Too often students dread spelling and think of it as boring, rote memorization. Classroom spelling games to the rescue!
I use classroom spelling games to bring variety to spelling review and spelling practice. You can even use them for a spelling warm up. Students love them anytime, but they are especially welcome after a tough tutoring session or a long week. Keep students guessing and pop spelling games into your literacy stations from time to time.
When you use spelling games, students:
- Get multiple opportunities to spell and check their words
- Are more engaged in spelling review and may get more out of it
- See or hear other students spelling the word. This makes students check what they know. If it’s incorrect, they can mentally correct it. If it is correct, it reinforces what they know.
- Can, in some cases, manipulate words physically, for example, sliding letter tiles together to form words.
- Build speed and fluency often.
Convinced that spelling games have a place in your classroom? It’s time to get some (or some more) classroom spelling games!
The best classroom spelling games to try
It’s great to have a mix of spelling games that cover different skills. I also like to have a mix of game types including spelling board games and other games students recognize remixed for spelling review.
Start with 5 days of spelling games in the Spelling Game Challenge (it’s free!)
Then try these classic games adapted as classroom spelling games:
1. Go Fish is a spelling variation of the classic card game. The dealer passes seven cards to each player and spreads the extra cards, face down, in the center. The goal is to get sets of 4 of the same word. Player 1 asks another player for a word in their hand. The other player has to hand over any cards with that word. If the player doesn’t have any cards with the words, Player 1 has to “go fish” and choose a card from the center. If they get the word they asked for, they can ask another player for the same word or ask for another word. If they do not get the word they ask for, the next player goes. The game ends when one player has all of their cards in sets.
2. Memory is another classic card game adapted for spelling review. You’ll need a set of word cards with two of each word. Lay the cards out in a grid, word-side down. Player 1 turns over two cards and reads both words aloud. If the words match, the student keeps the cards. If not, they flip the cards face down again. Player 2 does the same. The game ends when all the cards are matched up. The player with the most word pairs wins.
3. Spelling Snap turns the fast-paced card game into a tool for spelling review to practice speed and fluency. You’ll need a word deck with 2–4 cards for each word. Player 1 player deals out all the cards, face down, so that each player starts with half the deck. Then both players flip the top card on their pile at the same time. If the cards match, the first person to say “snap” wins all the cards that have been flipped over. To practice reading the word, have the player say the word on the matching cards instead of Snap. The game ends when one player has all the cards, or after a set amount of time has passed, at which point the person with the most cards wins.
4. Jenga Game. Looking for a game with high frequency words or any other spelling words? Pile on the fun with The First Grade Diaries’ spelling version of Jenga. Get your students reading the words, before they remove them and then stack them on top.
5. Spelling Snakes and Ladders. This spelling board game is perfect for spellers to practice CVC words and digraphs.
6. Word family tic tac toe. This game found on Kids Activities Blog can be used with any spelling list and is a great way to practice reading and writing if you get your students to make their own boards.
7. Spelling battleship. Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational turned the traditional game of battleship into a spelling game. Kids love this one!
8. Who can spell the most words? Do you have students who like Connect Four? Try this spelling game by No Time For Flashcards.
9. Phonics Bingo. This advanced code bingo set includes 91 spelling patterns in 20 different games.
10. More Spelling Bingo. If bingo works for you, why not get done-for-you boards with even more spelling words and patterns included?
You can also add these unique spelling board games and activities:
11. Guess my group. This game is one of a variety of activities that are part of Spelling Activities for Any Word List. Students classify words and play a guessing game with a partner for more spelling review.
12. 3D word search. Another classroom spelling game from No Time For Flashcards. One of my students loved playing word search games on the iPad, and this was a great no-tech replacement. There are even great ideas to adapt for different levels.
13. Spell It. One game board, lots of lists to make spelling review fun! And there are versions for beginner and advanced words for more versatility.
14. Tap the Right Spelling. Students tap the right spelling pattern for a given word. Great for advanced code students.
15. Roll and Write Games. This fun partner game that gets kids writing and saying spelling words can also be adapted for individual play.
Check out this video tutorial of classroom spelling games for more ideas.
What are your favorite classroom spelling games?