This week I learned from Susan Godsland www.dyslexics.org.uk that the new term for ‘tricky words’ in the new National Curriculum is ‘common exception’ words. This term that is rather confusing. Firstly, why exception? Exception from what? Secondly, as Susan pointed out – it is not the word that is tricky/complex/ irregular/exceptional. It is the part of the word – the spelling or grapheme -which is difficult to decode at the early stages of reading. Teachers will need to support the reader only with the parts of the word they cannot sound out. If these words are an exception – does that mean they will be treated differently from words the children are expected to decode? It is important that these words are not taught as ‘whole words’ or ‘sight words’ without reference to the Phonic Code. Will this new term help or confuse?
p.s If you are wondering what the’ Phonic Code’ is click on our ‘Teaching Tools’ tab to download it.