Most people read words more accurately than they spell them. The younger pupils are, the truer this is. By the end of Year 1, pupils should be able to read a large number of different words containing the sounds and letters that they have learnt, whether or not they have seen these words before. Spelling, however, is a very different matter. Once pupils have learnt more than one way of spelling particular sounds, choosing the right letter or letters depends on their either having made a conscious effort to learn the words or having absorbed them less consciously through their reading. Younger pupils have not had enough time to learn or absorb the accurate spelling of all the words that they may want to write.
Many of the words listed for Years 1 and 2 are used frequently in pupils’ writing, and therefore it is worth pupils learning the correct spelling. The word-lists for Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6 are statutory. By the end of Year 4 and Year 6 children must be able to spell these words correctly. The lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. Some of the listed words may be thought of as quite challenging, but the 100 words in each list can easily be taught within the four years of Key Stage 2 alongside other words that teachers consider appropriate.