sometimes known as irregular words, Common Exception Words or sight words.