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Find That Sound

This is a fun game for beginners just learning the alphabet and the sound each letter makes. You’ll need a flash card for each letter, with a magnet attached to the blank side of each card. Place the letter cards in random order on the white board, and divide the class into two teams.

To play the game, one student from each team stands in front of the white board. The teacher makes the sound of a letter (don’t say the name of the letter, just make the sound it makes – sss, not ess) and the students race to find the letter that makes that sound. The student who finds it first takes the flash card off the white board and hands it to the teacher.

This game is very fast-paced, and gives you an idea of which phonics concepts the students are struggling with.

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Word Relay

Divide students into teams. Students line up in front of the board, and each team has a starting word written on the board. (A fun way to start is for each team to choose a name – Elephant versus Tiger – and the team name is the starting word.)

For game play, each student on the team has to write a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. For example,

Elephant 

Tea 

Apple 

Easy

and so on. If this is the first time playing, make sure students understand that each word depends on the word before it – some kids get confused and think every word should start with the same letter. The game ends after a time limit (two to three minutes works well) or when one team reaches a target number of words (20, for example).

Note: I allow team members to help each other out with word suggestions or spelling, and don’t allow repeated words (including words that the other team used). A good rule to institute is that students may not shout out the spelling of a word that the student is struggling with, but have to shout out the sound of the letter that comes next instead. For example, a student is struggling with the word Mexican and has written only Mexi____. students can shout “Kuh! Kuh!” (student writes c) “Ah! Ah!” (student writes a) “Nnn! Nnn!” (student writes n).