The English language is tricky. If you’ve reached secondary school with poor spelling, you are way behind on your student colleagues. You need to make the effort to memorise and practice your spellings, as best you can.

The National Curriculum

The National Curriculum provides a list of 200 words which students of years 3-4 and 5-6 (primary school) should know the spellings of. I provide those here for you to learn as a means of helping you decode, read and write.

Methods of familiarity

The following list identifies a means of familiarising yourself with or memorising words:

  1. Break the word down into its syllables / recognisable parts
  2. Pronounce the syllables / parts alone
  3. Pronounce the word as a whole, identifying the syllables or parts
  4. Pronounce the word, placing emphasis on the right syllable
  5. Write the word down
  6. Write the word in an appropriate sentence
  7. Write the word out several times using Look, Write, Cover, Check

Table layouts

The spelling tables are laid out as follows:

Word Syllables Word class
The word to be spelt The word separated into syllables for easy pronunciation The word class(es) for the word’s single or different meanings
experiment ‘ex | per | i | ment Noun (The experiment went well)
Verb (I will experiment with the formula)


  • Pronunciations (how you say the word)are split into syllables (sounds) and marked with |
  • The stressed syllable (the sound you emphasise) is marked with

Pre- and Suffix

  • A base word or root is the original part of the word (which holds the meaning):
    run (run)
  • A pre- or suffix is the part you add on the beginning or end of the root to change inflection (ie. tense, case, voice, aspect, person, number, gender, and mood):
    running (ru | nning)

Pronunciation and Syllables

1417523837_698__vokaler-mun-engSyllables are defined by the position of the tongue in the mouth when it creates a vowel sound. The tongue cannot be in more than one place at a time. When a new vowel is pronounced, the tongue shifts position and a slight pause is created.

Every word we pronounce carries emphasis in one of its vowels. This is known as stressing. A stressed syllable helps our listeners understand word meaning and intention. For example, some words have the same spellings but can have different pronunciations. These are known as homonyms, such as the word ‘object’. The placement of the emphasis helps to identify noun from verb:

  1. Object – ‘ob | ject – Noun (a physical thing that can be seen and touched)
  2. Object – ob ‘ject – Verb (a spoken disagreement)

Look, write, cover, check.

Read the word in column 1. Cover the word, say it aloud, write it out in column 2.  Check the spelling.  Repeat with columns 3 and 4.

Word First attempt Second attempt Third attempt