Make It, Play It, Read It - Westfield Public Schools

Make It, Play It, Read It - Westfield Public Schools
Make It,
Play It,
Read It
activities &
games for
parents and
Title 1 Program
Westfield Public Schools
Silent e Words
at ate
mat mate
tap tape
bar bare
nap nape
them theme
bath bathe
not note
Tim time
bit bite
pal pale
tub tube
can cane
pan pane
twin twine
cap cape
par pare
us use
car care
pet Pete
win wine
cop cope
cub cube
plan plane
cut cute
pop pope
dim dime
quit quite
din dine
rat rate
fad fade
rid ride
far fare
rip ripe
fat fate
rod rode
fin fine
glob globe
scar scare
grip gripe
scrap scrape
hat hate
her here
shin shine
hid hide
sit site
hop hope
slid slide
hug huge
slim slime
kit kite
slop slope
mad made
star stare
man mane
strip stripe
one –won
This booklet contains simple, fun activities you can do at home with
your child to develop and encourage literacy skills. The ideas are
listed by category:
Alphabet Skills
Activities with Magnetic Letters
Phonemic Awareness
Sight Words
CVC (consonant—vowel-consonant words)
Building Words / Word Families
Reading Fluency
Writing and Storytelling
The most difficult part of compiling these activities was deciding
how to categorize them and assign each activity to a section. For
example, reading CVC (consonant—vowel—consonant) words
requires letter recognition and phonemic awareness. But... they
can be used to explore word families, and adding a letter can
bring the word into the category of blends or silent-e words. Since
no one literacy skill exists in isolation, the categories are a only
general guide.
Because these are simple activities, they can be easily changed to
fit a variety of skills. Zap! is listed as a sight word game, but a
change of words could make it useful for silent-e words or
-controlled vowels. Similarly, games based on classics like Bingo,
Concentration, Go Fish, Connect Four or Dominoes can be used for
almost any skill. Experiment with variations you or your child think of.
And most of all,
Dolch (Sight Words)
Alphabet Skills
One of the first steps in moving from oral language to being a reader
is learning about the alphabet—letter shape recognition, letter name
knowledge, letter sound knowledge, the ability to print letters and
rapid letter naming .
Underwater I Spy—You will need alphabet beads, glitter,
sequins and corn syrup. Ask your child to find one bead
of each letter of the alphabet. You can use two of each
if you have enough beads. Drop the beads into the
bottle. Add sequins and some glitter. Add corn syrup until
the bottle is half full. The corn syrup slows down the
motion of the contents and prevents the glitter from sticking together. Add water until the bottle is almost filled.
You might want glue the bottle cap on the bottle! Give
the bottle to your child and ask him to shake it. How many letters can
he spy? Can he find the letters in his name? The entire alphabet?
Bottle Cap Memory—Make letter caps (see the magnetic letters section. Make two of each letter—one
upper case and one lower case. Choose 5 or 6 pairs
of caps and place them face down. Take turns lifting
up a cap, then trying to find its matching letter.
Find the Sound—Write letters on sticky notes and have your child post
them on objects that start with the sound.
Alphabet War—Make alphabet cards by writing one letter on each
of 52 cards. Make 2 cards for each letter. This game is for two
players—each gets half of the shuffled deck. Both players turn over a
card from their pile. Whoever turns over the card with the higher
value wins both cards — A has the lowest value, and Z the highest
value. You may want to write the alphabet on a strip of paper to
make it easier to determine the relative values of cards. In the event
of a tie, turn over 2 more cards—the winner gets all 4 cards.
Letter Massage—Using one finger, write a letter on each other‘s back
and guess which letter it is.
List 1
List 2
List 3
List 4
List 5
-isk: brisk, disk, frisk, risk, whisk
Alphabet Skills, continued
-ist: fist, list, mist, twist, wrist
-ine: dine, find, line, mine, nine, pine, shine, spine, vine, wine
-ind: bind, blind, find, grind, kind, mind, wind
-ock: block, clock, dock, flock, knock, lock, rock, sock
-oil: boil, broil, coil, foil, soil, spoil
-omp: chomp, clomp, romp stomp, tromp
-ong: bong, gong, long, pong, song
-orn: born, corn, horn, scorn, thorn, torn, worn
-uck: buck, cluck, duck, luck, pluck, stuck, suck, truck, tuck
-ump: bump, dump, hump, jump. lump, plump, pump, stump
-ung: clung, flung, hung, sprung, strung, sung
-unk: bunk, chunk, dunk, flunk, hunk, skunk, sunk, trunk
-unt: blunt, bunt, hunt, punt, runt
-ush: blush, brush, crush, flush, hush, mush, rush, slush
-ust: bust, dust, gust, just, must, rust
Four-letter word ending combinations (word families/chunks)
The combinations and words listed are examples, not complete lists
-atch: batch, catch, hatch, latch, match, patch
-etch: fetch, retch, sketch, stretch, wretch
-ight: bright, light, might, right, sight, slight, tight
-itch: ditch, hitch, pitch, stitch, switch, witch
-ouch: couch, crouch, grouch, pouch, slouch, vouch
-ound: bound, found, ground, hound, mound, pound, round, sound
Clip Match—You will need a paper plate and
clothespins to make an upper/lower case clip
match. Around the edge of a plate, write an uppercase alphabet. On each clothespin, write a
lower case letter. Ask your child to match the letters.
Pasta Letters—You will need uncooked elbow macaroni and
spaghetti for this activity. Write a name or word, making sure the
curves and straight lines of the letters are obvious. Help your child use
pieces of spaghetti and elbow noodles to form the curves and
straight lines of each letter.
Magic Jar—Have your child decorate a jar or can which has a lid.
Cut small cards that will fit in the magic jar. Ask your child to write one
letter of the alphabet on each card. To play, shake the jar. Players
take turns removing one card. The player then attempts to name
three things that start with that letter while the other player counts on
her fingers to 10. If the player names three appropriate words in that
time, she keeps the card. If not, it goes back in the jar, which is
shaken again. The person who collects the most cards wins the
game. When an adult/or older child plays with a younger child,
require the adult to name 4 or 5 things that start with the letter.
Alphabet Swing— Play this game with your child while you are on the
swingset. The first person calls out a letter or letter and it‘s sound (for
younger children). The other player tries to name a word that starts
with that letter on the next upswing. Can you get through the whole
alphabet without having to start over?
Variation: Take turns saying the letters of the alphabet in order.
Box Bounce—You will need a small box and a ball for this activity.
Stand facing your child with your child holding the box. Bounce the
ball once between you and your child, then have her catch it in the
box. Repeat, each time saying a letter as you begin to bounce the
ball. Your child should try to say the sound the letter makes, or a word
Magnetic Letters
Three-letter word ending combinations (word families/chunks)
The combinations and words listed are examples, not complete lists
Magnetic letters are available in the toy section of most department
stores and can often be found in dollar stores. If possible, get both
upper and lower case letters for you child to work with. If you don‘t
have magnetic letters, for many of the activities you can use:
-aft: craft, draft, raft, shaft
-all: ball, call, fall, hall, small, tall, wall
LETTER CAPS—if you don‘t have magnetic
letters, or to try something different, you can
use the tops from water bottles or milk cartons.
Clearly print one letter on each cap (inside or
on top – your choice). Use a different color
cap or pen for upper and lower case letters.
-amp: camp, champ, clamp, damp, lamp, ramp, stamp, tramp
LETTER LINKS—You will need Lego or similar
interlocking blocks and small stickers for this
activity. Put a sticker on each cube. Write letters
(or word chunks) on the stickers. Children can put
cubes together to form words, or use the blocks
individually for sorting.
-ash: bash, cash, crash, dash, flash, rash, smash, splash, trash
Here are some activities which use magnetic letters.:
Sort & Match—Ask your child to sort or match letters by
Slanting lines vs. straight lines: v, w, x - p, b, l, d, r, h, t
Upper / lower case letters
Tails / no tails: y, p, q, j - m, n, w, r, s, x, c
Circles / no circles: o, b, p, a, d, g - k, x, w, h, r, f
Tunnels / no tunnels: h, u, n, m - j, g, b, f, c, s, o
Long sticks / short sticks: h, d, p, p, h - r, u, m
Tall short letters: t, h, d, f, b - m, c, o, n, x, r
Dots / no dots: i, j - m, o, l, p, s
Same upper case—lower case / Different upper case—lower
case: Cc, Oo, Pp, Ss, Vv - Aa, Bb, Dd, Ee
-ack: back, black, crack, pack, quack, rack, snack, track
-and: band, brand, grand, hand, land, sand, stand
-ang: bang, clang, gang, hand, rang, sang, slang
-ank: bank, blank, crank, rank, sank, spank, tank, thank, yank
-ant: pant, plant, rant, slant
-ask: bask, cask, mask, task
-ast: cast, fast, last, mast, past
-ave: brave, cave, crave, gave, pave, save, shave, slave, wave
-eck: check, deck, fleck, neck, peck, speck, wreck
-eft: cleft, heft, left, theft
-ell: bell, fell, sell, shell, smell, spell, tell, well, yell
-end: bend, blend, lend, mend, send, spend, tend
-ent: bent, cent, dent, sent, tent, vent, went
-est: best, chest, guest, nest, pest, quest, rest, test, west
-ice: dice, nice, price, rice, slice, spice, twice
-ick: brick, chick, kick, lick, pick, quick, sick, thick, trick, wick
-ill: bill, hill, fill, hill, kill, pill, spill, still, will
-ilt: built, guilt, kilt, quilt, spilt, tilt, wilt
-imp: blimp, chimp, crimp, limp, skimp
-ing: bring, cling, fling, king, ring, sing, spring, string, thing, wing
What’s Missing? - Put some of the letters in alphabetical order, but
leave one out. Can your child name the missing letter?
-ink: blink, drink, link, pink, shrink, sink, think, wink
Make New Words —Build several words and show your child how to
change, add or take away letters to make a new word.
-ish: dish, fish, squish, swish, wish
-int: glint, hint, lint, mint, print, splint, squint, tint
-ot: cot, dot, got, hot, knot, lot, not, pot, rot, tot
-ox: box, fox, lox, pox
-ub: club, cub, rub, scrub, shrub, stub, sub, tub
-ud: bud, cud, dud, mud, thud
-ug: bug, dug, hug, jug, lug, mug, rug, shrug, tug
-um: bum, drum, gum, hum, plum, run, sum
-un: bun, fun, gun, run, stun, sun
-ut: but, cut, gut, hut, nut, rut, shut
Magnetic Letters, continued
Crossword Letters—Make a word and then ask your child to add a
word that starts with one of the letters. For example: h a t
p I n
Connecting Words—Ask your child to make a word and then make
another word that is like it in some way (starts the same, ends the
same, rhymes). Have her tell how it is the same.
Letters To Go—Find an old cookie sheet and put
some magnetic letters in a baggie. An instant
travel game!
Missing Letters—Make the last part of a word such as __ick, __air, __ell
and have your child put one or two letters in the beginning to make
a word. Repeat with the missing letters at the end of words.
Letter Game—Each player starts with 6 letters. The players try to make
words with their letters, then take turns taking one new letter at a
time from a bag. The first player to use all his letters wins the game.
Letter Bingo—Make two bingo cards with a grid of three boxes across
and three down. Trace one lowercase letter in each box. Use
different letters for each card. Put a pile of magnetic letters that are
represented on the cards and some that are not in a bowl. Take turns
taking a letter out of the bowl, say the letter and try to match to your
card. The first person to fill three boxes in a row wins.
Letter Pictures—Magnetic letters come in all shapes and sizes and
can be arranged in many different ways. Try to make a picture using
the letters. Rotate them to get different shapes and angles. Funny
looking creatures or faces are an excellent way to start—use 2 e‘s for
eyes, a J for a nose and an O for a mouth.
How Many Words? Write down a long word, such as vacation. Have
your child spell the word with the letters, then use the letters to make
as many words as possible. Having the letters to physically change
and move makes this activity easier than the paper-only version.
