How to Approach the Consolidated Word List

Many of you have probably seen the consolidated word list, also known as the CWL, which I carry in bound booklets with me to Spell Success meetings. If you have also looked inside these booklets, you know that there are three different sections, all covered with my decorative drawings and notes.

After I finished learning Spell It! and Paideia, my next major task was to tackle the CWL, and I know that many spellers are now facing the same challenge that I once did. One question has been posed to me many times: how does one go about studying the CWL? The CWL contains 23,413 words in three different sections: words appearing frequently, with moderate frequency, and infrequently.

When I think about how to approach the CWL, the first thing I would recommend is to do what my mom did seven years ago: make three booklets with beautiful covers. Although it does take some effort in the beginning, having a good copy of the entire word list that is easy to use will benefit you immensely in the long run.

There are even more obstacles with studying the CWL. For instance, the CWL contains many words that do not have definitions and even some words or given information that contain errors! On the bright side, many of the words do have definitions, and the PDF files are all nicely organized in alphabetical order with words that tend to show up in bees from the local all the way to the national level.

For those who are newer to spelling, the CWL does contain many difficult words which may be a stretch to learn. My approach was to study the list page by page, making a note of all the words that I did not know. Since I was only a fourth grader at the time, this list became rather long. If you are in a similar situation, don’t worry; just break down your larger list into smaller ones, and study them one at a time. Parents or coaches can also create another list that contains all the words that your speller has missed during reviewing of progress. You should be sure to check in on the speller daily or weekly, at the least.

               Once you have reviewed all the words, you can breathe a sigh of relief momentarily, but it’s time to return to the word lists you initially collected. Yes, you do need to review the words a second time because these are the words you should study with all of the time you can find!

Studying unknown words is the focus of all my lessons. You can use the techniques I used to help your speller overcome different problems. Tools such as identifying patterns in sounds, root words, and definitions will help the words ‘stick’ in the mind of your speller. Later on, when you have accumulated more words, you will need to have clues to distinguish confusing words. Methods for this could include puzzles, games, and quizzes, especially if you have a younger speller to coach.

The process of studying for the spelling bee takes time, and while some methods may work for spellers like me, they may not work for other spellers. In previous lessons, I have outlined many diverse approaches to studying lists such as the CWL, including using crossword puzzles, pictures, games, recordings, sentences, etc. Be sure to try out all of these methods and more to learn which is best for your speller. And remember that there is always room for improvement; the key is to make process gradually to instill confidence in your speller.

I love to see younger spellers use their wild imaginations when they approach a word. That is the reason I love to work with them. When approaching the CWL, remember to keep your imagination alive, parents and coaches, and you will have more fun and find even more ways to help your speller.

CWL Errata

CWL-F
Page #
Wrong Word
Correct Word
106
orgetfulness
forgetfulness
133
glasphalt
asphalt
309
uerte
suerte

CWL-M
Page #
Wrong Word
Correct Word
79
donnybook
donnybrook
137
inebriacy
inebrious or inebriating
204
porphyous
porphyrous
261
thersitical
theistical

CWL-I
Page #
Wrong Word
Correct Word
6
amitious
ambitious
7
apocynthion
apocyanine
10
bacciform
sacciform
10
baccivorous
succivorous
13
beaner
beanery
29
comtemptible
contemptible
29
comtemptuous
contemptuous
41
docorticate
decorticate
42
dompty
dumpty
47
enfrancishe
enfranchise
52
fibrocitis
fibrocytic
70
inbiber
imbiber
70
inbroglio
imbroglio
70
inelude
elude
76
kekepa
kikepa
82
maiant
naiant
107
presybytery
presbytery
112
rangibility
tangibility
116
reverian
severian or riverain
117
romaticism
romanticism
118
sabulosity
fabulosity
121
secesssion
secession
135
synchnocarpous
sychnocarpous
136
taxophily
toxophily
141
trinked
twinked
146
varrio
barrio or varronia