Imagine getting a student excited about reading, giving them a game to play—and having all of it focus on particular phonics skills. When you pair the right books with phonics games, you can engage kids and really hit home with particular sound skills.
I’ve had good results with PhonicBooks for getting kids to read, and with the right phonics game match, you can have a really engaging lesson that includes lots of practice on key skills.
Book and phonics games pairings
Choose the sounds you want to focus on and check out the books and games for each. I recommend the 10-book Rescue Series, a range of catch up readers for students aged 8–14 years. The series is about the adventures of Erin who is babysitting her baby brother, Jack, when they run into a bit of trouble.
Books & phonics games for /ae/, /ee/, /oe/, and /er/
The Rescue Series, Book 1: A Great Holiday focuses on the /ae/, spellings: ay, a-e, ai, a, ea, ey.
The Rescue Series, Book 2: The Search Begins highlights /ee/, spellings: ee, ea, y, e, ie, e-e, ei.
Rescue Series, Book 3: Rainbow Fish helps you work with /oe/, spellings: ow, oa, oe, o-e, o.
The Rescue Series, Book 4: On with the Search gives practice with /er/, spellings: er, ir, ur, or, ear.
Pair book 1 with sound bingo for the /ae/ sound. You can also pair these four books with cootie catchers or Spin, Read, Write games focused on the same sounds. And no need to make your own. I have both phonics games targeted for these sound focus areas:
Phonics Games: Spin, Read, Write Set A
Phonics Cootie Catchers: Set A
Books & phonics games for /ow/, /oo/, /oi/, and /ie/
The Rescue Series, Book 5: A Long Way Down tackles /ow/, spellings: ow, ou & /oi/, spellings: oy, oi.
The Rescue Series, Book 6: A Gruesome Monster covers /oo/, spellings: oo, ue, u-e, ew, ou, u.
The Rescue Series, Book 7: Time is Running Out focuses on /ie/, spellings: igh, ie, i-e, i, y.
You can pair book 7 with Fly the Kite board game, which focuses on the /ie/ sound. You can also use Spin, Read, Write or Cootie Catchers which focuses on the sounds in these books:
Phonics Games: Spin, Read, Write Set B
Phonics Cootie Catchers: Set A
Books & phonics games for /or/ and /air/
The Rescue Series, Book 8: An Awful Planet focuses on /or/, spellings: or, ore, a, aw, au, ar, awe, al, ough.
The Rescue Series, Book 9: No Time to Spare covers /air/, spellings: air, are, ear, ere, eir.
If you are looking for phonics games to cover /or/ or /air/ sounds, try these:
Phonics Games: Spin, Read, Write Set C
Phonics Cootie Catchers: Set B
Of course, these aren’t the only pairings. Do you have a book you love to use? Choose games—bingo; cootie catchers; 4-in-a-row games; board games; spin, read, write, and more—that focus on the same sounds. You can lead with the game to introduce and practice the sounds, and then read the book and let students benefit from their knowledge of the sound. Or read the book first and send kids home with the game to continue practice.
Whether you are working on specific vowel sounds or CVC words or digraphs, you can pair engaging books with fun games. Once you’ve got your books, check out The Complete Phonics Kit for a variety of games to have at the ready as you tackle different sounds with students.