Year 1 Spelling

Discover Year 1 spelling standards

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Spelling is a difficult skill to master, especially in Year 1. All children learn at a different pace, and spelling can quickly become a frustration for some, as they feel a need to spell everything correctly from the very beginning of primary school. Year 1 spelling is about grasping basic spelling rules and building a strong foundation for future education.

Year 1 spelling requires learners to use their phonics skills to understand:

  • words with common spelling patterns
  • frequently occurring irregular words

Common Spelling Patterns

Children in Year 1 will start by spelling CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. In these words, each sound is audible and can be used to help children to spell the word.

Here are some common Year 1 spelling word patterns:

  • c-a-t
  • n-u-t
  • h-o-t
  • j-e-t
  • w-e-t

These are also considered to be common Year 1 sight words!

Long and Short Vowel Sounds

All five vowels have a long and a short sound. Learners in Year 1 should understand that these sounds are spelt differently depending on whether the sound is long or short. Children are also expected to know the spellings for the short vowel sounds and some of the long vowel sounds.

Short Vowel Sounds

Vowel Spelling Example
a
a
a/pple
e
e
e/gg
i
i
i/nk
o
o
o/tter
u
u
u/mbrella

Long Vowel Sounds

Long vowel sounds "say their name" - i.e. their pronunciation within a word is the same as when spoken as an individual letter.

Vowel Spelling Example
a
a-e
ai
ay
cake
snail
hay
e
ee
ea
cheese
sea
i
i-e
igh
-y
bike
night
fly
o
o-e
a
oe
rope
boat
doe
u
u-e
ue
ew
cube
music
music
pew

Practice Tip

Challenge your child to practise their spelling skills by playing the range of spelling games available on Nightzookeeper.com!

Blends, Digraphs, Suffixes & Contractions

The following blends, digraphs, suffixes, and contractions are all commonly covered in Year 1 spelling.

Spelling Blends With Short Vowels

Words with initial consonant blends sn, st, sw, sp, sm

  • snap, stop, swim, spot, smock, slip

Words with initial consonant blends fl, gl, cr, tr

  • flop, glad, crab, truck

Words with final blends -sk, -sp, -st

  • ask, wisp, lost

Words with final blends -pt, -ft, -ct, -nt, -lt, -xt, -lp, -lk, -lf

  • kept, lift, act, sent, jolt, next, help, elk, golf

Words with final blends -mp, -nd, -nch

  • jump, sand, lunch

Spelling Consonant Digraphs

Words With the Digraphs ck, qu

  • lock, rock, sick, duck, back, peck
  • queen, quack, quit

Words With the Digraphs ff, ss, ll, zz (double final consonants)

  • off, huff, puff
  • hiss, boss, Tess
  • ball, doll, hill
  • buzz, fizz, jazz

Words With the Digraphs ch, sh, th, wh, ph

  • chop, chin, chug
  • ship, shed, shell
  • them, then, moth
  • wheel, when, whip
  • dolphin, phonics, phone

Words With the Digraph oo

This digraph makes two different sounds.

  • short sound → oo → book
  • long sound → oo → spoon

Practice Tip

Learners can work through the lesson series called Night Zoo Spelling on Nightzookeeper.com. The lesson pictured below will test your child’s spelling skills, as well as their reading comprehension, as it requires them to show their understanding of the word’s meaning within a specific context.

Night Zoo Spelling, a spelling lesson series on a laptop screen.

Spelling Words With Inflectional Endings and Suffixes

-s and -es

  • cats, bats, dogs
  • benches, boxes, buzzes

Practice Tip

Another Night Zoo Spelling lesson will teach your young learner all they need to know about plurals, to help them learn how to add -s and -es to the end of words.

Night Zoo Spelling lesson on laptop screen.

-ing and -ed

  • jumping, cooking, playing
  • jumped, cooked, played

For help with suffixes, children can head to the lesson series Night Zoo Spelling for some tips from Riya on spelling words that end with the suffix -ing.

Night Zoo Spelling suffix lesson on laptop screen.

Contractions

Contractions are two words put together and shortened, for speed of communication. The letters removed in the process of contracting are replaced by an apostrophe. Here are some common examples:

  • I am → I'm
  • He is → He's
  • She is → She's
  • Cannot → Can't
  • Will not → Won't
  • Do not → Don't

Practice tip

Make flashcards for the contractions above and then ask your child to identify the two words that make up each contraction.

Frequently Occurring Irregular Words

Some words do not follow phonics and spelling rules. Learners need to memorise how to spell these words as they cannot rely on phonic knowledge to identify the individual sounds and corresponding letters.

This list includes examples of frequently occurring irregular words Year 1 students should recognise:

  • the, you, said, his, to, they
  • were, do, was, are, some, your
  • of, there, because, as, is, one
  • what, would, could, who, two, too

Syllables

Breaking words into syllables helps children to spell words correctly. A syllable is a beat in a word.

There are seven different types of syllables that children learn. Some of these are introduced in Year 1 spelling. The slash marks show where one syllable ends and another begins within a word.

Closed Syllables

A closed syllable usually has a short vowel sound followed by a consonant.

This word has two closed syllables:

kit/ten

Open Syllables

An open syllable ends with a vowel which usually gives a long sound.

This word has an open syllable followed by a closed syllable:

li/on

VCE Syllable (vowel-consonant-e)

This syllable has the pattern vowel-consonant-e:

cake

Vowel Team Syllable

A vowel team is when two vowels make one vowel sound:

boat

R-Controlled Syllable

In this type of syllable, a vowel is followed by the letter r which changes the sound the vowel makes:

car

Practice Tip

Get your child to put a hand under their chin and count the number of times it drops. This will then count the syllables in a word.

Download our spelling word lists:

How Night Zookeeper can help

Night Zookeeper can help your child level up their spelling skills in a matter of just a few weeks! Our award-winning program covers all the spelling rules learners should understand at this stage in their primary education journey. Our activities include word games on vowels and consonants, sight words, and vocabulary, spelling and reading comprehension lessons, exciting challenges, and much more. And the best part is that they can practise their spelling skills at home!

Our spelling games for kids are particularly good at keeping learners engaged and motivated to learn, and we even send out monthly worksheets and printable resources for learning on-the-go.

Sign up today to get a FREE 7-day trial and kickstart your child’s English language journey!

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