Spelling lists

Please note that these lists reflect general Australian pronunciations. Click on one of these boxes to see words sorted…






Note that words can sometimes be segmented more than one way

  • e.g. buy = bu + y (with bu as in build, buoy) or b + uy (with uy as in guy)
  • waste = w + a + s + te (as in route, torte) or w + a…e + s + t (as in same, take).

My aim has been to have as few categories as possible. If you find something in this system that’s not as compact as it might be, please let me know.

8 thoughts on “Spelling lists

    1. alison Post author

      Hi Patricia, I think the main things to do are be aware of what spellings they know and don’t know, and then systematically work on a sound or spelling pattern at a time, working from short to long words, getting them to say every sound as they write the relevant letter/spelling, so that they have simultaneous sensory feedback from ears and mouth about the sound, and eyes and hand about the letters. They need to learn to habitually stretch out spoken words and listen to their own mouths as they say words, and segment them into sounds, and learn the various ways each sound can be spelt, including the funny/tricky spellings. I use a lot of sorting and lists, because once you have a good list of words with a shared spelling pattern you can eyeball it and see what kinds of words use that pattern, and where in the word it is used/what other spellings it goes with. Then with long words they need to develop a posh “spelling voice” which pronounces words as they are spelt, with stress on every syllable and for irregularly-spelt words, funny pronunciation e.g. “bus-i-ness” ie saying these words the way they are spelt. Hope that’s useful, Alison

  1. Claire Duffy

    I have just found your site and it’s wonderful. I want to figure out an approach for a year 7 class. They come from varied backgrounds, and are not bad but not confident, I need something that is methodical and going to work ‘en bloc’. I realise it’s not ideal but there you are. Which of your three approaches to lists do you recommend ?

    1. alison Post author

      Thanks for the nice feedback. My site needs a lot of work but I haven’t got a lot of time to do it! Hopefully I’ll get the main things done in the next school holidays. The first two of the three lists are intended for parents/teachers, to let them look up a sound and find all its spellings, or look up a spelling and find all its sounds. If you are looking for lists of lists to use as spelling lists or as the basis of spelling activities like wordsearches, worksheets or crosswords, try the third set of lists, as they are arranged in order from short to long words and from simpler to more complex spellings (though what is more complex than what is a bit arguable). They aren’t a spelling program though, involving a variety of activities. But I guess if you have the target words you can always find/make activities.

  2. chris.guy432

    Hi Alison – A teacher was asking about the word negotiate? Is the letter t representing the /sh/ sound. We know many words have ti for /sh/ but in this word we hear the letter i representing /ee/. Wondering if you can shed any light?


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