Let’s talk about alternative spellings. All long vowel sounds have different spellings for students to learn, and these can be challenging for students. Getting familiar with alternative spellings and getting lots of practice with word sets that use alternative spellings for a particular sound helps build accuracy and fluency.
3 alternative spelling games for classroom practice
Games are a great way to practice alternative spellings (along with a lot of other phonics skills). Try these three games to practice reading, writing, and spelling. There are two games for pairs and one that works for small groups or the full class.
Students play this matching game in pairs.
You’ll need two sets of word cards that focus on a particular sound with alternative spellings. Print your word list on card stock, laminate for durability, and cut into cards.
Shuffle the cards together. Then deal them out face down on the playing surface. The first student flips over 2 cards and reads them aloud. If the cards match, the player gets to keep them. If not, they turn them face down and the next student goes.
Play continues until all the cards are matched. The person with the most word pairs wins.
Students play in pairs for this game that provides practice for both reading and writing words with alternative spellings.
To play Spin-Read-Write, students will need:
- a grid for the game board
- a spinner with words that include the target sounds
- two different colored pens or narrow markers.
The first student spins the spinner and reads the word it lands on. Then they write the word anywhere on the grid. The next student does the same.
The student who gets four in a row anywhere on the board wins.
This game adapts well for the whole class or a small group and helps you see whether students can spell words with alternative spellings correctly.
To create bingo boards for a particular sound with alternative spellings, write one spelling (for example, ay, ai, a-e, ea, a for long a) in each box. Leave room for students to write a word in each box.
To play, you’ll need a few supplies.
- Bingo boards as described above (enough for each student)
- A set of bingo word cards
- Pens / pencils (or white board markers if you use white boards or laminate your bingo cards)
Pull one of the bingo word cards and read the word. Students should write the word in the appropriate box on their bingo card. When students have a full row or column they get a Bingo. To win, they must have spelled all the words correctly.
These games offer different types of practice, reading, writing, spelling … and they are all a hit with students.
And to make them even easier for you, I’ve put these games for a number of phonics skills, multiple cootie catchers, and activity sheets together in The Complete Phonics Bundle.
Print, cut, laminate as needed and get your students practicing alternative spellings, digraphs, CVC words, and more.
See everything that’s included and get your copy here >> The Complete Phonics Bundle.