Outlaw Words


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 spell are called “outlaw words”.

Outlaw words have spellings not included on the Chart.  For example the sounds can be written “won”, using the blue spelling of and the first 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.

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

Click here to download the 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.

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

In the iPad version of the Program, the Stamping App does not lend itself as easily to creating an outlaw words list as do the classroom sets of stamps.  However, so long as the parent or teacher has access to a computer, it is relatively simple to create a home version of an outlaw word list.

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

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 page indicates which keyboard letters are typed to produce which sound images.  The PDF copy of the chart may be downloaded to your desktop for easy reference.

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.

The Outlaw 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.