Magnetic Letters, continued
3 Cent Words—You will need three pennies (or other small objects) for
this activity. Draw three lines on a piece of paper: _ _ _. Think of a
CVC word. Place 10 magnetic letters above the lines—the 3 letters in
the word and 7 others. If you don‘t have magnetic letters you can
use bottlecap letters or small cards. Slowly say the word, emphasizing
each letter sound. Ask the child to choose a letter. If that sound is in
the word, place it on the correct line. If the sound is not in the word,
put a penny under the word. Repeat until all three sounds have been
matched with a letter. The goal is to have 3 pennies or less under the
word. Keep track of your child‘s progress. Soon you will be able to
say “Yesterday that was a 3 cent word. Today it is a 2 cent word!”
Acrostic Poems—Choose a word with your child and arrange it on
a magnetic surface. Then, using each letter, think of a word that
corresponds to the chosen word. For example, if the word was CAT C could stand for Cuddly, A for Animal and T for Trouble. If you have
enough letters, arrange the main word in a vertical line and then use
the other letters to spell the other words.
Mixed Up Words—Select the letters that form a simple word that your
child knows and mix them up. Help your child rearrange the letters to
remake the word.
Choose 1 Letter—Select one letter and put it in the middle of the
refrigerator. Ask your child to find as many object as he can that start
with that letter. To extend the game, use a blend such as TH or SH or
try to find items with double letters such as STOOL or FEET.
Letter in the Circle—Draw two circles and place a letter in each.
Have your child put letters in each circle and have them say how
they are alike. For older children, make the circles overlap—the overlap area is for letters with both attributes. For example, the left circle
could contain letters with only straight lines (t, y, x).
The right circle could be for letters with only curves
(c, o, s). The overlapping area would be for letters
with both attributes (p, m).
Two-letter word ending combinations (word families/chunks)
The combinations and words listed are examples, not complete lists
-ab: cab, crab, dab, gab, nab, slab, scab, stab
-ad: bad, dad, fad, glad, had, mad, pad, sad
-ag: bag, brag, drag, flag, gag, rag, sag, tag, wag
-am: clam, ham, jam, ram, slam, swam, yam
-an: can, fan, man, pan, plan, ran, tan, van
-ap: cap, clap, flap, lap, map, nap, snap, trap, zap
-at: bat, cat, fat, flat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, vat
-ax: fax, lax, max, sax, tax, wax
-ay: clay, day, gay, hay, may, pay, play, say, stay, way
-ed: bed, fed, fled, led, red, sled, wed
-eg: beg, dreg, keg, leg, peg
-em: gem, hem, stem, them
-en: den, hen, men, pen, ten, then, when, wren
-et: bet, get, jet, let, met, net, pet, set, wet, yet
-ib: bib, fib, rib
-id: bid, did, hid, kid, lid, rid, skid, slid
-ig: big, dig, fig, jig, pig, twig, wig
-im: dim, him, rim, skim, slim swim, trim
-in: chin, fin, pin, sin, skin, spin, thin, twin, win
-ip: dip, drip, flip, lip, rip, sip, skip, slip, trip, zip
-it: bit, fit, hit, kit, knit, lit, pit, quit, sit, spit, split
-ix: fix, mix, six
-ob: blob, cob, job, knob, mob, rob, slob, sob
-od: cod, pod, rod, sod
-og: dog, fog, frog, hog, jog, log, smog
-op: cop, chop, drop, flop, hop, mop, pop, shop, stop, top
Final consonant blends and word examples
-ct—collect, correct, effect, exact, fact, reject, select, subject
-ft—craft, draft, gift, left, lift, shift, soft, swift, theft, tuft
-ld—bald, bold, build, child, cold, gold, hold, old, sold, told
-lf— elf, golf, herself, himself, myself, self, shelf, wolf, yourself
-lk—bulk, chalk, elk, hulk, mild, silk, sulk, talk, walk
-lm—balm, calm, elm, film, helm, realm
-lp—gulp. Help, pulp, scalp, yelp
-lt—adult, belt, colt, felt, fault, guilt, halt, insult, melt, quilt, result, salt
-mp—bump, camp, damp, dump, jump, lamp, shrimp, stamp
-nc(e) - advance, bounce, dance, fence, once, prince, since
-nch—bench, branch, crunch, French, inch, lunch, pinch, ranch
-nd—band, blend, found, friend, hand, pound, round, sand, wind
-nk—bank, black, drink, ink, junk, pink, shrink, thank, think, wink
-nt—ant, cent, faint, front, paint, plant, sent, spent, squint, tent
-pt—accept, adopt, concept, disrupt, Egypt, kept, script, swept
-rb—adverb, blurb, curb, disturb, herb, superb, urban, verb
-rg(e) - emerge, gargle, gorge, large, merge, splurge, urge
-rk—bark, clerk, dark, fork, park, shark, spark, stark, stork
-rl—curl, girl, hurl, pearl, snarl, swirl, twirl, whirl
-rm—arm, farm, fern, germ, inform, perform, storm, term, warm worm
-rn—barn, born, corn, earn, horn, learn, return, torn, turn, worn, yarn
-rp—burp, chirp, sharp, slurp, tarp, warp
-rs(e) - course, curse, nurse, purse, reverse, universe, verse, worse
Magnetic Letters, continued
Chicka Chicka Tree—If your child has read Chicka
Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (and if they
haven‘t they should!) this is a fun alternative to using
magnetic letters on the refrigerator or a cookie sheet.
You will need small coffee cans (metal), duct tape,
brown paint and green felt or fun foam. Tape
together 3 or 4 stacked coffee cans. Spray paint the
cans brown. Use green felt to make the leaves of the
coconut tree.
Alternatives: Instead of painting the cans you can
cover them with wood grain adhesive shelf paper.
Artificial ferns can be used for the palm leaves.
Building Words—Give your child a pile of letters and tell him to make
and write as many words as he can.
Scoop and Spell—This activity teaches children to use onsets and
rimes as a help in making words. Give each player 7 consonants and
3 vowels. They then they use these letters to make as many words as
they can. Each letter can only be used once in each word unless the
player has more than one of the same letter.
Feely Bag—You will need a bag your child can not see through and
magnetic letters. Put some letters in the bag. Have your child reach
in the bag and pick a letter, keeping it in the bag. Ask her to feel the
letter and guess what letter it is. If she is right she keeps the letter. If
the child guesses incorrectly the letter stays in the bag. With younger
children you can preview the letters before you put them in the bag.
Stack & Change—Spread out one or more sets of magnetic letters so
each letter is
visible. One Player builds a consonant-vowelconsonant word, such as cat, mop, but). Players then take turns
stacking one letter on top of any one letter in the previous word to
form a ―real‖ word. Continue playing changing only one letter until a
player cannot make a new word. The last player to form a word is
the winner.
Phonemic Awareness
Phonemic Awareness is the ability to notice, think about and
manipulate the individual sounds in words. It is the ability to understand that sounds in spoken language work together to make words.
scr—cram, scramble, scrap, scrape, scratch, scream, screw, scrub
shr—shrank, shred, shriek, shrimp, shrine, shrink, shrivel, shrub, shrug
spl—splash, splatter, splendid, splint, splinter, split, splotch, splurge
Spotlight Sounds—You will need a flashlight for this activity. Sit with your
child in a familiar, dark room. Make a letter sound and ask your child
to shine the flashlight on an object that starts with that sound.
spr—sprain, sprang, spray, spread, spring, sprinkle, sprout, spruce
Guess My Rule—This game will help your child listen to words and note
similarities and differences. One person chooses two words that follow
a secret rule (short a sound, ends with d sound, rhymes with hat). The
other person tries to guess the rule by asking ―Does ____ fit your rule?‖.
When the person guesses the rule, switch roles.
thr—thread, threat, three, thrill, throat, throne, through, throw, thrown
Shake a Sound—You will need an egg carton for this activity. If the
carton has openings on the top, tape a piece of paper over the
openings to cover them. Write a consonant or blend in each cup of
the carton. Have your child place a penny in the carton, close the lid
and shake it. Open the carton and say the
sound of the letter(s) on which the penny
landed. Ask your child to say a word beginning with that sound.
ph—phantom, phase, pheasant, phone, photo, phrase, physician
Syllable I Spy—Review with your child how words can be divided into
syllables. Cut a piece of paper into small strips and write a number
from 1-4 on each strip. Put the strips in a bag or basket. The first player
picks a slip of paper. He must come up with an object in the room
for the other player to guess, but it must have the number of syllables
written on the slip of paper he drew. He then gives a clue with the
number of syllables and one other hint: ―I spy something red with two
syllables‖ or ―I spy something you eat that has 3 syllables.‖
-ch—beach, church, couch, each, inch, much, rich, teach, which
Sound Swap—Start with a simple three-letter word like ―can.‖ Change
one of the sounds within the word (―can‖ becomes ―cat.‖) Take turns
changing one sound at a time. This activity helps your child focus on
the individual sounds within words.
Three-letter initial consonant blends and word examples
squ—squabble, squad, square, squash, squat, squeak, squeeze
str—straight, strange, strap, straw, stream, street, string, stripe, strong
Initial consonant digraphs and word examples
ch—chain, chance, chart, chief, child, ship, chop, chubby church
qu—quack, quake, quality, quart, queen, quick, quiet, quilt, quite
sh—shark, sharp, she, shine, ship, shoe, shoot, show, shower, shut, shy
th - than, thank, that, the, then, there, these, think, this, those, though
wh—whale, what, wheat, when, where, which, while, whip, why
Final consonant digraphs and word examples
-ck—black, clock, duck, kick, lock, quack, quick, rock, snack, stick
-gh— cough, enough, laugh, rough, tough
-ng—bang, bring, king, ring, song, spring, strong, thing, wind, young
-ph—autograph, graph, Joseph, photograph, telegraph, triumph
-sh—brush, cash, dish, fish, fresh, push, rash, splash, trash, wash, wish
-tch—catch, crutch, ditch, latch, match, pitch, sketch, snatch, witch
-th—bath, both, cloth, earth, fifth, growth, math, path, south, tooth
Two-letter initial consonant blends and word examples
bl—black, blanket, blade, bleach, bleed, blend, blind, block, blow
br—bracelet, braid, brake, brave, bread, brick, bright, broom, brush
cl—clam, clap, class, claw, clean, click, clock, closet, cloud, club
cr—cracker, crash, crawl, crazy, creature, crib, crisp, cross, cry
dr—dragon, draw, dream, dress, drink, drip, drive, drop, drum, dry
fl—flag, flake, flash, flat, flavor, flight, flip, float, floor, flop, flower, fly
fr—freckle, free, freeze, fresh, frog, from, front, frost, froze, fruit, fry
gl—glad, glance, glass, glide, glimpse, glitter, globe, glove, glue
gr—grab, grade, grape, grass, great, green, grew, grip, grocery
pl—place, plan, plane, planet, plant, plastic, plate, play, plum, plus
pr—practice, president, pretend, pretty, pretzel price, princess, prize
sc—scar, scare, scarf, scatter, science, scissors, scold, scoop, score
sk—skate, skeleton, ski, skill, skin, skinny, skip, skirt, skull, skunk, sky
sl—slam, slap, sled, sleep, sleeve, sleigh, slice, slipper, sloppy, slow
sm—smack, small, smart, smash, smear, smell, smile, smoke, smooth
sn—snack, snail, snake, snap, snatch, sneak, sneeze, snoop, snow
sp— space, spaghetti, sparkle, speak, special, spell, spend, spill, spy
st—stage, stair, stay, steak, steal, stem, stone, stop, store, storm, story
sw—swamp, swat, swear, sweat, sweater, sweet, swim, swing, swirl
tr—traffic, trail, train, trap, travel, tray, treat, tree, triangle, trick, trip,
tw—tweet, tweezers, twelve, twenty, twice, twig, twin, twinkle, twist
Phonemic Awareness, continued
Syllable Snake– You will need a marker for each player.
Draw a snake game board with about 25 spaces. Write
one word on 20 or more small cards—a mix of 1, 2 and
3 syllable words. Add a few cards that say ―Skip a turn‖
and ―Extra turn.‖ Stack the cards face down. Players
take turns reading a card (or having it read to them)
and saying the number of syllables in the word. If correct, they move
their marker ahead a number of spaces equal to the number of
syllables. The first player to reach the end wins.
