Blending and segmenting, CVC words, alternate spellings for long e or long a or any other sound … there’s so much to teach when it comes to literacy, and I’m passionate about doing it right. From posters to word walls and games of I spy, literacy learning happens all around my classroom. It happens at desks with literacy activity sheets and in spelling and literacy centers with literacy games and cootie catchers and at home with review sheets or games to help students consolidate skills.
Having a slew of literacy activities and games makes teaching so much easier. And my collection provides different ways for my students to practice because it gets boring doing the same old thing all the time. When I pull out a matching activity sheet one day and cootie catchers or bingo the next day and a word puzzle to wrap up the week on Friday, I know that we are practicing the same skills but it feels different to my students.
Literacy activities and games for your classroom
Here are some of my favorite literacy activities and games:
1. I Spy
You can adapt this group game to practice blending and segmenting or to help students with specific sounds or blends.
This is another game that is infinitely adaptable. You can use it to practice specific sounds or specific words. All you need is BINGO cards set up with the target sounds or words and a list of words to call out.
3. Word puzzles
These work well for CVC words, consonant blends, and practice with other concepts. Students have to put puzzle pieces together to correctly form words. Puzzles can have just the word parts on them OR they can have a picture at the top with the word below. This set up allows students to use the picture to check that they have the word assembled correctly. Check out this example of consonant blend puzzles.
4. Cootie catchers
My students love cootie catchers (you may call them fortune tellers or chatterboxes), so they are a great way to practice phonics. The trickiest part of making cootie catchers is putting the words, pictures, and sounds in the right places. (I can help with that. Check out these ready to print phonics cootie catchers.) The second trickiest part is folding them, but a video walks you through it pretty quickly — and my students seem to know how to do it.
5. Playdough mats
The obvious way to use playdough mats is with playdough. Students use the dough to make letters that they then put on the mat as they say and blend the sounds, but since the mats are laminated, students can also write on them with a dry erase marker.
This matching card game is based on speed, which can be great for kids working on fluency. You’ll need cards with your target words on them.
7. Go Fish
Many kids are familiar with this classic card game, which can be a plus because they can focus more on the words than on learning the rules. Kids try to get sets of 4 words that match.
This is another classic game, sometimes called Memory. Cards (in this case with words on them) are laid out face down in a grid. Students take turns flipping the cards to make a pair. If they make a pair they keep the cards. Have students read every word they flip over for practice.
This game includes a spinner with words and a blank grid. Students take turns spinning and writing their word on the grid in their color. The first person to get 4 in a row wins.
10. Build a Word
Students use letters (keep it fun by printing them on interesting shapes) to build words. This works great for CVC words and can be adapted to focus on digraphs, consonant blends, or other types of words.
11. Scavenger Hunt
Have students do a scavenger hunt in your classroom for specific sounds. Have them write down the words for things they see. For example, if you were working on ‘ck’, students might write clock, block, locker. If you were working on long e sounds, they might write jeans, teacher, feet, teeth, twenty, … If you are working on multiple spellings, you can extend the game by having students sort the words by spelling.
These 11 literacy activities and games can be adapted for so many different words or sounds. Imagine having cards or game boards or activity sheets or cootie catchers already created for you. All you need to do is download, print, and cut or laminate as needed. I have a lot of literacy activities in my store, but there is an even better way to have literacy activities and so many more resources at your fingertips: The Top Notch Teaching Members Club.
Membership starts with access to over 20 downloadable PDF products (at a value of more than $150 USD). Each month, a minimum of 5 products will be added. It’s a mix of literacy, math, science, PE, and classroom management tools. No more searching all over for just the right activity. No more scrambling to pull together new resources. You know exactly where to go for on-demand teaching advice, resources, and materials that save you time