Helping your child spell the word – they.

There are some words which children often find difficult to remember when they are writing. These words often are the exceptions to spelling rules.

For example the word, they.

The Oxford Word List ranks they as the 22nd most used word in children’s writing.

To help your child or student learn how to spell they I have created a short story. Please be considerate of my lack of artist skills in the drawings. I will have to get my children to help create them or as they say, practice makes perfect.


May They Play?


Once upon a time, a boy called They wanted a friend. He was an only child and longed for friends his age to laugh and play games with.

As he was walking kicking an empty tin along the street he heard laughter. He ran and found 3 kids playing soccer.

‘May, I play?’ They asked.

‘We only play with people who rhyme with us,’ May replied.

‘What are your names?’ They asked, he knew he was different to others but crossed his fingers behind his back.

‘My name is May, this is Say and over there is Play,” May answered.

They couldn’t contain his excitement, ‘May, Say, Play, I do rhyme with you, my name is They,’ They said giving the empty tin a final kick and running towards the soccer ball.

“But…but you look different,” Say said.

“I know. I have always looked this way. Mum said that there are only a few of us around and that is why I am special.

Listen, I sound the same, May, Say, Play, They but instead of ay I end with ey,” They explained kicking his foot into the dirt hopefully.

They had always found it hard to make friends because he was a bit different.

‘Of course you can play, I met someone called Grey once, he wasn’t a very happy guy, maybe if he knew about you, he would be happier,” Play said.

They happily chatted to May, Say and Play while playing soccer. He didn’t mean to trick everyone with his ‘ey’ instead of ‘ay’ and hoped that he could make more ay and ey friends.

The End.

Short stories which children can remember are a great way to remind them of the tricky words in the English Language.

This story can lead to discussion on words which end in ay, ey and move on to discussion about words ending in ae and eigh.

Word Lists – a few suggestions.

ay – bay, clay, day, Fay, fray, gay, hay, lay, may, pay, ray, say, way,

ey – they, grey,

ae- sundae

eigh- neigh

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