Spelling games are an essential part of my teaching toolkit. Spelling is something most students need lots of practice with, but that can start to feel repetitive and boring. Spelling games to the rescue!
The most obvious reason to use spelling games in your classroom is that kids love games. But beyond that? Spelling games give students a chance to spell and check their words, often multiple times. They also see or hear other students spelling the word, reinforcing again or making them check what they know. Some games give students an opportunity to manipulate words physically, for example, sliding letter tiles together to form words. Some encourage speed, which builds fluency.
And spelling games allow students to practice a variety of skills, like segmenting, blending, and manipulation, saying both words and sounds, reading and writing. Those are just the spelling skills (don’t overlook the fact that games teach other skills like sequencing, cooperation, turn-taking.) Spelling games give kids the practice they need and keep kids engaged. Win-win.
Spelling games for your classroom
Classic card games like Go Fish, Snap, and Concentration convert easily to spelling games. Simply print out cards with your target words for kids to match. You’ll need two or four of each word.
Go Fish is a great small group game. One student deals seven cards to each player and spreads the extra cards, face down, in the center. Players try to get books of 4 of the same word. The first player 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, the asker 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. Play continues until one player has all of their cards in books.
Snap is a great game to practice speed and fluency. This is a game for pairs and uses a deck with 2–4 cards for each word. One player deals out all the cards, face down, so that each player starts with half the deck. At the same time, students flip the top card of their pile. If the cards do not match, both players flip the next card. If the cards match, the first person to say “snap” wins all the cards that have been flipped over. Alternatively and for more practice, have the player say the word that matches instead of snap. Play continues until one person has all the cards or for a set amount of time, at which point the person with the most cards wins.
Concentration or Memory is a matching game that can be played by 2–4 players. Use a deck of word cards with two of each word. Lay out all of the cards in a grid, word-side down. The first player turns over two cards and reads both words aloud. If the words match, the student keeps the pair. If not, they turn the two cards face down again. The next person does the same. Play continues until all the cards have been matched. The player with the most word pairs wins.
More spelling games coming right up
I love to share spelling games because I don’t think you can ever have enough. The Topnotch Teaching Spelling Game Challenge starts today!
Here’s how it works: Sign up and each day I’ll email you a new spelling game along with a short explanation on how to use it. You try out the games with your students and then share your experience in our Facebook group (and there are FUN prizes for participating).
The Spelling Game Challenge is a sneak peek of a new product that’s launching as part of the Top Notch Teaching Members Club. The Top Notch Teaching Members Club is an on-demand library of quality, time-saving teaching resources opening in March. Join the waitlist now.
Go ahead and get on the waitlist for the members club, but don’t miss out on the Spelling Game Challenge that starts TODAY!