Secondary school can be stressful for students – even more so if they’re having to catch-up with their reading and spelling.

“…nearly 20% of adolescents are not able to read simple texts accurately and with understanding. Most research on reading has focused on children and adults, neglecting the intervening adolescent period”

Professor Jessie Ricketts, Reader at Royal Holloway, University of London

Wordshark has a lot to offer as a literacy intervention, and is one of the few products that can be used with older students:

  1. Games are non-age-specific. During the development on the online program secondary-aged students were specifically asked for their views on the graphics
  2. Content ranges from cvc words through to complex multi-syllabic words, with the option to add your own
  3. Settings, speeds and games options help to make the program highly adaptable. In addition, you can choose to use automatic progression or to set work.

Secondary subject lists

These lists familiarise students with basic vocabulary in different subjects needed in secondary school. The 7 subjects covered are; MathsEnglish, the 3 SciencesD & TGeographyMusic and Citizenship (with more to follow).  See Secondary School Subject Lists (pdf) for a complete list of topic headings by subject.

Read more about secondary subject lists

Year 7 and 8 catch-up premium

Wordshark is the perfect tool for raising reading and spelling ages whilst maintaining motivation.

To meet catch-up premium criteria and to make a real impact, use the program 15-20 minutes several times per week, at school or at home. You can work one-to-one with the student, or they can work independently with the option of using automatic progression, or completing tasks set by you.

Using Wordshark in secondary school

  • Students can work independently and at their own level and pace – without feeling judged and without comparing themselves to their peers.
  • Wordshark is ideal for helping students with specific learning needs such as dyslexia, or those learning English as an additional language. Read more about Wordshark for SEND and for EAL.
  • The ‘Wordshark’ course doesn’t refer to age or year group, so students won’t feel judged, based on the level they are working at.
  • You can add your own vocabulary – for words not already in Wordshark you can record the words and add your own images…

Create your own word lists and course/s

In addition to the 10,000 words already available in Wordshark, you can create your own course content via the own word lists section. It is possible to create several lists for a particular topic and then create your own course/s using these lists.

Monitoring impact

Even if students are mostly using Wordshark outside of school, you can view their progress via on-screen/downloadable reports.

Practical Guide for teachers:

Click here to see the user guide 


Wordshark has done so much for so many – it takes the tension out of intense learning.

Catherine Ash, Specialist teacher, working in secondary sector

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, teacher

I have used Wordshark over 15 years. Originally this was in a Comprehensive school whose Learning Support Department had purchased a multi user program. I was supporting students with dyslexia and reading and spelling difficulties generally. This was teaching students in groups as well as 1:1 situations. Since retirement, I have taught some children with dyslexia privately 1:1, for which I purchased a single user Wordshark program. For both situations I found the program very useful and appealing to students. They can work as independently as possible and have choice of games to play. I can monitor them. The availability of Alpha to Omega phonic patterns as well as National Curriculum vocabulary is ideal to cater for individual students’ needs.

Pamela Tincello, Cheltenham