Rounds of Sounds– With your child, practice this chant and the sound
rhythms to go with it:
I‟m thinking of a sound (clap, clap)
Let‟s try a round (clap, clap)
Ready, Set, Go (clap, clap)
Continuing the same rhythm, with a word clue
The sound is SH (clap, clap)
Let‟s try a round (clap, clap)
Ready, Set, Go (clap, clap)
My word is SHUT (clap, clap)
Your child then says another SH word, maintaining the rhythm and
claps: My word is shout (clap, clap)
Continue until a player misses saying a word by the time the clapping occurs.
Variation: Play with word families (rhyming words)
Segmenting Toss—You will need a ball for this activity. Say a
word and ask your child to repeat the word, then say it again while
separating the sounds. For each sound, he will toss the ball in the air.
“cat” /c/ toss ball, /a/ toss ball, /t/ toss ball
Say It Without—Ask your child to say a word such as football. Then ask
her to say it without without the ―f‖ (ootball). You can make it more
challenging by working with blends—for example, say plate. Ask the
child to say it without the ―pl‖ (ate)… then say it without the
―p‖ (late)
Phonemic Awareness, continued
Bead Slide– You will need a piece of yarn and some beads
(an even number, such as 20) for this activity*. Thread beads
onto the yarn and knot the ends so the beads don‘t slide off.
Make the strand long enough that the beads can be pushed
from one end to the other, with space in between the two
sections, and with extra length so the ends can be tied to
two objects. You will also need to make word cards with 2, 3
and 4 syllable words. Make some extra cards that say +1, +2,
+3, -1 and –2. Place the cards in a face down pile. Tie the two
ends of the yarn onto 2 full beverage containers so the yarn is
taut. Divide the beads evenly between the two ends with a
space in the middle. Players take turns turning over a card,
having it read, then moving one bead from the other player‘s
side to their side for each sound in the word (c-a-t —1, 2, 3). If
a player gets a number card she turns over another card and
segments the sounds, but then takes (+) or gives (-) beads according to the number. When all cards have been read, the
player with the most beads on his side wins the game.
* A pipecleaner can be used instead of yarn if the beads will fit on it.
Two-Phonemes: be, hay, he, she, me, they, bay, see, eight, tie, pie,
my, mow, row, say, way, key, we, bye, guy, hi, why, lie, bow, Joe,
low, sow, boo, do, moo, two, zoo, shoe
Three-Phonemes: cup, lake, pig, house, goat, hit, ant, mouse, rock,
apple, pin, kick, cake, cup, coat, pan, can, ship, bag, bat, nine, tree,
hat, red, rat, fly, shake, bug, room, map, rock, fish, sat, kite
Four-Phonemes: giraffe, snake, blame, truck, flag, table, snip, bunch,
turkey, grass, puzzle, lamp, clap, broom slop, rust
Beginning Sound Trip - Play "I'm going on a camping trip…‖(or to
the zoo, to school, etc.) Start the game by saying, "I'm going on a
camping trip, and I'm going to bring a dog and a dandelion. What
are you going to bring?" The child should think of something that also
starts with the d sound. Remember, this game is all about sounds, not
letters! For example, if the sound you chose is "sss", and the child says,
"circus," that would be an appropriate answer.
Long u sound
Examples of short vowel words
a—add, ant, back, bad, bag, bat, bath, black, cat, crab, crack,
dad, fan, fat, flag, glass, half, ham, jam, lap, mad, man, math, math,
map, nap, pan, pass, ran, rat, sad, scratch, splash, tag, tap, wag
e—bed, beg, bell, belt, cell, cent, chest, dent, desk, dress, egg, elf,
help, hen, leg, melt, men, neck, nest, pest, pet, red, sell, send, shell,
sled, smell, stem, step, ten, twelve, web, well, went, west, wet yell
i—big, bit, brick, chick, chin, chip, clip, crib, did, dig, dish, fish, inch, is,
itch, kick, king, knit, list, milk, mitt, mix, pick, pig, pink, pit, rich, rip,
ship, sink, spit, sting, swim, swing, thin, twig, ship, wig, win, witch, zip
o—blob, block, blond, bomb, box, chop, clock, cop, cot, dock, dog,
doll, dot, drop, fox, got, hop, job, knot, lock, lot, not, odd, pond, pot,
rob, rock shock shop, sob, sock, spot, stock, stop, top, toss, trot
u— brush, bug, bump, bun, bus, but, buzz, club, crumb, crust, cup,
drum, dust, fun, fur, fuss, gulp, gum, gun, hug, jump, mud, mug, must,
nut, plum, punch, pup, rub, rug, run, shut, such, sum, sun, thumb, tub
Long i sound
Short vowels, long vowels, r-controlled vowels, silent vowels, vowel
combinations….although there are only 5 vowels (and y, which can
be a vowel or a consonant!) there are many vowel skills young readers need to learn and practice.
I Spy a Vowel—Find something in the room that has either a short or
long vowel sound. Say, ―I spy something with a short „a‟ sound.‖ Have
your child guess the object.
Scrabble Vowels—Play a traditional game of scrabble using only
short or long vowel words.
Long o sound
Bowling for Vowels—This game provides practice with vowel
combinations. You will need 6 large, empty soda bottles with caps
for this game, along with index cards, a sheet or clear, semi-stiff
plastic (overhead projector transparency or the clear windows on
boxed products) and clear packing tape*. A ball will also be
needed. You can leave the bottles empty, or add a few inches of
sand to each to make them harder to knock over. Cut up the plastic
into six 4X1-1/2‖ pieces. Place one on the side of each bottle and
tape the bottom and sides to create a pouch. Cut the index cards
into 2-1/2 X 3‖ pieces. Make 6 piles of 6 cards. Label each set with a
small number. Choose six words for each vowel combination:
ea: leaf, bean, lead, treat, peak, seal, real, deal, cheap
ai: rain, pain, stain, gain, main, drain, train
ie: field, thief, chief, yield, grief, belief
oo: soon, moon, balloon, noon, raccoon, loon, goon
ee: see, tree, deep, creep, need, keep, green, sleep
oa: boat, foam, goat, roam, float, throat, coat, moat
To play, start with the first set and place one card
inside each bottle pouch. Line up the bowling pins in
a triangle (3 in back, 2 in the center, 1 in front). Take
turns bowling. Players earn a point for each pin
knocked down and read correctly.
*Or use sticky notes—write the words for each vowel combination in
a different color to differentiate the sets.
Vowels, continued
Crazy R’s—Make a set of Crazy R cards by writing r-controlled words
on about 50 cards, one word per card. See ―Connect 4 R‘s‖ for a
word list. Use four different colors to write, making about one-quarter
of the words in each color. Each word should be written on two
cards, each time in a different color. Also make 4 special cards
which say Crazy R. Deal five cards to each player or seven cards if
there are only two players. The unused cards are placed face down
on the table, and the top card is turned up and placed beside the
stock to start the discard pile. Each player in turn must either play a
legal card face up on the top of the discard pile, or draw a card
from the unused stock. The following plays are legal:
If the top card of the discard pile is not a Crazy R card, you may
play any card which matches the color or word of the previous
A Crazy R card my be played on any card, and the player of the
Crazy R card must call a color, which may be played next.
• If a Crazy R card is on top of the pile, the player may play any
card of the color nominated by the person who played the Crazy
R card.
The player must read the word on each card in order to place a
card down. The first player who gets rid of all their cards wins.
Build a Fence—Write short and long vowel words on popsicle sticks,
one word per stick. Make an equal number of short and long vowel
sticks. You can concentrate on words with one vowel or use words
with all 5 vowels. Put the sticks in a tall container. Designate one
player as short vowels and one player as long vowels.
Players take turns selecting a stick (without seeing the
word on it). If a player chooses and reads a stick
containing one of ―their‖ vowel sounds, he keeps the
stick and begins building a fence. If it is not the
correct vowel sound the stick in put back into the
container and the sticks mixed up before the next player takes a
turn. The first player to complete their fence (7 sticks) wins the game.
Long a sound
Long e sound
Pattern to
letter or
word dice
Vowels, continued
Connect 4 R’s—When a vowel is followed by an r, it makes a special
sound. These are called r-controlled vowels:
1 2 3 4 5 6
/ar/ sound as in car, guitar, Arthur
/âr/ sound as in care, bear, mare, scare,
/îr/ sound as in third
/ir/ sound as in turnip, spider, and beaver
/or/ sound as in manor, author, brought,
and orchard
/er/ sound as in butter, cutter, and mother
You will need some coins, beans, pasta, or other game markers (2
different sets). Make a 6X4 (or larger) grid. Write one r-controlled
vowel word in each space. Players take turns choosing a word to
read. If the word is read correctly, the player can put a marker on it.
The first player to get 4 in a row (vertically, horizontally or diagonally)
wins the game.
Variation: You will need two dice for this game. Make a 6X6 grid,
labeled with row and column numbers. Write in r-controlled words, as
above. On each turn the player rolls the dice and uses the numbers
to form an ordered pair (3, 4). The player then reads the word in that
square, If successful, he can place a marker. If the space is already
taken, he player rolls again. The first player to get 3 in a row wins.
Some r-controlled words are: sir, her, hurt , girl, germ, first, firm, turn,
burn, curl, curb, fur, bird, dirt, stir, shirt, swirl, fern, surf, chirp, thirst, spur,
third, burst, car, corn, stir, sport, far, storm, park, card, shark, for, nurse,
barn, bark, sister, yard, turn, art, part, sharp, jar, scar, yarn, part, party,
porch, jerk, third, short, turtle.
Wheel of Fortune Vowels—Print a short saying,
such as a common phrase or a line from a song
or poem. Leave blank spaces where the vowels
should be. Ask your child to fill in the blanks with
the appropriate vowels or vowel combinations,
giving hints as necessary.
Y__ __’V__
G __ T
M __ __ L
Vowels, continued
Fiddle Sticks—You will need popsicle sticks and a tall container. On
each stick, write one word from a silent e pair. For example, you
might write pin or pine, but not both. Make an equal number of sticks
with words with and without the silent e. Make 3 sticks with ―fiddle
sticks‖ written instead of a word from the list. You can change the
number of fiddle sticks depending on how many word sticks you play
with. Players take turns choosing a stick, reading the word, then
saying the word with or without the e, whichever is not on the stick. If
the correct, the player keeps the stick and can take another turn if
she wants to. But...if a player pulls a Fiddle Stick she says Fiddle Sticks!
and must return all her sticks to the cup. Play continues until the time
is up (set a timer for about 10 minutes). The player with the most sticks
Pin the Tail of the Silent E—You will need a large piece of paper or
posterboard for this activity, along with velcro*. Choose 20 silent e
words and write them in large letters, in columns, on your paper.
Leave a space after each word and put a small piece of velcro
where the e will go. Be sure to leave space between words vertically.
Cut 20 more squares, each 2‖ square and write an e on one side of
each. Stick the opposite side of the velcro on the other side. Fasten
the paper to the wall at a good height for your child. Make a line on
the other side of the room for players to stand behind, Each player/
team should place 10 e cards on the floor near the line. To play,
players start behind the line, pick up an e card and run to the poster,
where they must read a word, add the e and
read the new word. The first player/team to use
all their e cards wins.
* If you do not have velcro you can make a
single use board. Write the words as directed
above, leaving a space after each word. Give
each child a crayon and have them run up, read
a word, add an e then read the new word.
Variation: One child can play this game as a
beat the clock activity.
Miscellaneous Skills, continued
Roll & Write—You will need a die, small place markers and cards with
alphabet letters for this game. Make an extra card for each vowel.
Place the letter cards in random order in a circular path. Give each
player a counter and paper and pencil. Players choose a letter and
place their counter on it, writing the letter on their piece of paper.
Then they take turns rolling one or two dice and move around the
board. Wherever the marker lands, the player writes down that
letter. The first player to make a three-letter word using their letters
wins. Older children can work to form four or five letter words.
Reading Treasure Hunt—Hide a small treat for your child. This can be
an object or a note (Get an extra half hour on the computer today!,
You may stay up 15 minutes past bedtime). Write directions to the
prize on a series of slips of paper and hide them around the house Look under the sofa, Check under your bed. Open your favorite
book, etc. Then ask your child to write a treasure hunt for you.
Connect Three Compound Words—This is a two-player game, but a
third person is needed to help. The person not playing the game
should draw a four by four grid (16 boxes) on a piece of paper.
