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How can I tell how many tricky words my child knows?

BAM is a quick-paced reading game designed to revisit and practise words that children have already been taught. It is a great way to find out which words your child can read confidently and which words they may need to practise.

Choose a selection of word cards to play with and place them in a pile facing the same way. Turn one of the cards over and add it to the middle of the pile so that it is facing in the opposite direction.

Hold the cards up for the other player to read. Once they have read the card place it on the table. You can make two piles, one for the words that your child can read independently and a second pile for any cards that they need support to read.

Keep playing, asking your child to read the cards until they see the card that is facing the wrong way. Who can shout BAM the quickest? Count how many cards they read then swap roles.

Let your child sort and shuffle the cards for your turn. My daughter didn’t want me to win so she put the BAM card near the front for my turn. She thought it was hilarious!

You can take turns playing this game and use a scoreboard (give players a point for every card they read correctly) or you can play for fun.


If there are any words your child finds tricky to read keep them in a separate pile when you place them on the table. Then you can make a note of any words to practise.

How can I support my child?

If you have a pile of words that your child finds tricky, this envelope game is a fun way to practise them.

Choose a selection of flashcards that your child has already been taught. Put them in an envelope so that the words are hidden.

Slowly, pull the flashcard out to reveal the word so that only the top of the letters show at first and gradually reveal more and more. The first person to recognise it and shout out the correct word wins the card.

Keep playing until all of the words have been pulled out of the envelope. The winner is the player with the most cards.

If you are a subscriber, head to the Phonics Club area for more games and activities to help your child with tricky words.

The Reception support pack is a great resource if your child is finding it tricky to remember some of the tricky words. I used to use these in my classroom every day and they really made a difference.

Put up to 6 tricky words cards in the first pocket and read them with your child every day. If they recognise the tricky word move the card to the next pocket, if not put it back in the same pocket you took it out of. Repeat every day until the card is in the last pocket and your child is able to read it.


The support pack is available to order and includes assessment sheets, phonics bookmarks, stickers, a dry wipe pocket and a pocket chart that fits the Reception flashcards.

The Reception Phase 2 - 4 pack contains tricky word cards and heart words to help your child identify the tricky part which they need to learn by heart.


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