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Year 1 and Year 2 Common Exception Words – 8 of the best KS1 worksheets and resources

Tricky words are everywhere in the English language, so teaching these common exception rules to children can be tough. Thankfully, these activities, ideas and other resources are here to help...

  • Year 1 and Year 2 Common Exception Words – 8 of the best KS1 worksheets and resources

What are common exception words?

Common exception words are words that don’t follow the common rules of spelling, or which use letter combinations to represent sounds in an uncommon way.

Year 1 common exception words

  • the
  •  
  • a
  •  
  • do
  •  
  • to
  •  
  • today
  •  
  • of
  •  
  • said
  •  
  • says
  •  
  • are
  •  
  • were
  •  
  • was
  •  
  • is
  •  
  • his
  •  
  • has
  •  
  • I
  •  
  • you
  •  
  • your
  •  
  • they
  •  
  • be
  •  
  • he
  •  
  • me
  •  
  • she
  •  
  • we
  •  
  • no
  •  
  • go
  •  
  • so
  •  
  • by
  •  
  • my
  •  
  • here
  •  
  • there
  •  
  • where
  •  
  • love
  •  
  • come
  •  
  • some
  •  
  • one
  •  
  • once
  •  
  • ask
  •  
  • friend
  •  
  • school
  •  
  • put
  •  
  • push
  •  
  • pull
  •  
  • full
  •  
  • house
  •  
  • our

Year 2 common exception words

       
  • door
  •  
  • floor
  •  
  • poor
  •  
  • because
  •  
  • find
  •  
  • kind
  •  
  • mind
  •  
  • behind
  •  
  • child
  •  
  • wild
  •  
  • climb
  •  
  • most
  •  
  • only
  •  
  • both
  •  
  • old
  •  
  • cold
  •  
  • gold
  •  
  • hold
  •  
  • told
  •  
  • every
  •  
  • everybody
  •  
  • even
  •  
  • great
  •  
  • break
  •  
  • steak
  •  
  • pretty
  •  
  • beautiful
  •  
  • after
  •  
  • fast
  •  
  • last
  •  
  • past
  •  
  • father
  •  
  • class
  •  
  • grass
  •  
  • pass
  •  
  • plant
  •  
  • path
  •  
  • bath
  •  
  • hour
  •  
  • move
  •  
  • prove
  •  
  • improve
  •  
  • sure
  •  
  • sugar
  •  
  • eye
  •  
  • could
  •  
  • should
  •  
  • would
  •  
  • who
  •  
  • whole
  •  
  • any
  •  
  • many
  •  
  • clothes
  •  
  • busy
  •  
  • people
  •  
  • water
  •  
  • again
  •  
  • half
  •  
  • money
  •  
  • Mr
  •  
  • Mrs
  •  
  • parents
  •  
  • Christmas

National Curriculum programme of study links

  • read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word
  • spell common exception words
  • write from memory simple sentences dictated by the teacher that include words using the GPCs, common exception words and punctuation taught so far

1 | Year 1 common exception word spelling packs

These PDF worksheets are an excellent way for children in Key Stage 1 to revise and practise spelling these words.

The worksheets include different activities in which children look at spelling patterns, identify misspelt words and apply their spellings in context. They can be used within lessons, as an assessment or as a homework task.

There are 7 packs in total, focusing on different CEWs each time. Click these links to check out each one:


2 | How do you teach common exception words at KS1?

Around 14 per cent of English spellings buck the rules of phonics. Here, Angela Carss and David Waugh looks at the trick to teaching common exception words in KS1.

Check out there advice here.


3 | Year 1 and Year 2 CEW word mats and word cards

These Key Stage 1 packs have been put together to support teachers in ensuring that children are familiar with the Y1 common exception words, both for reading and for spelling.

The words are presented on cards for display; and as mats (in alphabetical and non-alphabetical order) that can be used for table work.

You also get assessment sheets so you can tick off words as they are learnt.

Get the Year 1 pack here and the Year 2 version here.


4 | Year 1 and 2 CEW spelling and writing packs

These common exception word packs allows pupils to practise reading and spelling a selection of the tricky words for each cohort.

Each worksheet includes two words for pupils to read, spell and understand, with an opportunity to develop letter formation using handwriting line guides.

There are 6 packs each for Year 1 and 2, each focusing on different CEWs as listed here.

Click these links to check out each one:

Year 1

  • Pack 1: do, to, said, says, the, a, today and of
  • Pack 2: are, were, his, has, I, they, was and is
  • Pack 3: be, he, me, she, we, here, you and your
  • Pack 4: ask, come, some, go, so, love and no
  • Pack 5: by, my, friend, one, once, there and where
  • Pack 6: house, our, pull, full, put, push and school

Year 2

  • Pack 1: child, children, door, floor, poor, kind, find, mind, behind, wild and climb
  • Pack 2: both, old, cold, gold, every, everybody, hold, told, most and only
  • Pack 3: any, many, because, again, great, steak, break, parents, Christmas, pretty and beautiful
  • Pack 4: clothes, busy, could, should, would, hour, eye, sure, sugar, who and whole
  • Pack 5: half, money, improve, even, move, prove, Mr, Mrs, people and water
  • Pack 6: after, fast, class, grass, pass, father, plant, last, past, path, bath

5 | Spooky Spellings online game

Practise spelling common exception words for ages 5 and up with this spooky online game.

It uses the National Curriculum’s list of Common Exception Words, and asks children to arrange the letters in the correct order to spell each one.

Play it here.


6 | CEW sentence worksheets

Simple and easy, these worksheets feature a selection of common exception words with space to write a sentence for each one.

There are six pages in all, with 42 words.

Download and print here.


7 | Year 2 common exception words worksheets

These worksheets include five different activities in which children look at spelling patterns, identify misspelt words and apply their spellings in context. They can be used within lessons, as an assessment or as a homework task.

This primary resource is divided into five sections – tips, check, use, change and apply – with activities including checking which words that are spelt correctly, placing words into the correct sentences, changing words or phrases in sentences for a CEW and more.

Try this one here.


8 | Clever ways for kids to learn common exception words

If common exception words are causing a nuisance, these marvellous suggestions from Dr David Waugh and Angela Gill will take the weight off your mind.

Give them a read here.

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