Number each box 1-16. On a separate sheet of paper that only the
non-player can see, assign each box the first or last half of a
compound word. You do not want the players to know what word
they are getting when they pick a box. Each player picks a color or
symbol they will use for the game. The goal of the game is to get
three markers in a row—vertically, horizontally or diagonally. When it
is a player‘s turn, he picks a number where he wants to put his mark.
The non-player then tells him the corresponding half of a compound
word. He must then say the other half of the word. For example, if
the reader says ―book‖ he must say ―book‖ and a matching
compound word—bookmark, bookcase, etc. If correct, he can mark
that square. The first player to get three a row is the winner!
Variation: Make a seven (across) by six (up and down) grid. Players
can only choose the lowest unclaimed space in a column.
Miscellaneous Skills, continued
Vowels, continued
Contraction Concentration—A contraction is an abbreviated form of
two words (can‘t, she‘ll, didn‘t). Make a list of contractions and the
words that make them up. Then write the contractions on index
cards. Repeat with the list of the words that make up each contraction. You will have 2 cards for each word; for example, can‘t and
can not. Turn the cards face down and lay them out in rows and
columns. Players take turns turning over two cards at a time. The
object is to find the correct two words that make up it‘s matching
contraction. If a match is made the player removes the cards and
takes another turn. If no match is made the cards
are turned back over after all players have read
them. The player who collects the most pairs wins.
Variation: For an easier game make each type of
card on different colored paper (contractions on
one color, base words on another). When players
turn over cards, they turn over one of each color.
Silent e Concentration—On small pieces of paper make game cards
with pairs of words which demonstrate the silent e principle. Each
card should have one word, so there will be 2 cards for each set of
words (her/here, can/cane). The more pairs of cards you make (or
choose to play with) the more challenging the game will be. Make
four extra cards—three What word am I? and one “Skip a turn.” To
play, shuffle the cards and place them in a grid between players.
Players take turns turning over two cards. If they are a pair (the same
base word with and without the e) the player keeps the cards and
gets another turn. If they are not a match, they are turned back over
after all players have read them and it is the next player‘s turn. If a
What word am I? card is turned over, the player can make a match
to another card by naming the other word in the pair. When all
possible pairs have been made, the player with the most pairs wins.
Homonym Beanbag Toss—This is an outdoor game. You will need
pavement you can write on, sidewalk chalk and 3-5 beanbags (or
baggies filled with pasta, then taped shut). Homonyms are words
which sound the same but are spelled differently (hear/here and to/
two/too, see/sea, their/they‘re/there, for example). Write several
homonym words on the pavement. Place each word in a different
size box—some big, some medium and others small. Measure a few
yards back from the word boxes and make a line. Decide how many
throws each player will get (younger children can be given more
throws) than older players). Players stand behind the line and try to
cover all the boxes for one homonym. A small box counts three
points, a medium one two points and a large box one point. Any
match of two homonyms gives 5 bonus points; a set of three matching homonyms is worth 10 bonus points.
Label Scavenger Hunt—Have each player look through the cupboards and write down 10 words or phrases from the labels on boxes
and cans. Exchange lists and try to be the first person to find labels
that match every item on the list.
Matching Vowels—With your child, list four words for each vowel—
two that have the long vowel sound and two that have the short
vowel sound. Write each word on a card. You will have 20 cards. Mix
the cards and lay them facedown in rows. Play a memory game.
Players take turns turning over two cards and reading the words (or
having them read to them). If the two cards represent the same
vowel sound (for example, long o) the player takes the cards. If no
match is made they are turned back over. When all the cards have
been removed the player with the most sets wins.
Magic e Go Fish—Make a deck of at least 20 pairs of silent e word
pairs, with one word on each card (car and care would be one pair,
but on two different cards). To play, give each player 5 cards. The
remaining cards are placed in a face down pile. The first player takes
a turn by asking another player if he has a matching card—he must
name the word he is seeking (i.e. player has ―kit‖ and asks another
player if he/she has ―kite‖). If the player makes a match, the match is
placed on the table and he gets another turn. If there is not match
the player takes a card from the facedown pile. If it is a match, the
pair can be put down. If not, the player adds the card to his hand.
The player with the most matches wins the game.
Sight Words / High Frequency Words
Miscellaneous Skills, continued
Sight Words [also called Dolch or High Frequency Words] are a list of
words that readers are encouraged to recognize without having to
"figure them out." Some of these words cannot be sounded out
because they do not follow decoding rules
12 Sight Words make up 25% of those we read and write.
100 Sight Words make up 50% of those we read and write
Compound Fish - Make a set of compound word parts using this list
or your own list: life, time, can, not, cross, walk, moon. light, any,
body, mean, back, ground, bath, room, break, fast, dream, down,
town, up, stairs, some, butter, fly, fire, thing, one, else, where, base,
ball, day, up, side, no, air, plane, bed, time. The goal of this Go Fish
style game is to collect as many compound words as possible. Shuffle
the cards and give each player 6 cards. Put the remaining cards in a
facedown pile. Players take turns looking at their cards and asking
another player for cards. For example, if a player has the word bed in
her hand, she might ask ―Do you have any cards that go with bed?‖
If the other player has such a card (or cards) he gives it to the
her. If the player receives a card, it is still her turn, and she can ask for
another card. But if a player asks for a card her opponent doesn‘t
have the opponent says ―Go build‖ and the player takes the top
card from the facedown pile. If she can make a word she does so. If
not the card is added to her hand. Play passes to the next player.
The first player to put down all her cards wins.
Variation: Play until all possible matches are made. If a player puts
down her last card, she should take 3 more from the facedown pile.
Jumping Words—You will need 12 pieces each of two different kinds
of coins, buttons or pasta for this game. Draw a
checker board, but write a sight word on each
square. Play as you would checkers, adding the
rule that a player must correctly read word
before moving to it. To make your checker
board more versatile, write three words on each
square. Before beginning the game, decide if
you will be playing with the top, middle or bottom words.
Sight Word Hockey—Take a berry basket andcut off one side to make a hockey goal. Write
sight words on milk jug lids or bottle caps.
Have your child read a sight word. If correct,
he has the chance to ―shoot‖ the word puck
into the goal by flicking it with his finger.
Pick Up Phonics—Write sight words on popsicle sticks. You can write a
different word on each side. One player picks up all of the sticks in a
vertical bundle and drops them. She must then pick up one of the
sticks, without moving any of the others, and read the word that was
face up. The player can continue to pick up sticks as long as she
reads the words and doesn‘t move another stick; otherwise, it is the
next player‘s turn. Count the number of sticks each player has at the
end of the game. Play again, with the other player going first. Add
the scores for the two games to determine the winner.
Variations: This game can be used for other skills—for example, ask
the player to use the word in a sentence, give a rhyming word, name
a synonym, etc.
rain bow
bed cake
time bath
Aunt Tilly—This game requires players to use a wide variety of skills.
One player begins by telling everyone about Aunt Tilly. For example:
Aunt Tilly likes pepper but she doesn‟t like salt
She loves coffee but hates tea
She likes sleeping but hates going to bed
The other players try to get more clues about Aunt Tilly by asking
questions ―Does Aunt Tilly like soup?‖ The first player might reply ―She
hates soup but loves eating with a spoon.”
The clues and answers are based on a secret code only player one
knows—in this case Aunt Tilly only likes words with double letters.
Other criteria might be words that start or end with a certain letter,
contain a certain vowel, have a silent e, have 2 syllables, etc. The
first player to guess the rule is the next to give the clues.
Miscellaneous Skills
Sight Words / High Frequency Words, continued
Word Builder—Write down root words that can be made into other
words by adding a prefix. Write these words onto cards. Then, do the
same thing with prefixes that can combined with the root words. You
will need to make more than one of each prefix—for example, using
the word list below, you would make one card each of stop and
sense but 2 of non-. Mark the back of each card to identify it as a
base or prefix card. Shuffle each stack and place each face down.
Players take turns taking the top card in each pile and checking to
see if they form a word. If so, the player keeps the cards. If the cards
are not a match, they go in a discard pile. When all the cards in the
original pile have been used, sort and shuffle the discarded cards to
make new piles. The player who collects the most pairs wins.
Variation: Make cards with suffixes instead of prefixes.
Examples of prefixes and base words:
dis—agree, respect, honest, card
in—complete, correct
im—proper, perfect, polite, balance
non—stop, sense
pre—pay, heat, caution, view
re—do, take, wind, build
mis—behave, mismatch, misprint, misplace
un—aware, sure, happy, common, popular
Sight Word Puzzler—You will need a jigsaw puzzle for this activity.
Spread out the puzzle pieces, face down. Write a sight word on the
back of each piece. Now, have your child put the puzzle together.
After he reads a word on a puzzle piece, he may flip it over to look at
the image and add it to the puzzle. If he cannot read a word, tell him
what it is but leave it face down so he can come back to it later.
Prefix/Suffix Detective—Give each player a newspaper and a highlighter (or light colored marker). Set a timer for 5 minutes. During that
time, players search for and highlight words containing a prefix or suffix. When time is up, switch papers to check accuracy and count the
words each detective found. The player with the most words wins.
Word Rock, Paper, Scissors— This two-player game can be used for
practice reading any type of words. Make cards with the words you
would like to practice. Shuffle the cards and put them in a face
down pile. Play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Whoever wins gets to flip over
the first card in the deck, and read it. If the word is read correctly the
player keeps the card. If not, the other
player gets a chance to read the word
and take the card. When all the cards
have been read, the player with the
most cards is the winner.
Sight Word Island Hopping—This is an outdoor game. You will need
sidewalk chalk. On one end of a paved area, draw a circle big
enough for a few players to stand. This is Shelter Island. At the other
end of the paved area draw a line—this is the mainland. Draw a
series of ―islands‖ (approximately 12‖ blobs) between the main-land
and Shelter Island. Have your child write a sight word on each island.
Draw enough islands so that there can be several routes to Shelter
Island. Ask your child to draw crocodiles around the islands to make
Crocodile Sea. Write out five or more routes of about 4 words each
from the mainland to Shelter Island. To play, pull out a card, call out
a route and let your child hop from word to word. How fast can your
child make it? For more sight word practice, ask your child to write
out (or call out) a route for you to hop.
Post-It Bingo—You will need post-it notes and some
place markers (coins, beans) for this activity. Write
16 sight words on small pieces of paper. Give each
player some post-it notes. Each player writes each
word on a post-it note. Players then arrange their
notes in a 4X4 array. Shuffle the stack of word cards
and place them face down. The first player turns over the top word
card and reads it aloud. Players then put a marker on their matching
post-it note. Play continues until one player gets three in a row.
For a more challenging game, make more than 16 word cards and
allow players to choose which 16 they will use for their game board.
Hidden Sight Words - Before riding in the car, pick a few sight words
and have your child write them down. See if either of you can spy
the words on the signs you pass.
Sight Words / High Frequency Words, continued
Sight Word Jenga—You will need small, rectangular
blocks for this activity. You can either write directly on
the blocks or tape words onto each block. Taping allows
you to change the words as your young reader
progresses. Write a sight word on each block. Stack the
blocks up into a tower, reading each word aloud as you
place it. Players take turns attempting to pull out one
block from the tower without knocking the tower over.
Players read each word as the block is removed. The first
person to make the tower fall loses the game.
Fish Me a Sight Word—You will need construction paper, yarn, a
popsicle stick, glue and magnets for this activity. For the magnets,
you can cut up old magnetic business cards or purchase small
magnets at a craft store. Cut fish shapes out of the paper. Write one
sight word on each fish. Attach a paperclip to the mouth of each
fish. Tie the yarn to the popsicle stick. Tie a magnet to the other end
of the string. Spread out all of the fish on the floor. Give your child the
fishing rod. Call out words and have your child try to catch that fish.
After the fish is caught ask your child to spell and read the word.
Sight Word Swat—On a large plastic tablecloth
or shower curtain liner, print a variety of sight
words. Give each player a fly swatter.* Call out
a word and have the players race to swat the
word first.
* If you don‘t have clean fly swatters, have
players slap the word.
Word Gamble—You will need a die for this game. Write sight words
on small cards and place the cards in a facedown stack. Set a time
limit for each round. Players take turns rolling the die and, one at a
time, turning over that many word cards. If he reads the word, he
keeps the card. Play a predetermined number of rounds. The player
with the most cards is the winner.
