Stirring Up Phonics Fun (Freebie)

06 May 2015 / 2 comments

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week from Comprehension Connection and Classroom Tested Resources!  We are so tired by this time of the year, and so are the children. We all are in need of a little fun before the year ends.  We've worked hard making sure each part of the curriculum has been addressed, and so today, I'm going to share a few fun ways to work on phonics.  After all, an understanding of phonics is one key ingredient to becoming a skilled reader. It builds automaticity which is one component of fluent reading.

Word Study Cards for Push It Say It and Making WordsOne simple, but effective game I've used with my students was created by my colleague, Carolyn. This gal got the best results, and I promise you, your students will really improve their use of word chunks and patterns if you make Alphabet Soup often. 

The first step to making Alphabet Soup is to download the freebie to the left and print each page on colored cardstock, laminate them, and cut apart. Put small letter and word family cards aside for later. The sound cards are what you need for making Alphabet Soup.  
1. Flash sound cards to students. Put the known sounds (ingredients) into the cooking pot.
2. Stir them up with your wooden spoon. Then, pull one sound at a time and ask students to write words with the secret ingredient.
3. Have students write all possible ways to spell the mystery word and star the one "they have seen in print".
4. Compare spellings and discuss pattern. The idea is simple, but yet with a few props and enthusiasm, it becomes a game.

Another fun game you can do with the letter/word family cards from this set is play Flip It.  Having students make both real and pseudo words helps students recognize patterns more quickly in unfamiliar words. The goal with this game is for students to flip two cards (onset and rime), put them together to form a word, read it, and determine if it is real or pseudo. If it's real, students get to record the word on his/her word list. The student who makes the most real words wins.  As a follow up, teachers can take pseudo words and brainstorm words that may be made from them.  You can check Emily's post over at Adventures in Literacy Land for more on this idea.

Shower curtains or plastic tablecloths can be used easily and cheaply for classroom games. During my reading program, I got a collection of page protectors and taped them in blocks onto a shower liner to create a grid.  It works beautifully for displaying student work, making a class "quilt", and best of all, as a Boggle Board if you place a letter in each page protector. Kids love to connect the letters to see how many words they can form. Placed carefully, the patterns can be used to reinforce word study rules too. 
Do you shop at the Dollar Tree?  Well, they have these adorable pinwheels there that can be used for games to practice word study AND comprehension.  Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad shared this clever idea about a year ago, and it hit me that it could easily be adapted to word study too.  Kids spin it, pinch it, and make as many words as possible with the word family.
This game is great for any time of year.  It's called Web of Words. Students play it like Pin the Tail on the Donkey. They close eyes, pick a card, and make as many words as possible on their dry erase boards.

Speaking of the Dollar Tree, I also picked up this soccerball and made this long vowel patterns game. Students toss the ball to each other and make words with the pattern their right thumb touches (or left choose).  

Pong has a few options.  You can create bingo boards with real and pseudo words using the long vowel word families on these balls.  You could also have students select the ping-pong balls, give them one minute to create as many words as they can and award points based upon how many words are formed.  Both build the student's decoding and word analysis skills.

The last game I am going to share is called Parking Lot. The idea for this game came from Beth Estill at the VSRA conference. She shared the idea with the use of synonyms and antonyms, but I got to thinking that it could be revamped some to use with word study.  Students place word family cards for short vowels (CVC patterns), long vowels (CVCe, CVVC) or diphthongs (aw/au, ow/ou, oi/oy) face down and take turns drawing them. Students make three words with the ending sounds and mark the corresponding sound with their markers (I picked up transportation themed erasers I plan to use, but matchbox cards would be cute too.) If you want to be cheaper, you could also use markers you have on hand too.  I put all of the variations of this game into one large file, and guess what??  One lucky teacher is going to win it and a surprise from Pamela at Mrs. P's Specialties. If you'd like a freebie version for upper elementary, download [this file] to work on overused words/thesaurus skills. To enter, please share an idea you have for phonics fun in the comments below.  We'll pick on winner from all the entries we have here and on our Facebook Page.  The image below is linked to our Facebook page for easy entry there.  If you'd like the purchase the four game set, you can visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store by clicking [here].  It is discounted 28% today.

I believe you are probably as tired as I am if you've made it all the way to the bottom here.  Have a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week. One of the best things about teaching is working with great colleagues, and I could not ask for a better crew of colleagues, administration, and friends at my school. The long hours and demands are sometimes overwhelming, but we work well as a team to get things done.  I wish everyone had that to work with each day.  Add in great kids, and that makes a tough job better.  

Until next time...happy reading and just think...only a few more weeks!!


  1. I love all of your creative ideas! Thank you...I'm heading to the dollar store tomorrow! LOL!

    1. Ahh...thanks Susan! You can get a lot of inspiration just by walking the isles. Good luck and be sure to share your clever ideas too!!


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