Work for Years 5 and 6

Revise work done in previous years

New work for Years 5 and 6

Statutory requirements

Non‑statutory information and Spellzone resources

Endings which sound like /ʃəs/ spelt –cious or –tious.

Not many common words end like this.
If the root word ends in –ce, the /ʃ/ sound is usually spelt as c – e.g. vice – vicious, grace – gracious, space – spacious, malice – malicious.
Exception: anxious.

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list

Endings which sound like /ʃəl/.

–cial is common after a vowel letter and –tial after a consonant letter, but there are some exceptions.
Exceptions: initial, financial, commercial, provincial (the spelling of the last three is clearly related to finance, commerce and province).

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list

Words ending in –ant, –ance/–ancy, –ent, –ence/–ency.

Use –ant and –ance/–ancy if there is a related word with a /æ/ or /eɪ/ sound in the right position; –ation endings are often a clue.

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list - ant
Spellzone course word list - ance
Spellzone course word list - ance

Use –ent and –ence/–ency after soft c (/s/ sound), soft g (/dʒ/ sound) and qu, or if there is a related word with a clear /ɛ/ sound in the right position.
There are many words, however, where the above guidance does not help. These words just have to be learnt.

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list

Words ending in –able and –ible.
Words ending in –ably and –ibly.

The –able/–ably endings are far more common than the –ible/–ibly endings.
As with –ant and –ance/–ancy, the –able ending is used if there is a related word ending in –ation.

If the –able ending is added to a word ending in –ce or –ge, the e after the c or g must be kept as those letters would otherwise have their ‘hard’ sounds (as in cap and gap) before the a of the –able ending.
The –able ending is usually but not always used if a complete root word can be heard before it, even if there is no related word ending in –ation. The first five examples opposite are obvious; in reliable, the complete word rely is heard, but the y changes to i in accordance with the rule.

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list

The –ible ending is common if a complete root word can’t be heard before it but it also sometimes occurs when a complete word can be heard (e.g. sensible).

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list

Adding suffixes beginning with vowel letters to words ending in –fer.

The r is doubled if the –fer is still stressed when the ending is added.

The r is not doubled if the –fer is no longer stressed.

Curriculum word list

Use of the hyphen.

Hyphens can be used to join a prefix to a root word, especially if the prefix ends in a vowel letter and the root word also begins with one.

Words with the /i:/ sound spelt ei after c.

The ‘i before e except after c’ rule applies to words where the sound spelt by ei is /i:/.
Exceptions: protein, caffeine, seize (and either and neither if pronounced with an initial /i:/ sound).

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list

Words containing the letter-string ough.

ough is one of the trickiest spellings in English – it can be used to spell a number of different sounds.

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list

Words with ‘silent’ letters (i.e. letters whose presence cannot be predicted from the pronunciation of the word).

Some letters which are no longer sounded used to be sounded hundreds of years ago: e.g. in knight,there was a /k/ sound before the /n/, and the gh used to represent the sound that ‘ch’ now represents in the Scottish word loch.

Curriculum word list
Spellzone course word list - silent k
Spellzone course word list - silent w
Spellzone course word list - silent b
Spellzone course word list - silent t

Homophones and other words that are often confused.

In the pairs of words opposite, nouns end –ce and verbs end –se. Advice and advise provide a useful clue as the word advise (verb) is pronounced with a /z/ sound – which could not be spelt c.

Curriculum word list - 1
Curriculum word list - 2
Curriculum word list - 3
Spellzone course word list

descent: the act of descending (going down).
dissent: to disagree/disagreement (verb and noun).
desert: as a noun – a barren place (stress on first syllable); as a verb – to abandon (stress on second syllable).
dessert: (stress on second syllable) a sweet course after the main course of a meal.
draft: noun – a first attempt at writing something; verb – to make the first attempt; also, to draw in someone (e.g. to draft in extra help).
draught: a current of air.

Curriculum word list - 4

Word lists – years 5 and 6

Word list: a

Word list: b - c

Word list: d - e

Word list: f - l

Word list: m - p

Word list: q - s

Word list: t - y

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Teachers should continue to emphasise to pupils the relationships between sounds and letters, even when the relationships are unusual. Once root words are learnt in this way, longer words can be spelt correctly if the rules and guidance for adding prefixes and suffixes are also known. Many of the words in the list above can be used for practice in adding suffixes.

Understanding the history of words and relationships between them can also help with spelling.


  • Conscience and conscious are related to science: conscience is simply science with the prefix con- added. These words come from the Latin word scio meaning I know.
  • The word desperate, meaning ‘without hope’, is often pronounced in English as desp’rate, but the –sper- part comes from the Latin spero, meaning ‘I hope’, in which the e was clearly sounded.
  • Familiar is related to family, so the /ə/ sound in the first syllable of familiar is spelt as a.

See the Spellzone course units for content mapped to the curriculum including homophones (H) units.

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