Writing / Storytelling, continued
Unfortunately / Fortunately— Someone starts with a made-up
sentence and each player in turn ad libs the next line, alternating
unfortunate and fortunate events. For example:
1st person: Yesterday Patti went to the beach.
2nd person: Unfortunately it started to rain.
3rd person: Fortunately it was raining money.
4th person: Unfortunately the money was in the form of coins and it
hurt when they rained down on Patti‟s head.
5th person: Fortunately she was wearing a construction helmet.
6th person: Unfortunately the helmet was magnetic, and all of the
coins stuck to it.
The game goes on for as long as you want it to.
Alphabet Stories—Work with your child to see if you can write a
simple story using sentences that each contain words that start with
the same letter of the alphabet. For example, An ant ate apples at
Alaska‟s arctic area. Next add a b sentence, then c, etc. Or
randomly choose the order of the letters you use.
Take turns adding a word to a story –but each player has boy
to use the next letter of the alphabet: Annie brought crawled
Crystal‟s daughter eleven frogs, giving her ….. or Another down
boy crawled down even farther, going headfirst into Jill‟s even
…..A player can keep going as long as she follows this farther,
rule, and gets one point for every word used. A new going
sentence can be started at any time, but the appropriate headfirst
letter must be used.
Place scrabble tiles or letter cards facedown between players. A
player can keep telling a story and earning cards as long as she can
continue the story with a word starting with the letter picked up.
Roll a die to determine the number of letters a player will pick up on
that turn. The player can use them in any order.
Use cards with beginning blends, in addition to single letter cards.
Writing / Storytelling, continued
Falling Words—On index cards, write words your child can read.
Include nouns (people, places, things), adjectives (descriptive words)
and verbs (action words). Include some silly words like squishy and
hippopotamus! Ask your child to begin telling a story. Toss a few
cards into the air. Challenge your child to quickly pick up the words,
read them, and use them to add to his story. Continue tossing a few
cards at a time until he has finished his story.
It’s in the Bag—You will need a large paper bag, or pillowcase for this
activity. Ask each participant to secretly collect small objects to put
in the bag. When everyone has added their objects, one person
starts a story. He continues for about 30 seconds, then the next player
pulls an object out of the bag and must continue the story for
another 30 seconds, incorporating that object into the story.
Spinning Yarns – You will need a ball of yarn with knots every 3-5 feet.
The first person begins telling a story as they slowly unwind the yarn.
When they reach a knot the next person continues the story.
The Other Perspective – Take a familiar story and re-create the story
from another character‘s perspective. For example, the Three Bears
could be told from Baby Bear‘s perspective. Or Red Riding Hood
could be told from the wolf‘s perspective.
Character Change – Have students take a story they know and give
the main character a personality that is not in the story. What if
Goldilocks were whiney or hyperactive? What if she was a singer?
Mad Libs—Ask your child to write a short story,
using a pencil. He should leave a space
between lines. When he is finished, go through
the story, erase some words, and replace them
with _______. Underneath the line write the
type of word that belongs there (verb, noun,
number, etc.) Ask your child to name random
words to fit the category in each space, then
have him read the new story.
Sight Words / High Frequency Words, continued
4 in a Row—You will need a standard 1-6
die for this game, along with two different
sets of buttons, coins or beans for markers. Make a 6X6 table and write a sight
word in each square. Number each row
of squares 1-6 left to right. Players take
turns rolling the die and picking any word
with that number to read. If the word is
read correctly the player can place a
marker on that square. The first player to
get 4 markers in a row (vertically horizontally or diagonally) wins.
Flip It Down—You will need two dice for this game. 1. give
Create game boards by making a 2 column, 12 row 2. once
table for each player. Space the words so the list fills 3. buy
the length of the page. Number the left hand 4. again
column and for each player write different words in 5. know
this column, Leave the right hand rows blank. Cut 6. just
the right hand column on the rows so that each is 7. old
on a strip of paper that can be folded over to the 8. could
left. Players take turns rolling a die and adding the 9. think
numbers together. The player then reads the word 10. stop
that corresponds to the number they roll. If success- 11. thank
12. walk
ful they ―flip down‖ the word by folding it over. If a
player rolls doubles (two of the same number) she can read any
word. (This allows players to read the number 1 word, and speeds up
the game). The first player to flip down all of the words is the winner.
Zap! - You will need craft (popsicle) sticks for this activity. Write one
word on the end of each stick. For every 25 sticks, add three sticks
that say ZAP! Players take turns pulling a stick out of a cup. If they
can read it, they keep it. If they can't, they put it back in the cup
after having it read to them. If they get "zapped" they put all of their
sticks back in the cup. At the end of a set time (about 5 minutes), the
winner is the one with the most sticks.
Sight Words / High Frequency Words, continued
Stack a Word—On a piece of heavy paper, make a
horizontal grid—4 columns using solid lines and 3
rows using dotted lines. Write a word in each square.
Cut on the solid lines to make 4 strips of three words.
Fold each strip into a triangle (don‘t tape closed).
Make at least 4 of these pages. To play, put all the
folded strips in a bag. Players take turns pulling out a
triangle and trying to read all three words. If successful, the player adds to a tower of word triangles. The
player who stacks a card and makes the tower fall
down loses the game.
Nutty Nursery Rhymes—Choose a nursery rhyme or poem. Line by
line, change the story. For example, instead of Mary having a little
lamb, she could have a giant ham. Encourage your child to make
themselves or their family and friends characters in the story.
Word Baseball—Draw a baseball diamond with 3 bases and homeplate on a piece of paper. Write sight words on round pieces of
paper. Add a few cards which say ―extra base,‖ ―homerun‖ and
―out.‖ Stack the word ―balls‖ in a facedown pile. You will also need
coins or buttons to use as place markers. The first player, the pitcher,
picks up a card and shows it to the second player, the ―hitter.‖ If the
second player reads the word correctly he advances one base. If
incorrect the batter receives an out and the card is placed at the
bottom of the pile. After three outs or two runs, switch roles. If an
adult is playing with a child, the adult is allowed only one out per
Fairy Tale Toss—You will need 4 dice (make your own with the
pattern provided in the back of the booklet, or cover the numbers on
existing dice). Write these words /phrases on the sides of the dice:
bear, boy, girl, cat, queen, king
large, small, old, new, messy, clean
hut, house, castle, cave, city, farm
the store, a friend‘s house, Grandma‘s house, into the woods, into
town, to the park
Begin your story with ―Once upon a time there was a…‖ then roll the
first die. Whatever character lands on top is now your main character
for the story. Insert the character into the story. For example, if the die
lands with the cat on top: ―Once upon a time there was a cat…”
Continue the story like this: “…who lived in a very …”
Roll the second die and use the descriptive word which lands on top:
―Once upon a time there was a cat who lived in a very messy ..”
Roll the third die and add the type of residence. For example, ―Once
upon a time there was a cat who lived in a very messy hut.‖
Continue the story like this: ―One day the cat decided to go …‖
Roll the fourth die and insert whatever lands on top. For example,
―Once upon a time there was a cat that lived in a very messy hut.
One day the cat decided to go into town.‖ Put the dice to the side
and ask your child to continue the story from there asking her leading
questions such as, ―What do you think might happen next?‖
Word Detective—Make word cards with one commonly used sight
word on each. Each player chooses a word card and a book, newspaper or magazine. The player has 5 minutes to find, point out and
read the word each time she finds it. Adults or more skilled readers
can be given a shorter time to make the game competitive.
Takeaway Words—Write 10 sight words on small cards, one word per
card. Arrange the cards in a pyramid – 1 on the top row, 2 below it, 3
under them, and 4 on the bottom. Players take turns reading and
removing any one, two, or three cards from a single row at a time.
The student who takes the last card is the loser. You can use 15 cards
by adding a row or 5.
Writing / Storytelling, continued
Story Swap—Choose two familiar stories. Fairytales work well for this
activity. Ask your child to pick a character from one story and
pretend that she appears in the other. For example, how would ―The
Three Little Pigs‖ be different if Little Red Riding Hood were in it? What
if, instead of the grandmother being sick, one of the pigs is sick, so
Little Red Riding Hood takes the pig a basket of goodies?
Writing / Storytelling, continued,
Sight Words / High Frequency Words, continued
Roll a Story—You will need a die for this activity. Have your child write
the first sentence of a story, then roll the die. If she rolls
1: add a character
2: something bad happens
3: something good happens
Add a
4: the character changes location
5: the time changes in the story
6: any sentence is added
Cracked-up Words—In an egg carton, write a different sight word in
10 of the cups. In the last two cups draw a cracked egg (It is best if
they are not close together). Players take turns placing the object in
the carton, closing it, shaking the carton, opening it and reading the
word where the object landed. As long as he doesn‘t get a broken
egg, the player can choose to continue to play, getting one point
for each word read correctly. However, if the object lands on a
broken egg before he decides to end his turn, the player loses all his
points for that round. Play until one person gets 12 points.
Mix and Match Story—Using a ruler, take 10 pieces of paper and
divide each into six even sections. Have your child write a very simple
story, using six sentences, with a sentence in each section:
1st sentence: character introduction (―Once upon a time there was
a princess”….”A little girl named Marlene lived in a far away land”)
2nd sentence: where the character lived (“He lived in a huge
jungle”….”Her home was a beautiful castle”).
3rd sentence: describes a special talent of the character (“She could
jump higher than anyone else”….”He could tell amazing stories”).
4th sentence: describes the character‘s feelings; “He was a very
lonely boy”….”She was very sad because she didn‟t have a friend”).
5th sentence: tells how the character solved the problem (―So she
made cookies for everyone in the village”…. “He learned how to
take care of the animals and help them.”)
Write a story on each piece of paper and number the sections on
each page 1-5. Now cut the sections of each page, stack them by
number and shuffle each stack. Read the top sentence in each
stack and see what wacky combinations you have created.
Pass It On—Ask your child to look through old magazines and find an
interesting picture. Have him write a paragraph about the person,
animal, place of thing in the picture. Then have the first writer pass
the picture and first paragraph to another person. Ask them to add
to the paragraph then pass it on to another person. The next person
adds a few sentences and passes it along, and so on, and so on, until
the story is complete. Read the story you have created.
Snowball Fight—The more people (or teams) who play this game, the
more fun it is. Write words on scrap paper, then wad each paper up
to make a snowball. Divide the snowballs between players. Players
stand in different corners of the room. ―Let it snow!‖ is the cue to
begin throwing snowballs at each other. But… before a player can
throw a snowball they must open the paper and read the word.
They can then wad it up again and throw it. Continue until someone
yells ―Freeze.‖ Each player picks up the snowballs in their area and
counts them. The player/team with the least amount wins.
Bonus Basket Game—You will need a lightweight ball and a wastebasket for this game. Make small cards with words on them. Players
take turns turning over a card. If he reads it correctly, the player gets
a point. Then he has a chance to throw the ball in the basket. If the
ball goes in, he scores an extra point. Move the basket a little farther
away for each round.
Fun Fonts—On the computer, type a sight word. Ask your child to
retype the word underneath, using different colors, fonts and sizes.
What’s Missing? - Display a sight word card. Ask your child to make
the word below the card with magnetic letters or alphabet caps.
Have your child close her eyes while you remove a letter, closing
the gap. When your child opens her eyes, she tell you what letter is
missing and where it needs to go. For more of a challenge, remove
the word card along with the missing letter.
Sight Words / High Frequency Words, continued
Writing and Storytelling
What Do You Notice?- Place 2 sight word cards down. Ask your child:
What do you notice? How are they alike? How are they different?
Roll Those Words—You will need four dice or wooden or paper cubes
for this activity. On one die write articles and pronouns: a, the, this,
that, one, all. Write nouns on the second die: bear, horse, dog, cat,
bird and lion. On the third die write verbs: was, seems, feels, looked,
yelled, hugged. On the last die write adjectives: big, brown, happy,
hungry, pretty, yellow. Have your child roll the four dice and read
each word that lands face up. Help her arrange the words to make
a sentence that makes sense (you may need to make a few
changes—All the horses instead of All the horse, etc. If a part of the
sentence doesn‘t make sense, re-roll that die. Keep rolling until you
have four different sentences.
Word Spin—If you have a spinning top or dreidel, you can play this
game. Write sight words on small cards. Have your child spin the top.
Ask her to read the word on the card before the top stops.
