Kids love playing games so I have a lot of phonics games in my teaching bag of tricks. Do you play games in your classroom? While games are sometimes seen as a distraction or break or maybe even a treat for Friday they are actually a fabulous teaching tool. Games get kids engaged and give them multiple chances to practice skills.
Do you ever feel the need to justify playing games in the classroom? It’s good to know why you are playing games and what kids are learning. Fortunately, that’s not too hard with most games.
Games may get kids moving or at least taking a different action than the pencil and paper activities they do a lot of. That helps some kids process information. On the other hand, some games incorporate writing down words, providing practice with that skill. Games like Snap make kids work on speed, which can help with fluency. For some kids, a little competition is a great motivator. Depending on the particular phonics game, kids can practice reading skills like segmenting and blending, writing and spelling words, and saying words and sounds. They also learn about the sequence of events, using rules, taking turns, and cooperation.
Phonics games for alternative spellings
There are so many great phonics games you can use with small groups, have in your literacy or phonics station, or even play as a class.
Spin-a-Word. Once you have a game board, there is no set up for this game. Students grasp the rules quickly and get practice reading and writing phonics words.
Students take turns spinning the spinner, reading the word and then writing it in any open space in the game grid. The first player to get four words in a row wins.
I love this game for its versatility. You can use it for:
- Part of a literacy station. Teach students to play the game and then let them play in pairs in your literacy station.
- Independent practice. While this is a partner game, students can play alone by spinning to get a word and then writing the words in the grid. Tell them how many words they should write or have them fill in the whole grid.
- Home practice. Send a copy of the board home with students who need additional practice and they can play the game with their family for consolidation of skills.
Classic Games. You can create phonics games out of classic games like Bingo, Go Fish or Concentration. You just need cards printed with your target words or sounds for kids to match up. One benefit of games like these is that students may already understand basic play. Even if they do, introduce and demonstrate how to play. Explain how the game works in your classroom so that everyone is playing by the same rules.
Spelling Sort. Try a Spelling Sort for alternative spellings. Once you’ve introduced a sound and the ways to spell it, ask students to think of words with that sound. They may be words on your word list or other words students think of. Set up stations around the room with different ways to spell the sound. Have students write their word on a card and deliver it to the station with the correct spelling of the key sound.
Phonics games made easy
Prep time for games is sometimes one of the drawbacks for teachers. If you love the idea of introducing more phonics games but don’t have time to make up cards or boards, you’ll love the Spin A Word Phonics Game Bundle.
You get more than 100 different game boards that cover a wide range of sounds and their alternate spellings:
- Sound /ae/, Spellings: ay, ea, a-e, ai, ai, eigh, ei
- Sound /ee/, Spellings: e, ea, y, ee, ey, ie
- Sound /oe/, Spellings: o, oa, ow, o-e, oe
- Sound /er/, Spellings: er, ir, or, ur, ear
- Sound /e/, Spellings: e, ea, ai
- Sound /ow/, Spellings: ou, ow
- Sound m/oo/n, Spellings: oo, ew, ue, u-e, o, ui, u
- Sound /ie/, Spellings: i, ie, y, i-e, igh
- Sound b/oo/k, Spellings: oo, u, oul
- Sound /u/, Spellings: u, ou, o, oo
- Sound /s/, Spellings: s, ss, st, c, ce, se, sc
- Sound /l/, Spellings: l, ll, al, el, il, le, ol
- Sound /or/, Spellings: or, aw, a, ar, au, al
- Sound /air/, Spellings: air, are, ear, ere, eir, ayer, ayor
- Sound /ue/, Spellings: ue, ew, u, u-e
Download, print, laminate … and you’re ready to use these games in your classroom or for additional practice at home.