Rocket Spelling Blog

-ight endings (Level 6-3) and -ough patterns (Level 6-4)

Building from the -igh pattern as a long i ending in level 6-2, level 6-3 now explores the very common -ight pattern. The ten words used in this level are right, light, might, night, sight, tight, bright, fight, fright, and flight. Level 6-4 focuses on the varied sounds the -ough pattern can make. The ten words used in this level are enough, tough, rough, cough, although, dough, through, though, doughnut, and toughen.


Long 'i' ending sounds written as y, ie, or igh (Level 6-2)

Level 6-2 continues our work with trickier patterns, this time focusing on three different word endings that can all make a long 'i' sound: y, ie, or igh. The words used in this level are sky, lie, high, sigh, try, pie, fly, dry, tie, and die.

One important minilesson to teach here involves showing the various sounds the letter 'y' can make at the end of a word. When there is a consonant before it, a 'y' ending usually makes a long 'i' sound in a one-syllable word (e.g. shy, sky, fly, why, my) and a long 'e' sound in a multi-syllable word (e.g. happy, snowy, lucky, story -- this is the focus of level 4-9). This is a distinction that students are often not taught, so we recommend making sure that you mention this in conjunction with level 6-2!


-ch and -tch endings (Level 6-1)

With more straightforward vowel pairs and consonant blends now complete, planet 6 focuses on a number of trickier letter combinations that are used numerous times in high-frequency words. Level 6-1 focuses on words ending with either -ch or -tch. The words used in this level are watch, each, scratch, itch, catch, patch, beach, teach, reach, and stretch.

Here is the general principle for when to use -ch or -tch: When following a consonant or a pair of vowels, use -ch. When following a single vowel, use -tch.


Trickier Vowel Pairs (levels 5-7 to 5-12)

Levels 5-7 through 5-12 work on a variety of more challenging vowel pairs. Level 5-7 shows students that the 'ow' combo can make a long 'o' sound (as in words like slow, know, and grow) in addition to the 'ou' sound it made in level 5-6.

Level 5-8 compares 'au' and 'aw', and the same logic that applied to levels 5-4, 5-5, and 5-6 applies here: The general rule of thumb for deciding whether to use au or aw in a word is that in the middle of a syllable, you should generally use au; to close a syllable or end a word, use aw.


Why Do Many Students Struggle with Spelling?

When we created, our goal was to help students to become better spellers while having fun along the way. But why do students seem to struggle so much with spelling? Is it just because the English language is full of exceptions where words can't be "sounded out" phonetically? Certainly that's part of the problem. But in 20 years of teaching, I think there's a bigger, systemic issue out there:


ou and ow patterns (Level 5-6)

Just like with the previous levels on ai vs. ay vowel pairs and oi vs. oy vowel pairs, the general rule of thumb for deciding whether to use ou or ow in a word depends on whether the sound occurs in the middle or end of a syllable or word.


ai and ay patterns (Levels 5-4 and 5-5)

Levels 5-4 and 5-5 focus on the long a sound written as either ai or ay. The general rule of thumb for deciding whether to use ai or ay in a word to make the long a sound is straightforward: in the middle of a syllable, use ai; to close a syllable or end a word, use ay.


Fourth Grade Spelling Words

Here are the Rocket Spelling word lists and level numbers that we think align well with fourth grade standards. For more background on this, check out this post.

Level 10.1 Compound words #1: something, sometimes, anything, everything, yourself, everyone, himself, herself, someone, anyone

Level 10.2 Compound words #2: keyboard, notebook, homework, wheelchair, baseball, afternoon, birthday, newspaper, grasshopper, skateboard