Oh, no! - Put sight word cards in a bag, along with a few cards that
read, ―Oh, no!‖ Players take turns pulling out a word card. If he can
read it, he can keep the card. If not, he puts it back. If he pulls out an
―Oh, no!‖ card he has to put 3 words back (If a player has less than 3
all his cards go back in the bag). Who can collect the most words.?
Concentration—Make sight word cards—two of each word. Shuffle
the cards and place them face down between players. Players take
turns turning over two cards and reading the words. If the words are
the same, they keep the cards and get another turn. If the words are
different, they are turned back over after being read aloud.
Which Word Wins? - Sit with your child and look at a newspaper or
magazine. Choose a sight word and an article from the paper. Highlight or color the word each time it appears. Try the same thing with a
second sight word. Which word appears more often?
Sight Word Dominoes—Use small cards (at least 28), each with a sight
word written on it, for a domino style game. Shuffle the cards and
deal them to players—7 each for a 2-player game, 5 each for 3-4
players. The rest of the cards are set aside in a
facedown pile. The first player puts down a word
she eat
and reads it. The next player then tries to find,
read and put down a word card so that the last
know when new
letter of one card matches the first letter of the
card it is touching. Cards can be placed end to
end or at right angles. If a player doesn‘t have a
card he can put down he must take cards from
the face down pile until he has a match. If there are no more cards,
your turn ends. The first player to use all of their cards wins.
Word Scramble Game—On small cards, write 20 each of your child‘s
favorite nouns (person, place or thing words: Jessica, Africa), verbs
(action words—jump, ran), adverbs (words that modify verbs—very,
quickly), and adjectives (words that modify nouns—tall, unhappy).
Add a dozen articles (the, a, but, when, why, how, with, that). Put
the cards in a bag, shake them up and dump them out. See how
many sentences (crazy or not) your child can make in 2 minutes.
Crazy Headlines—Clip headlines from old newspapers. Cut the words
apart. Who can create the goofiest headline? For more fun, write or
tell a story to go with your crazy headline.
The Liar's Contest—Read a tall tale such as Paul Bunyan. Have
players create tall tales of their own. The details of the story should be
realistic enough to believe but the story itself should be made up.
Hold a contest to determine who can tell the "tallest" tale with
enough realism in the storytelling to make it (almost) believable.
Picture Tales—Ask your child to cut twenty or more pictures out of a
magazine. Suggest she include pictures of people, places and
things. Put the pictures in a bag and have each person pull out 3 or
4 and write a story using as many of the pictures as possible. Or, write
a giant silly story together, using all the pictures in the order they are
pulled out of the bag.
Spelling, continued
Raft Race—This game is similar to Word Match. Make a list of about
15 words (the list should have an odd number of words). You will
need 2 popsicle sticks or strips of tag board for every word. Write one
half of a spelling word per stick. To play, place the sticks facedown.
Players take turns turning over two sticks. A player who turns over a
matching pair keeps the sticks and places them side by side to build
a ―raft.‖ The player who ends the game with the largest raft wins.
Climb the Mast—This activity requires a long stick
and three people - two players and a caller. The
caller says a spelling word. If Player 1 spells the word
correctly, he or she grabs the mast (stick) bottom
with one hand. If Player 2 spells the next word
correctly, he or she grabs the mast just above
Player 1‘s hand. As players spell words, they move
their hands up the mast. If they misspell a word, they cannot move.
The player who reaches the top of the mast first wins the game.
What’s the Question? - Make a word card for each spelling word and
stack the cards facedown. Player 1 draws a card and gives a clue
for the word. The clue must be a statement ("It goes up in space."
Player 2 tries to earn a point by asking a question that includes the
word and spelling the word correctly ("What is a rocket? r-o-c-k-e-t).
Players take turns. The one who earns the most points wins the game.
30 Second Words—Write a spelling word at the top of a sheet of
paper. Have your child time you while you write the word as many
times as you can in 30 seconds. Can your child beat your score?.
Word Search—Ask your child to write down his spelling words on the
bottom part of two pieces of graph paper (or make hand drawn
grids on the top two-thirds of plain pieces of paper.) Each of you
takes a completed list and above it, on the grid, creates a word
search by writing the words vertically, horizontally or diagonally (and
backwards for older kids). Fill in the blank spaces with miscellaneous
letters. Switch papers and see who can find all of the words first.
Sight Words / High Frequency Words, continued
Roll & Read—You will need a die for this activity. Make a list of sight
words. Players take turns rolling the die and then trying to read that
number of words on the list. Every correctly read word earns a point.
With players of mixed abilities, the more skilled player should re-roll
any time a 5 or 6 is rolled.
Sight Word Detective—You will need Scrabble tiles for this activity.*
One player is the Detective and the other is the Letter Thief. The
Letter Thief spells out a sight word using Scrabble tiles. The Detective
turns around while the Letter Thief removes one letter. The Detective
then has to tell what letter was stolen.
Variation: The Letter Thief can scramble all the letters. The detective
must rearrange them to form the word again.
Sight Word Creator—You will need Scrabble letters for this activity.*
Make a list of sight words with your child. Divide the Scrabble tiles
randomly among players. Each player tries to create as many words
on the list as possible, using their letters. The player who forms the
most words wins.
Variation: Add up the value of each word formed and keep score.
The player with the most points wins.
*If you do not have a Scrabble game you can make your own tiles
on cardboard squares. Scrabble contains 100 letter tiles, in the
following distribution:
2 blank tiles (scoring 0 points)
1 point: E ×12, A ×9, I ×9, O ×8, N ×6
R ×6, T ×6, L ×4, S ×4, U ×4
2 points: D ×4, G ×3
3 points: B ×2, C ×2, M ×2, P ×2
4 points: F ×2, H ×2, V ×2, W ×2, Y ×2
5 points: K ×1
8 points: J ×1, X ×1
10 points: Q ×1, Z ×1
CVC Words
Spelling, continued
CVC (consonant—vowel—consonant) words are three letter words
which start and end with a consonant and have a vowel in the
middle. These are the first type of words children learn to read. Their
simplicity makes them ideal for practicing letter substitution.
Password—The goal of this two-person game is to guess the password
using clues from previous guesses. Make a list of 10 or more spelling
words. Player 1 secretly picks a word to be the password. Player 2
tries to guess which word from the list is the password. They may look
at the list while they do this. If they pick the wrong word player 1 tells
player 2 how many of the same letters are in the same place (for
example, if the password is ‗stapler‘ and player 2 picked ‗sticker‘
then player 2 got 4 letters that are the same. (S, T, E and R - but
player 1 does not tell player 2 what the specific letters are.) If player 2
guesses correctly it‘s then their turn; if they guess incorrectly player 1
says how many letters are the same and player 2 has another turn.
Player 2 only gets three guesses before they get ―Denied Access.‖
Another word is then chosen and the game starts again.
Phonics Flip Chart—You can make your own
phonics flip chart from a small wirebound notebook (paper or index card style). Cut the
pages into three equal sections, as shown.
Write consonants on the first and third sections
(skip q, x and z). If you have extra pages, you
can repeat letters. Write vowels on the center
section, repeating to fill all the pages. Ask your
child to mix and match the pages, sound out the word formed, and
decide if it is a real word.
CVC Bakery —You will need a mixing bowl, spoon and plate for this
activity. Using cardboard or paper, make squares (1 to 1-1/2‖) Write
the alphabet on the squares, one letter per square. Write the same
letter on the front and back of each square. Cut the squares apart.
Make two extra sets of vowels. Make a list of CVC words (cat, hat,
tip, sip, bed, red, hop, top, hut, cut). This is the menu. Place your
order and have your child prepare the word and serve it to you.
Tic Tac Word—Draw a tic tac toe board and give each player a
different color crayon. The first player puts a vowel in the center
space. The second player adds a letter to one of the other spaces. It
is then the first player‘s turn again, and she adds a letter to another
space. The goal is to be the first to create a real 3 letter word.
Stretch and Say– You will need wide elastic for this activity. Cut the
elastic into 3-4‖ strips. Write a one-syllable CVC word (dad, kid, mom,
sit, pat) on each piece of elastic. Have your child hold one end of
the elastic. As he gently stretches it out, have him stretch out the
sound for each letter. After stretching out the last sound he can let
the elastic shrink back and read the word.
Word Match— Make a list of about 30 words. You will need 2 cards
for every word. Write one part of a spelling word per card. Players
then try to match cards to make spelling words. Each player is dealt
five cards; the rest are used as a draw pile. Player 1 asks Player 2 for
a card to match a word in his or her hand. If Player 2 does not have
the card, Player 1 draws a new card. Players who make a match (by
asking or by drawing) lay down those cards and take another turn.
The player with the most matches at the end of the game wins.
Word Spell –You will need beanbags. Baggies filled with packing
peanuts and taped shut, or other tossable objects and sidewalk
chalk for this outside game. Draw a giant keyboard on pavement
and fill in the letters following the layout of a keyboard (or write the
letters in alphabetical order in 3 rows). Players take turns choosing a
word for the other player to spell. Standing 6 feet away from the
letters, the active player tosses the beanbags, attempting to land
them on the letters of the word, in order. The number of throws it
takes in excess of the number of letters
in the word is the player‘s score. When
all the words have been spelled, the
player with the lowest score wins.
Spelling, continued
CVC Words
Spelling Magic—Give your child a white crayon and white paper.
Have her write the words, them paint over the paper with watered
down tempera or watercolor paint. The words will appear like magic
Message in a Bottle—You will need 3 clear water
bottles, plain and alphabet beads and uncooked rice
or small pasta for this activity. Separate out the a, e, i,
o and u beads. Put them in one bottle. Divide the
consonant beads into 2 equal piles and put one pile
in each of the remaining bottles. Divide the plain
colored beads into 3 equal piles and put one pile in
each bottle. Add rice or pasta to each bottle so that
it is about 3/4 full. Put a lid on each bottle, marking the
vowel bottle with a star on the lid. Give your child a
piece of paper and have her line up the bottles so the
star bottle is in the middle. Now, have her to pick up the first bottle,
holding the bottom half, and shake it. Ask her to lift her thumb slightly
and find the alphabet bead closest to her thumb. Write down the
letter. Repeat with the star bottle and then the last bottle, writing
down each letter in order. Does it make a real word?
Font-astic Spelling Words—Ask your child to type out his spelling word
10 times, each in a different font, color and size.
Karate Spelling—Write one word each, in large letters, on a sheet of
paper. Hold the words up one at a time. As your child spells the
word, he should punch up high for tall letters (b, d, f, h, k, l, t), punch
out in front for short letters (a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, z), and give
a kick for letters that go below the line (g, j, p, q, y). When finished,
he should fold his hands together and bow as he says the word.
Mute Spelling—In this game players try to spell words without saying
any vowels. Players take turns saying or reading a word. The other
player must spell the word by saying the consonants but using the
correct symbol in place of any vowels:
Hold up your right hand
Hold up your left hand
Point to your eye
Point to your open mouth
Point to any other player
Play continues with a different word for each player. All players start
their score with the letter "A". Any player who says a vowel loses one
point and proceeds to the next vowel. If a player has reached ―U‖
and makes another mistake, they are out of the game. The last
player left in the game wins.
Twenty Questions- Players take turns thinking of a spelling word.
To help them guess the word, the other players take turns asking
questions, such as ―Does it begin with two consonants?‖ ―Does it
have the long o sound?‖ ―Can I eat it?‖ A player can ask a question
and guess in the same turn. To score a point, a player must spell the
word correctly. If the guesser misspells the word, the next player may
spell it correctly for a point.
Finger Phonics—Gather some old garden or
plastic gloves (or pick some up at a dollar store).
Cut off the fingers. Write a consonant on each
finger with a blue marker and write vowels in
red. (Make two of e, s, t, l.) Your child can insert
letters on their fingers to make words.
Space Mission—With your child, make small cards with CVC words.
Make a few ―special‖ cards: pictures of aliens and comets. Make
one card with a picture of the earth. Place all the cards in a can.
Players take turns drawing a card and reading the word. If they get it
right, they may keep it. If not, the card goes back in the can after
being read correctly to the player. If a player gets an "alien" card,
he can take a word card from another player (plus keep the "alien"
card). If a player gets a "comet" card, he keeps the "comet" card
and takes another turn. The game continues until someone gets an
"Earth" card (end of the space mission). Then everyone counts his or
her cards. The person with the most cards is the winner.
