How to learn groups of similar words

Some people need to learn just odd words that cause a problem. However, if you are making a fresh start with spelling, perhaps as a student of English as a foreign language, it may help to study groups of words with the same letter pattern.

This section gives ideas for activities to do with word lists:

1. See how many words from each list you can get into just one sentence. As you study each list, trying to think which words to use, you are fixing these words in your visual memory Tips, help learning English spelling

This example is from Unit 7, Long Vowel sounds:

bind
blind
find
grind
hind
kind
mind
rind
wind
How many -ind words can you get in one sentence?

The kind girl did not mind helping to find the blind man.

Can you beat 4 words?

This example is from Unit 22, Silent Letters:

knack
knapsack
knee
knead
knew
knit
knickers
knight
knoll
knot
knob
knobbly
knock
know
knowledge
knuckle

How many kn words can you get in one sentence?

I know I can't knit knickers with a knife on my knobbly knees.

Can you beat 6 words?

This example contains words from Unit 4, Consonant Digraphs:

alphabet
apostrophe
hyphen
phrase
pamphlet
physical
physician
physics
pharmacy
pharmacist
dolphin
elephant
phantom
nephew
prophet
orphan
Pharaoh
triumph
phenomenon
photograph
photocopy
photograph
paragraph
autograph
biography
geography
headphones
earphones
telephone
microphone
saxophone
phonics
spherical
atmosphere
stratosphere
catastrophe
emphasis
phobia

How many ph words can you get in one sentence?

An autographed photograph of the triumphant team with their trophy.

Tips, help learning English spelling

Now you try - with all those ph words to choose from, you are bound to beat 4.

Another way to remember several words with the same letter pattern is to play 'Kim's Game'.

word lists
 
Kim's Game is a memory game that came from a story by Rudyard Kipling, in which Kim is trained to notice small details. He has one minute to look at a tray of jewels before it is covered up. He then has to remember as many as he can. Tips, help learning English spelling
The game has been adapted by youth groups such as the Scouts and is usually played with a tray of small mixed objects.
 
word lists
word lists word lists

To play 'Kim's Game' with words, look at a list of words for about two minutes. Then look away and write down as many words as you can remember.

Try it with these -cle words from Unit 23:

Tips, help learning English spelling
cle as in bicycle
circle
treacle
uncle
article
chronicle
icicle
particle
cubicle
vehicle
manacle
miracle
obstacle
pinnacle
spectacle
tentacle

Rule breakers break spelling rules

muscle* - silent c

Tips, help learning English spelling The full Spellzone course has many more tips like this.

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