4) View information on using Wordshark at school

What is Wordshark?

Wordshark is a hugely versatile computer program for reading and spelling.

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.

Video tutorials on Vimeo/YouTube:

Wordshark includes a spelling course mapped to the 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.

There is plenty of help in using Wordshark:

  • Under Help in the program there are links to video tutorials (as above), as well as access to the pdf manual.
  • This same information is on the ‘Using Wordshark‘ page of wordshark.co.uk’s website where you can view bite-size pdfs on Wordshark.
  • Within the program you will also find 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.

More information on using Wordshark for different ages and abilities

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 is one of the things that Wordshark users like most about Wordshark, and it’s very easy. You can add as many lists of words as you like. You can also add your own pictures, and record the words yourself (or record your students). You can also add description and translation lists.

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 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
  • Apple Macs need OSX 10.7 to 10.12


  • 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 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 are supported
  • The network version is not suitable for Mac networks.

Single User DVD or USB:

  • 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.

Please note: Wordshark is currently unavailable for android devices, Chrome OS e.g. Chromebooks, or in ‘App’ format

New features in Wordshark 5

 New in Wordshark 5 PDF download (293kb)

Wordshark 5 details PDF

 Wordshark 5 details PDF download (596kb)