Building Words / Word Families
Many terms are used to describe the process of putting together
letters and groups of letters to form words. Some of the terms you
may find used are:
Onsets and Rimes —The onset is all the sounds in a word that come
before the first vowel (the /bl/ in the word blank, the /sh/ in the word
ship. The rime (also called phonogram) is the first vowel in a word
and all the sounds that follow (e.g.; /ank/ in blank and /ip/ in ship). A
group of words that share a rime are said to be a word family .
Consonant blends—two or more consecutive consonants which
retain their individual sounds (e.g., /bl/ in block; /str/ in string).
Final blends— blends of two or three-letter consonants which make
only one sound. These include -ng, -nk, -sh, -ch, and -tch.
Digraphs—pairings of letters that, together, make only one sound,
such as sh, ch, th. A vowel digraph is two vowels together that make
one sound such as ea in bread, ee in need, oo in book and ie in field.
Dipthong—a vowel sound produced by the tongue shifting position;
a vowel that feels as if it has two parts - both vowels may be heard,
but not quite making their usual sounds because of the blending.
These include oi, oy, ow, and ou.
In the back of this booklet you will find word lists for each of these
categories which can be used to prepare games.
You may also come across these terms:
Blending: The task of combining sounds rapidly.
Chunking: A decoding strategy for breaking words into manageable
parts (e.g., /yes /ter/ day). Chunking can also refer to the process of
dividing a sentence into smaller phrases where pauses might occur
Spelling, continued,
Hop To It! - Draw a hopscotch board on a paved
area. Add a letter to each square. The first player
may hop on any letters in any order to spell a
word. Players can also hop over letters without
touching them. Other players follow in turn. Each
player must spell a new word. You can make an
indoor hopscotch board using masking tape.
Tape letters in each square.
Consonants and Vowels—You will need a Scrabble game for this
activity, or make your own letter cards and draw a board game grid
(see the sight word section for directions). Players sort letter tiles into
two piles, vowels and consonants. Place some Y‘s in each pile. One
player is the "vowel player." He gets the vowel tiles. The other player is
the "consonant player." She gets the consonant tiles. Give each
player a list of words. Each player selects any three words from the
list. With the board between the two players, each player lays out
the consonants or the vowels for the three words chosen. Here is how
the consonant player's portion of the board might look for the words
build, agree, and crowd. Players turn the board so that the words are
now facing the opposite player. The "vowel player" now adds vowels
to the words started by the "consonant player" and vice versa.
The first player to complete all three
words correctly wins one point. Note: Sometimes multiple words can be formed. Accept
any correctly-spelled words. For example,
c r _ _ d could be completed as crowd or
creed. Play several rounds, taking turns with
the consonants and vowels. The player with
the most points at the end of the allowed time is the winner.
Tic Tac Spell —Draw a tic tac toe board before practicing spelling
words. Divide the spelling list in half and give one half to each player.
Players take turns asking each other to spell a word. If the player is
correct, she can put a mark on the tic tac toe board.
Spelling, continued
Building Words / Word Families, continued
Bump! — Write about 30 spelling words on small cards. On 5-7 more
cards write ―Bump!‖ Place all the cards in a bag and shake it to mix
them up. Players take turns reaching into the bag and pulling out a
card. The player reads the word to the other player(s) and the other
player (or player to the right) spells the word. If correct, he keeps the
card. If the word is spelled incorrectly, the reader spells the word
correctly then puts the card back in the back and shakes it. The bag
is passes to the next player who repeats the process. If a player has
one or more cards and then pulls a Bump! card, all of her cards go
back in the bag. Play for 5 minutes. When time is up, the player with
the most cards wins. (If an adult is playing with a child, you can
require the adult to spell the word then spell it backwards!)
Phonics Jump—You will need five or six large pieces of cardboard
along with a few index cards and tape. Start by writing B, C, F, H, M,
P, R, S and D on index cards. You can add other consonants or
blends as you child progresses. On each piece of cardboard write a
word family ending (such as –at, -ig, -og, -an, -it) - again, you can
add endings to vary the game. Tape the cardboard pieces to the
floor, leaving a space between each. Give your child an index card
and ask him to jump onto as many word matches as he can find. He
earns a point for each match.
Spelling Hopscotch—Draw a hopscotch board on
a paved area outside, or use masking tape to
create a hopscotch board indoors. Make the
squares about 10‖. Write a number in each box.
Write spelling words on index cards. You will need
a block or other object to throw. Play the game as
you would regular hopscotch. Begin by having
your child throw the block into the first box. She
then hops on one foot into each of the boxes, skipping over the box
with the block in it. On the way back, read a spelling card. She must
spell the word before she can pick up the block. If the word is not
spelled correctly the game starts again at 1. If successful, on the next
turn your child throws a block Into box 2 and repeats the process.
Disappearing Words—Have your child write spelling words on a
chalkboard or dry erase board using thick letters, then ask him to
erase the words by tracing over them again and again with a Q-tip
until the words are erased.
Rainbow Writing—Have your child write a
spelling word and then trace around it with
several different colors of crayons.
Crazy Word Families—This card game is played like
Crazy Eights. On index cards, using four different color
crayons, make four word family card sets, each with
four words from one word family, and one word in
each set in each color. For example: ball, call, fall,
wall, cat, hat, rat, sat, cap, lap, map, rap and big,
pig, dig and cot, not, rot, tot. Make 2 cards each that
say WILD, SKIP A TURN and REVERSE. Deal out 7 cards
to each player. Place the rest of the cards in a facedown pile. Flip
over one card from the pile. Players try to match either the color or
word family that has been flipped. If a card with cat written in red is
turned over, players have to each lay down either a card with red
writing or another card belonging to that word family. If a player
can‘t lay a card down she must keep taking cards from the stack
until she can. The winner is the first player to run out of cards.
How Many Words Can You Make? You will need six paper plates and
two small wooden cubes or dice on which the numbers have been
taped over. If you don‘t have dice you can use small pieces of
paper, or make a die using the pattern in the back of the booklet.
Write a word chunk on each paper plate (see the list). Write consonants on the cubes—h, d, b, f, l, m and gl, s, r, cl, t, p. Players take
turns rolling the cube and putting the letter rolled in front of each
word chunk on the paper plates. Write down all the ―real‖ words and
score a point for each.
Building Words / Word Families, continued
Spelling, continued
Go Dish, Swish, Fish—Make a Go Fish game using word families. Using
36 index cards, write one word on each card, making sure that there
are two cards for each word family (or 4 of each word family for a
more challenging game). Deal seven cards to each player. Place
the remaining cards face down in the middle. Players take turns
asking another player for rhyming words (“Do you have a card that
rhymes with ___?) If the player asked has a card (or cards), he gives it
to the other player, who then places the matching cards faceup on
the table and reads them. Another player with a card that matches
this word family may add it to the set. If the player does not have the
card in question he says ―Go Dish, Swish, Fish.‖ and the player takes
the top card from the deck. The first player to get rid of all his cards is
the winner.
Spelling Coverup—Cut a bookmark size strip from colored paper.
Print one of your child‘s spelling words in large letters on another
piece of paper, and cover the word with the strip. Reveal the word
to your child one letter at a time. After each letter she tries to guess
the word and spell it. When she gets it right, the number of letters
showing is her score for the round. After using all the words, add up
the scores for a grand total. Play again, trying to get a lower score.
Word Battle—This two player game is based on the game Battleship.
On a piece of paper, each player makes a grid with initial sounds
written across the top, and word endings written down the left side of
the grid. Players then choose 3 or 4 combinations which form real
words to be their ―ships‖ and secretly write them down, along with
the grid coordinates. Players take turns naming two coordinates and
saying the word formed by the initial sound and word ending (it may
not be a real word). If it is a real word they write the word formed in
the square. If it is one of the other player‘s ―ships‖, the player says so
and the word is circled. If it is not a real word an X is made in the
square. The first player to find all the other player‘s ―ships‖ wins the
Presto Change-O—Write a five letter word at the top of a piece
of paper. Players take turns replacing one letter in the word with a
different letter to form a new word. Words can‘t be repeated. Pass
the paper between players until a player can‘t make a new word.
The last player to make a new word gets to pick the next word.
Variation: Use a 3 letter word. Toss a coin before each turn—heads
the player must change a consonant, tails she must change a
Find a Word—Turn your child‘s spelling list into a fun
game by writing 5 or 6 of them in rows on graph
paper (or draw a grid), one letter per box and one
word per line. Then, ask him how many new words
he can form with the letters. The letters must touch
horizontally, vertically or diagonally. In the grid
show he might find flap, bed and meat, beet, fate,
late, the, team, help, and more “hidden words.”.
Page 47
Spelling Beans –Write spelling words on lima beans, one letter per
bean. Toss the beans and have your child try to spell all the words.
Connect the Dots - Make a grid of rows and
columns of dots. Players take turns asking each
other to spell a word on a spelling word list. If
correct, he can connect two dots on the game
board. When a player forms a square, he can write
his initials in the box. The player with most squares
at the end wins.
Flip Out—Write spelling words on index cards, one word per card. Lay
the cards faceup in an array. Players should study the cards for one
minute, then turn them face down in the same positions. Take turns
pointing to a card and spelling the word you think is on the card. If
you guess the right word and spell it correctly, keep the card. If it is
spelled incorrectly, or if the wrong word is guessed, read and spell
the word on the card turn the card back over. See who has the
most cards at the end of the game.
Practicing spelling words can be fun with these quick, easy activities.
Spelling Basketball—You will need a small ball and a clean trash can.
Place the can several feet away from players. Player 1 reads a word
to player 2, who must spell it. If he spells it correctly he is allowed to try
to shoot the ball into the can to earn a point.
Variation: Use tape to put down three different lines and allow the
player to choose which line to take his shot from….the farther line is
worth 3 points, the middle line 2 points and the closer line 1 point. Or,
roll a die on each turn to determine the number of points the basket
will be worth—odd numbers are one point, even numbers two.
Glitter Words—Write troublesome spelling words in large letters, using
glue. Sprinkle glitter onto the word, using a writing motion (in the order
the lines and curves are normally written). Post your glittery creation.
Spelling Baseball—Draw four bases on a piece of paper, or lay pillows
on the floor to be bases. The pitcher selects a word. If the batter can
spell the word correctly, she moves forward one base. If the player
misses a word it is the other player‘s turn. A point is earned every time
you pass home plate.
Scrabble Spelling—Use Scrabble tiles* to spell out the words on a spelling list. Which word has the highest point value?
Scrabble Baseball—You will need Scrabble tiles* for this activity, along
with a list of spelling words. Place the tiles facedown between players.
Players take turns drawing a tile. When player can form a spelling
word, they earn a run. The player with the most runs wins.
Variation: Calculate the point value of words for each player‘s score.
* See the sight word section for directions on making your own Scrabble tiles.
Put It Together—Cut out letters from newspapers or magazines to spell
the words on a spelling list.
Spelling Puzzle—Cut apart spelling words and put them back together
like a puzzle.
Building Words / Word Families, continued
Toss and Blend—You will need 5 (or more) paper cups
for this activity, and a game chips. Write a two or
three letter blend on the inside upper lip of each cup
(see the blends list in the back of the booklet). Tape
the cups to the floor so they are near each other and
the blends are visible. You can make a portable
game by taping the cups inside a box lid. Take turns
tossing a chip into any cup. If the chip lands in a cup
the player must come up with a word that starts with
the blend to earn a point. If the chip does not land in a cup or if the
player cannot generate a word, no point is earned.
Variation: Play with ending blends (sh, ch, th, etc.)
Blend Toss—You will need a bean bag (or baggie filled with packing
peanuts or pasta and taped shut) to play this game. Write nine blends
on separate pieces of paper. Tape the papers to the floor in a 3X3
grid. The goal of the game is to hit the sound you hear. Say a sound on
one of the pieces of paper. Your child gets three chances to land a
beanbag on the correct sound. If she gets it on the first try she gets 3
points, 2 points if it lands correctly on the second try, and 1 point for
the final throw. Take turns being the reader and thrower.
Ghost—To play this rhyming game the first player says a word. Other
players take turns saying rhyming words until one player cannot think
of another word that rhymes. That player gets a G as a penalty. The
game continues with a different player saying a word at the beginning of each round. When players accumulate the letters in the word
GHOST they are out of the game.
