At Mrs Wordsmith, we’ve used data science to develop a difficulty level system for vocabulary.

Lots of things can make a word challenging. Some words are hard to learn because they are very long or they have unusual spellings. Others are hard to learn because they are rare or their meaning is difficult to understand.

Our difficulty levels take all of these factors into account, and support children all the way from building reading skills with sight words and phonics to developing a rich, varied vocabulary for creative and expository writing.

Decoding difficulty >

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Sight Words

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Epic life

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Phonics Words

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Phonics Words

Coming soon!
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Storyteller

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Meaning difficulty >

Description of
each level

Level Description Example Words
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Very common words worth memorising to accelerate reading e.g. the, where, could.

'think' 'here' 'put' 'full' 'both' 'want' 'play' 'many' 'about' 'take' 'give' 'never' 'some' 'bring' 'four' 'first' 'call' 'old' 'last'

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Short words with common spelling to provide foundation for reading e.g. bag, hop, pick

'soak' 'goat' 'foam' 'moon' 'jet' 'sight' 'rich' 'van' 'chill' 'thick' 'luck' 'fed' 'mail' 'peel' 'nail' 'rub' 'tight' 'thin' 'roof' 'noon' 'sail' 'boom' 'pool' 'root' 'shell'

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Words more difficult to decode than level 1000 to further build reading skills e.g. funny, mouse, inside.

Harder phonics words (phases 4-5):
'funny' 'clue' 'snake' 'clay' 'glue' 'skirt' 'knight' 'window' 'elephant' 'pull' 'few' 'listen' 'ditch' 'fetch' 'cream' 'seventh' 'beast' 'shrink' 'repeat' 'hall' 'slide' 'spray' 'wrap' 'priest' 'swear' 'tray' 'proud' 'quickly' 'chorus' 'chief' 'found' 'deer' 'worship' 'earn' 'mouse' 'penny' 'magic' 'worth' 'bridge' 'wallet' 'fourth' 'lawn' 'whenever' 'stitch' 'stray' 'beer' 'blind' 'birth' 'thief' 'cube' 'annoying' 'soup' 'envelope' 'pour' 'earth' 'invite' 'badge' 'bare' 'raw' 'rude' 'dead' 'pole' 'jaw' 'cheer' 'rescue' 'sunny' 'scout' 'limb' 'joy' 'pitch' 'due' 'fry' 'awful' 'tube' 'haul' 'gold' 'inside' 'pearl' 'bush' 'dare' 'purse' 'knot' 'capture' 'shield' 'frequent' 'wild' 'cent' 'castle' 'glow'

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Words for intermediate readers, designed to teach meaning as well as improve reading e.g. devour, tricky, eager.

25th to 75th percentile:
'forty' 'nightmare' 'knight' 'pasta' 'steam' 'rinse' 'skirt' 'drawer' 'elephant' 'warm' 'butter' 'hide' 'dragon' 'awake' 'burger' 'opposite' 'flush' 'glitter' 'candle' 'uniform' 'scooter' 'lightning' 'knee' 'shy' 'tape' 'shampoo' 'oven' 'beneath' 'helicopter' 'clue' 'tiny' 'jeans' 'nervous' 'muddy' 'helmet' 'chalk' 'eagle' 'snake' 'tricky' 'blame' 'ignore' 'roll' 'funny' 'fifteen' 'hammer' 'kite' 'clay' 'scarf' 'glue' 'fifty' 'salt' 'saw' 'sixty' 'thumb' 'pepper' 'branch' 'lemon'

50th to 95th percentile:
'devour' 'unwind' 'drowsy' 'apron' 'hysterical' 'periscope' 'tense' 'wetsuit' 'shatter' 'risky' 'chandelier' 'mischievous' 'sweat' 'tidy' 'spatula' 'tumbler' 'taco' 'sympathetic' 'compass' 'carefree' 'lofty' 'dinghy' 'miserable' 'cheerful' 'eager' 'stealthy' 'nervous' 'frustrated' 'concoct' 'tuxedo' 'blueprint' 'millimeter' 'daydream' 'saucepan' 'microscopic' 'spontaneous' 'shipwreck' 'lobster' 'shriek' 'kiwi'

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Words at this level are the most difficult words in terms of what they mean. These are rarer words that children may not have encountered in spoken English, but that nonetheless will be useful in expository writing, literature, and creative writing. e.g. verdant, gargantuan, perspire

25th to 75th percentile:
'forty' 'nightmare' 'knight' 'pasta' 'steam' 'rinse' 'skirt' 'drawer' 'elephant' 'warm' 'butter' 'hide' 'dragon' 'awake' 'burger' 'opposite' 'flush' 'glitter' 'candle' 'uniform' 'scooter' 'lightning' 'knee' 'shy' 'tape' 'shampoo' 'oven' 'beneath' 'helicopter' 'clue' 'tiny' 'jeans' 'nervous' 'muddy' 'helmet' 'chalk' 'eagle' 'snake' 'tricky' 'blame' 'ignore' 'roll' 'funny' 'fifteen' 'hammer' 'kite' 'clay' 'scarf' 'glue' 'fifty' 'salt' 'saw' 'sixty' 'thumb' 'pepper' 'branch' 'lemon'

50th to 95th percentile:
'devour' 'unwind' 'drowsy' 'apron' 'hysterical' 'periscope' 'tense' 'wetsuit' 'shatter' 'risky' 'chandelier' 'mischievous' 'sweat' 'tidy' 'spatula' 'tumbler' 'taco' 'sympathetic' 'compass' 'carefree' 'lofty' 'dinghy' 'miserable' 'cheerful' 'eager' 'stealthy' 'nervous' 'frustrated' 'concoct' 'tuxedo' 'blueprint' 'millimeter' 'daydream' 'saucepan' 'microscopic' 'spontaneous' 'shipwreck' 'lobster' 'shriek' 'kiwi'

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