St Mary's C .E School

Walking in the light of God’s Love-Together we will succeed

Common Exception Words Year 2

Common exception words are words that do not follow the common phonetic spelling rules children learn in Year 1 and Year 2.

Many of these exception words are used frequently, hence the use of 'common' in the name. Children are normally introduced to common exception words in their first year of school.

Children have a list of common exception words, which they are expected to learn to read and spell by the end of KS1 and KS2. Examples from each year group are as follows:

  • Year 1: the, today, his, by
  • Year 2: floor, because, many, Mr
  • Year 3 and 4: arrive, centre, opposite, grammar
  • Year 5 and 6: awkward, existence, occupy, relevant


Some ideas for teaching common exception words include:

  • Mnemonics - e.g. a mnemonic for the word 'once' could be: only noises can echo
  • Flashcards - a great and simple tool for teaching. Why not use them as part of a game to help children learn?
  • Reading books - children can see common exception words in context. Pick fun themes that will help keep children engaged.


Below, you will find a list of the words the children are expected to read and spell by the end of Year 2.