Letter Blend Hopscotch—On a paved area draw a hopscotch pattern with 12 or 16 squares. The letters in the two
single squares should be repeated in the double squares that
follow. Play as regular hopscotch, but when your child lands
on a single letter have her say the sound of the letter. When
she lands on the two squares she must say the blend.
Building Words / Word Families, continued
Vocabulary, continued
Eggs-ellent Words—Use leftover plastic eggs
(usually half price or less the week after Easter)
to make this game. On each egg, write word endings on one half and beginning letters or blends on
the other, so that when the egg is together it spells
a word. Mix up the egg halves so color cannot be
used as a clue! Take apart the eggs and ask your
child to put them together again.
Variation: On the right side of the egg write a word
family ending (-ing, -og, etc.). On the left hand
side of the egg write 3 or 4 letters or blends which
combine with the rime to make words. Take the eggs apart and mix
them up. Ask your child to match up the eggs so that each one forms
only ―real‖ words.
Letter Taboo—Choose a common consonant (not q, x or z). During
this activity no one can say a word beginning with that letter—they
must use another word. For example, if the taboo letter is c, instead
of car a player could use vehicle, or sweets instead of candy.
Word Target Game—You will need two box lids, pizza boxes or the
short boxes soda cans come in for this game. Cut off one short side on
each lid. Divide each into a 20 square grid. In the first lid write one of
these letters in each box: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, x, r, s, t, l, m. n. p, v, w, y, z,
in any order. Divide the second lid into an eight (or more) section grid
and write a word ending in each box, for example, ab, ad, ag, am,
an, ap, st, ay. Players take turns using two game chips and flicking one
into each box. If the player can make a real word using the word
chunks the chips land on, he gets a point.
Variation: Use beginning word blends.
Flip A Rhyme—You will need a small wirebound notebook, or staple pieces of paper together at the top.
Cut the pages into three equal sections, as shown.
Make a list of word family trios (3 words that rhyme).
Starting with the left section, write one word from
each trio on each page. Repeat the same process
with the middle section and the second word of each trio, but go
down the list in a different order. Repeat with the third section and
third word of the trios, again using a different order for the words. Have
your child flip the pages until all three words rhyme.
Word Charades—Each player uses a dictionary and writes down 10
words and their definitions on slips of paper. Fold the slips and put
them in a bowl. Take turns drawing a slip and acting out the word
while the other players try to guess what it is.
Beat the Mouse—In this game players try to
guess a mystery word before a mouse is drawn
completely. The first player thinks of a word and
draws the amount of letters on a piece of paper
(_ _ _ _ _ _). Other players take turns guessing a letter that is in the
word. If it is correct the first player writes the letter in its place. If it is
wrong he writes it separately and draws a part of the mouse (body,
tail, ears, head, legs, whiskers, eyes) If the player guesses the word
before the mouse is completed, he scores one point.
Study and Slap—You will need two fly swatters (or players can use
their hands) and post-it notes. Make a list of vocabulary words with
definitions. Write the words on post-it notes and stick them on a wall
or table. Give each player a flyswatter. A non-player should read
the meaning for one of the words out loud. The first player to slap the
correct answer earns a point. The player with the most points wins.
Word Stretch—Write two words on a piece of paper and separate
them by three blanks. Then fill in the blanks so that each word has
some relationship with the word before and the word after. For
example, if you began with "movie," left three blanks, and closed
with "desk," you might end up with the sequence, "movie, ticket,
paper, write, desk." It takes imagination and some ingenuity, but
there are just about no first and last words that can't be united.
Make a game out of it by creating challenges for each other and
competing to be the first to finish.
Vocabulary, continued
Building Words / Word Families, continued
Vocabulary Stretch—Name a place or topic (bank). Take turns saying
words associated with that word (money, deposit, dollar, savings,
locks, coins, teller, loan, interest, check). The last person to think of a
word chooses the next category.
Consonant Blend Scavenger Hunt—Write blends on index cards, one
blend per card—bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, gr, pl, sc, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw and tr.
Give your child a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask him to find as
many items as he can in 5 minutes which start with the sound on the
card. For example: cl – clothes, cloth, clip, cleaner ; dr – drawer,
drink, drain; st – star, stump, stick, sting, stamp, stone.
Letter Leader—One player suggests three letters which are found at
the beginning of many words—bat, car, dot, ent, gro, hol, kni, mod,
etc. Each player writes down the letters and has 5 minutes to think of
as many words as possible beginning with those three letters (Example
with ―com‖: comedy, come, compare, comic, compass, communicate, common). Players score a point for each word no other player
wrote down. You can set a minimum letter requirement for words generated by more skilled players.
Variation: Use 2 letter combination (st: stop, step, store, still, stay, etc.)
Race for Spelling Patterns— On small cards or pieces of paper, write
common phonograms, one per card: -ack, -eat, -ice, -ock, -uck, -an,
-ell, -ick, -oke, -ug, -ap, -est, -ide, -op, -ump, -ash, -ill, -or, -unk, -at, -in,
-ore, -ate, -ine, -ain, -ing, -ail, -ink, -ake, -ip, -ale, -ir, -ame, -ay, ank.
Give each player paper and pencil. Hold up the first card. Each
player has one minute to write down as many words as she can think
of that end in that phonogram. Compare lists. Players should cross off
all words that are on another player‘s list. The player with the most
original words wins the round.
Vocabulary Go Fish— Write vocabulary words and their definitions on
separate cards. Shuffle all the cards and deal six cards to each
player. Scatter the rest of the cards face down between players.
Players must try to find a match for one of their cards by reading his
opponent the word or definition on his card. The opponent has to
give the other player the card containing the word or definition that
pairs with his card if he has it. If he doesn‘t, he tells the other player to
"Go fish" and the player takes a card from the center. If the player
finds a match, he can set his pair down. Continue until all the cards
have been paired. The student who has the most pairs wins the game.
Digraph Lotto—Have your child look for pictures of items (or draw
pictures) which begin or end with digraphs - shaker, fish, brush, shell,
shoe, sheets, dish, shovel, chocolate chips, cherries, watch, chain,
thumb, thimble, three, bath, mouth, teeth, cheese, chair, couch, etc.
Arrange them on 2 or 3 3X3 grids. Cut index cards into fourths and
write a digraph to match each picture. Mix up the cards and stack
them in a pile. Put some beans or pieces of pasta in a bowl. To play,
a player picks up the top card and reads the digraph. If he has a
picture matching a digraph (there may be more than one to choose
from) he puts a bean on that spot. If no match is found the card is
put back at the bottom of the pile. Play continues until one of the
players completely covers his playing board.
Twist a Word—Make a twister game on an old plastic table cloth or
shower curtain. Draw 16 circles, large enough to fit a hand or leg, but
not so far apart that a child can‘t reach them with his hands and legs
spread out. Write a consonant or blend in each circle. On small
cards, write two or more words for each letter or blend—one word
per card. On another color paper make 9 more cards—2 each right
hand, left hand, right leg, left leg, and one Player‘s Choice. Put all
the cards in a bag. Pull one card of each color at a time and read
the word. Your child must put (or move) that body part to the circle
with the matching beginning sound. If
player‘s choice is pulled, the player may
move either arm or leg. How long can he
keep from falling over?
Variation: This could also be played with
vowel sounds or ending sounds.
Building Words / Word Families, continued
Vocabulary, continued
Roll It! - You will need a toilet paper tube for
each word roll you want to make. On the right
side of the tube write the endings of 3 word
families (such as an, in and en). Write 3 different
consonants on a paper strip (try f, p and t). Staple
or tape the ends of the paper strip to make a ring
that slips over the end of the tube. Place the
paper ring on the left side of the tube. Ask your
child to select one word ending. Then ask her to
turn the paper ring to form new words. (Not every combination will
make an actual word.) Then have her roll the tube to form new words.
To make this into a game, you‘ll need at least one word roll per player.
Place the tubes and rings in a large paper bag. Ask each player
to randomly choose one of each. Each player slips the paper ring
on his roll and tries to write down as many words as possible. The player
with the most correct words wins the round. Here are some more
combinations from which you can spell several words:
at, it, ut + b, c, p
ap, ip, op + l, m, t
ig, ill, ish + d, f, w
all, and, old + b, c, h
eed, ing, ock + d, r, s
Add consonant blends at the beginning of the words.
Use a paper towel roll. Add word endings and beginnings!
Antonym-Synonym Tic Tac Toe—Synonyms are words with similar
meanings. Antonyms are words with opposite meanings. Choose a
word with many shades of meaning, such as good, nice, big, bad or
happy. Write the selected word on a piece of paper and draw a tic
tac toe board beneath it. Player X says a synonym for the word. If
correct, he puts an X in a pace of his choice. Then, Player O says an
antonym for the selected word and if correct, puts an O in the space
of her choice. Play continues until one player gets 3 in a row. You
can have one player say antonyms and one player synonyms or flip
a coin to determine the word category on each turn.
Variation: Play with a 4X4 or 5X5 board, trying to get three in a row.
Rhymin’ Simon—In this variation of Simon Says, the leader instructs
players to clap, jump or take another action if two words rhyme
(―Simon says clap if the words rhyme‖) then says pairs of rhyming
words, occasionally saying a non-rhyming pair (such as snake/cake,
tree/see, cup/star, red/bed). The older the child, the faster you can go.
Scrambled Beans – You will need uncooked white beans for this
activity. Write vowels on one side of the beans, one letter per bean. In
another color marker, write consonants on the other side of the beans,
one letter per bean. Divide the beans among players and toss each
pile. Which player can make the most words? The most C-V-C words?
The longest word? Just add more beans for a more challenging game.
Alpha-Bit-at-a-Time—This two player game that stretches vocabulary
and provides spelling practice. Write the alphabet down a page of
paper - each letter on a different line. Player 1 is the circle player.
Player 2 is the cross out player. Player 1 takes the paper and writes a
word that contains the letter a (apple). If it is spelled correctly, player
1 draws a circle around the letter a. If it is spelled wrong, player 2
writes it correctly and crosses out the a. Player 2 then writes a word
that contains the letter b (bottle). If it is spelled correctly player 2
crosses off the b. If incorrect, player 1 has the chance to steal the
word and letter. However, players do not have to use just one letter
at a time. For his next move player 1 might write the word credit, and
be able to circle the c, d and e. Multiple letters must follow the
sequence of the alphabet, though they may be out of sequence in
the word. When all the letters have been used, the player with the
most letters circled or crossed out is the winner.
Vocabulary Bingo—Create a list of 25 words. Each player draws a
5X5 square bingo grid and writes one of the words in each of the 25
spaces. Another player call out definitions. Players must find the word
with that definition on their card in order to cross it out. Five in a row
wins the game.
Variation: Create a list with more than 25 words. Players pick any 25
to put on their card.
Vocabulary, continued
Building Words / Word Families, continued
Predict-ionary —You will need a children‘s dictionary for this activity.
With the dictionary closed, a player asks a question about the future
(What kind of day will I have?, What gift will I get for my birthday?).
Then, without looking, she opens the dictionary and points to a word.
She must use the word and its definition nearest her finger to make
up an answer to the question. For instance, if she points to elephant
she could say ―Something huge will happen today.‖ If she points to
detective she could say ―I will figure something out today.‖
Word Builder—You will
need two 4‖X6‖ index
cards and some 3‖X5‖
index cards to make
your word builder. Fold
and tape the two large
index cards as shown.
Cut the small index
cards into four pieces
and print a lower case letter at the top of each. Set out the tray and
help your child build a word. Change one letter to make a new
word. Repeat, making as many new words as you can think of.
Variation: Allow the addition or removal of another card (end
becomes send, then send turns into sand, remove the s to make and,
Melting Snowman– This is a variation of Hangman. In pencil, draw a
snowman with 10 –16 parts (two or three circles for
the body, arms, buttons, eyes, nose, mouth, etc. )
Write a word with at least 5 letters on another piece
of paper. Underneath the snowman, make a space
for each letter in the word (___ ___ ___ ___ ___
___). Explain that your child will have to guess the
word only knowing the number of letters in it. She will
start by guessing one letter at a time. If the
letter is
in the word, write it in the correct space or spaces. If
the letter is incorrect write it below the line and erase one part of the
snowman. