Smart Words

What is Smart Words?

Smart Words is a school-wide spelling programme, which teaches children the foundation skills for literacy and spelling conventions. The programme empowers children as spellers and learners.
Smart Words was written by the creators of PMP and the two programmes are complementary in their approach to the development of early learning skills.

Smart Words and the Literacy Progressions

The Smart Words Programme covers most of the “knowledge and skills” listed in the reading and writing progressions (this is half the progressions for each year group). If children work through the programme they will develop the skills needed for fluent reading and writing.


The Smart Words program is a sequential and developmental Word Study/Spelling programme of 24 levels. It introduces the knowledge and strategies required for effective spelling in a carefully structured sequence of activities, featuring…

  • A language-based programme.
  • Teaches the Foundation skills for literacy, including memory and handwriting.
  • Words in the lists are grouped phonetically and graphically to allow analogy to develop “sounds like so probably looks like.”
  • Morphemic groupings and grammar included.
  • Teaches generalisations and rules rather than exceptions. (80% of English words follow a rule)
  • Letter names are taught as part of sound, name, symbol relationship.
  • Works within the general memory limits of the age group.
  • Teaches one new element at a time.
  • Mastery based. Provides constant revision.
  • Allows for differential teaching.
  • Teaches morphemic groupings. (building words from base word).
  • Teaches dictionary skills and proof reading.
  • Aims to develop a “spelling consciousness”.
  • Aims to teach “how to spell” not just to spell words.