Amazing Year 2 Common Exception Words Activities For Your Classroom!

Is your class having trouble spelling Year 2 common exception words? Don't worry! This blog explores fun and engaging teaching methods and activities that will help your pupils learn their Year 2 CEW!

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What Are Year 2 Common Exception Words (CEW?)

Year 2 common exception words are tricky spelling words that are often spelt incorrectly by students due to the way that they sound. 

Students from a very young age are taught phonics and how letter combinations make certain sounds. Some words don’t quite follow this pattern and therefore are a little trickier for students to grasp.

It is totally normal for your students to need more help learning these spellings and the activities below are great for engaging your pupils with this tricky topic!

1. Surprise Spelling Test

Whilst your students may not be too impressed with you about a surprise spelling test, it is a great way of getting them to attempt their year 2 common exception words without preparation! Having a spelling test without a set list that they may have been given beforehand is a good way of seeing how students think they’re spelt opposed to how they may actually be spelt. 

This gives them a chance to think about how these tricky words may be spelt! Telling your students that you’re doing a tricky word test may prompt them you think differently about how the words are actually spelt, despite how they sound. 

spelling mastery

2. Make Sentences

Get your students to make sentences using year 2 common exception words! Give your students a list of common exception words and ask them to make sentences with each word in. 

This allows students to get used to writing the words out and spelling them correctly. Having the words written in context will help students to learn them. 

The more that they incorporate these tricky words into their writing, the more familiar they become with how they are spelt!

3. Year 2 CEW Mat

This is exactly what it sounds like – a mat with all the year 2 common exception words on! Having this on the pupils’ desks is a really simple way of getting them familiar with the spelling of these words. 

Having this mat on their desks will also encourage them to use these ‘tricky’ words in their writing – thus getting them more comfortable with these common exception words. 

A fun activity could be getting students to make their own CEW mat! This way they have a chance to get creative, do some cutting and sticking – hopefully engaging them with the content!

Door     Child    Cold   Pretty   Grass    Improve   Whole  Half

Floor  Children  Gold   Beautiful   Pass   Sure    Any    Money

Poor    Wild    Hold    After    Plant    Sugar   Many    Mr

Because  Climb  Told  Fast   Path   Eye   Clothes   Mrs

        Find  Most  Every  Past   Bath  Could  Busy  Parents

           Kind  Only  Great  Last  Hour  Should  People Christmas

          Mind  Both  Break  Father  Move  Would   Water  Everybody

Behind   Old   Steak   Class   Prove   Who     Again     Even

4. Play Memory Games

Playing games such as hangman and concentration are superb ways of engaging your students when learning year 2 common exception words! This of course improves the students’ memory of the correct spellings! 

Get the students guessing common exception words during hangman – this will help them to learn their correct spelling! This is a really fun and interactive activity to help improve their spellings of common exception words. If there’s one thing that students love during class – it’s games!

Year 2 cew hangman

5. Common Exception Words Quiz

This is a fun and interactive way to get students learning the correct spellings of common exception words. Hand out a spelling quiz worksheet with different options for spellings of common exception words (a,b,c options) and have them choose the correct one. You could then get students to peer assess each other’s work by having them mark another pupils’ quiz! 

Alternatively, you could do the quiz as a slideshow presentation and have them write their answers down! This is a super fun activity for students as it feels much more like a game. You can play the role of quiz master and the student with the most correct answers wins a prize (a great incentive to get them learning!)

6. Common Exception Words Flashcards

active learning

Flashcards are a classic learning resource for students. This tried-and-true activity is a simple but effective way of getting students to remember the correct spellings of year 2 common exception words. This allows students to do the spell, cover and repeat technique of learning spellings. In the case of spelling tricky words, practice makes perfect! 

Collins offers great common exception word flashcards!

7. Same But Different

Give your students a list of words like the one to the right and get them to write the different spellings that sound the same. This gets them used to the idea that different letter combinations can sound the same and be pronounced the same way.  

Same But Different…

Wee Bee Ah Ewe Hear Know Sew Watt Wear Witch Sore Write Putt


We Be Are Here No So What Where Which Saw Right Put


As you can see from the example above, sometimes words sound similar, however their spellings are different. This activity gets students thinking about the different spellings of words and also the importance of context!

8. Use Of Phonics Books

Phonics books that contain common exception words are another really great way of getting students familiar with the spellings of these words. Having them read these books gets them used to the words as they are coming into contact with them more – they are indirectly learning the spellings of these words and becoming more comfortable with their unusual spellings.  

SPaG at home

9. Emile

Emile offers fun and engaging online learning games for your students!  Host a Year 2 common exception words competition in your class and offer a fun prize for the winner.

 These online games will have your students learning in a fun and enjoyable way. 

Get your students comfortable with spellings and common exception words with Emile and have them practising on this amazing online resource! 

There are so many great activities that Emile have to offer your school, especially when it comes to spelling!

Why not try Emile out today?

10 times table

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