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Wordshark 5 - in School


What is Wordshark?

Wordshark is a hugely versatile computer program to help you read and spell.

It uses more than 60 specially designed games to teach and to reinforce reading and spelling using over 10,000 pre-recorded words grouped in specially selected word lists. You can also add your own words.

The many permutations of games and word lists create both variety and motivation.


View tutorials on using Wordshark 5:

Starting Wordshark

Adding Students

Choosing a game

Choosing a word list

Adding your own word lists

Setting Work

Synthetic phonics

Using 'search' to find a word list

Tracking progress


Wordshark includes a spelling course mapped to the 2014 National Curriculum for England. It also includes a high quality phonics approach which is available for the majority of the word lists. Different games include blending sounds into words for reading and also segmenting into sounds and syllables for spelling. All common letter patterns and auditory patterns are covered, also spelling rules, syllable work for longer words, homophones, and alphabet and dictionary skills.

The tailored games and structured word lists make Wordshark especially useful for students with dyslexia as well as for general use.

The games are excellent for use on an interactive whiteboard and children enjoy playing the games on the big screen. An on-screen keypad is provided with the program.

Wordshark comes with a printed introductory manual. The full manual can be printed from the program. There are also video tutorials, on-screen help for all games, tool tips and teaching notes.

Variable speeds and other options meet all levels of skill. 

For what ages is it suitable?

Wordshark is mostly used by students between 5 and 15. Some of the games are more suitable for younger children but most games are appropriate for any age.

The variety of games, concepts and words make Wordshark suitable for use in both primary and secondary schools. 

How are the words set out?

Teachers have a very wide set of word lists to choose from, grouped into courses. Several can be worked through in sequence - or dipped into as needed.

Specific courses include:

  • An easy-to-follow course to support The 2014 national curriculum spellings
  • The Wordshark course (default) - a structured sequential course 
  • Everyday vocabulary lists (especially useful for EAL)
  • Secondary school subject lists
  • High frequency words
  • A course to support 'Letters and Sounds'
  • Acourse to support 'Alpha to Omega' by Beve Hornsby and Frula Shear
  • An alphabet and dictionary skills course

Can you add your own words?

Yes this can easily be done.

Are records of student activities kept?

Records (printable) are kept once students have been added to the system. A facility is available to track specific progress.

Can specific work be set for students?

Once students are added to the system, you can choose the words and games that they can use. This can also be done for groups of students.

What printouts are available with the course?

Sentence work sheets (crossword puzzles), spelling lists and word searches can all be printed out. Flash cards for each list can also be printed. (A4 size down to credit card size).

What is needed to run Wordshark 5?

  • Operating systems:

Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8

Apple Macs need OSX 10.6 to 10.9

  • Networks:

Schools should buy a licence based on the required maximum number of students who will use the program at any one time. (concurrent users)

Network server 2003, 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 are supported

The network version is not suitable for Mac networks.

  • Single User DVD or USB:

With the 'Single User' version, the DVD or USB has to be in place for the program to run, but can be moved between/used on any compatible computer. 'Single User' DVDs/USBs are not intended for use on networks, many of which will not accept this version.

 One of the really good things about the program is that the students receive instant feedback...and are motivated to continue trying until they get it right.

Evaluation by Schoolzone

video link

Ideal for pupil premium

 The wide variety of games that it offers address many aspects of supporting development in reading and writing...

 Evaluation by TEEM

  I love Wordshark 5! What a big step up from version 4! Dr Mary Howard, 3D Centre

An East Renfrewshire teacher’s five-year quest to improve pupils’ spelling using IT has led to remarkable results.

Read more

 Wordshark is the best value software on the market. It's uses are many and varied for all subjects.  Felicity

 In my whole career, Wordshark/Numbershark has just been there - the children love it! Victoria.C


 I have been a Wordshark user for more years than I care to remember, both when working in the Dyslexia Base of a large Secondary School and in my own private practice. I have always been impressed by the product in every way, including how it keeps up to speed with current research and the changing needs of practice.  Linda

 It's motivating, inspiring and rewarding for children who struggle with reading and spelling and have lost their confidence. A tailored, personalised wave 3 intervention that runs itself!  A.Shotter


 It's the best thing I've ever bought.  H.Druxbury, teacher in Luxembourg