teaching resource

Tricky Word Flashcards and Practice Mat

  • Updated

    Updated:  12 Apr 2023

Practise identifying the tricky parts in high-frequency words with this practice work mat and accompanying tricky word cards.

  • Editable

    Editable:  Google Slides

  • Non-Editable

    Non-Editable:  PDF

  • Pages

    Pages:  1 Page

  • Curriculum
  • Years

    Years:  F - 1

teaching resource

Tricky Word Flashcards and Practice Mat

  • Updated

    Updated:  12 Apr 2023

Practise identifying the tricky parts in high-frequency words with this practice work mat and accompanying tricky word cards.

  • Editable

    Editable:  Google Slides

  • Non-Editable

    Non-Editable:  PDF

  • Pages

    Pages:  1 Page

  • Curriculum
  • Years

    Years:  F - 1

Practise identifying the tricky parts in high-frequency words with this practice work mat and accompanying tricky word cards.

What Are Tricky Words?

A tricky word can be defined as a word that a student cannot decode using their current phonetic knowledge. Often, the tricky words encountered by young readers do not follow the normal grapheme-phoneme correspondences that the students have been exposed to. For example, the ‘e’ in the word ‘be’ makes an ‘ee’ sound. This is what makes ‘be’ a tricky word!

Our littlest learners need as much exposure as possible to these tricky words in order to decode them effectively when reading. As we all know, manipulatives of all kinds are the early years teacher’s best friends! Our littlest students love being involved in their learning… the more hands-on the task is, the more engaged they are!  

Make learning tricky words fun with this engaging, hands-on work mat and accompanying word cards. The resource includes:

  • a blank work mat
  • an example (completed) work mat
  • 30 word cards.

How to Use This Tricky Word Practice Mat

  1. Students pick a tricky word card and read the word three times.
  2. With their finger, students tap out the sounds they hear using the coloured circles.
  3. Students write the word on the line provided and draw a heart around the tricky part. 
  4. Students write the word three more times, underlining the tricky parts and putting a heart around them. 
  5. Students write a sentence using the high-frequency word. A partner or adult should check over the work before it is erased to start anew.
  6. Repeat using a new tricky word.

It is suggested that the reusable mat be laminated for durability and lots of use! For a more sustainable option, place it in a plastic slip or inside a dry-erase sleeve.

Adapt the Application to Best Meet Your Students’ Needs

This versatile literacy resource can be used in a variety of ways to meet the diverse needs of your learners. It can be used as an independent challenge for fast finishers, or a focused, small-group activity with a selection of targeted learners. You could even project a work mat onto your interactive whiteboard and work through each word as a whole class as a part of your daily phonics instruction

Download the File Format That Suits You

Use the dropdown menu next to the Download button to select between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource.


This resource was created by Alessandra Pastor, a Teach Starter collaborator.

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