Outlaw Words


Between 95% and 99%
The decoding chart does not include every possible spelling for every sound.  The chart does enable children to spell between 95% and 99% of all the words they may choose to write in their first few years of school.  Words the chart cannot be used to spell are called “outlaw words.”

Spellings Not Included
Outlaw words have spellings not included on the chart.  For example the sounds can be written “won” using the blue spelling of and the white spellings of the other two sounds.  The same sounds can also be written as “one.” However, no combination of spellings from the chart can produce this spelling.  One is an outlaw word.  Outlaw words are identified by the solid black line drawn beneath all of the sounds.

A Beginning List
The first few outlaw words the child will encounter are downloadable here:

Click here to download a beginning list of Outlaw Words

The list may be posted in the child’s room or in some other convenient place, so that when the child encounters an outlaw word, its spelling can be noted.

Adding Words at School
In classrooms using the Reading Program, the teacher uses the stamps to add additional outlaw words to the list as new words are encountered.

Adding Words at Home
In the iPad version of the program, the Stamping app can be used to create a steadily updated list of outlaw words. However, so long as the parent or teacher has access to a computer, it is also relatively simple to create a version of the Outlaw Words list.

The sound images are available as a downloadable and nearly universally installable computer font through the font download link below.

Typing Out the Sounds
Once the font is installed, the sound images may be typed out just as if they were letters.  The chart at the top of the Font Download page indicates which keyboard letters are typed to produce which sound images.  The PDF copy of the chart may be downloaded to your desktop and printed out for easy reference.

An Excel Spreadsheet
The downloadable Outlaw Words list was created on an Excel spreadsheet with the font size in both columns set to 72.  The first, or stamp, column is formatted as EngReadPro.  The second, or word, column is formatted with the Chalkboard font present in Macs.  Chalkboard was selected because its letters closely approximate the letters children themselves are taught to write in school.  However, any readable font will do.

Adding to the List
The Outlaw Words list is short.  New words are only added to it as the child encounters them.  The sounds for beige are .  There is no “ei” spelling for so beige is an outlaw word.  However, until the child wants to know how to spell beige, there is no reason to add it or any other as yet unneeded outlaw word to the list.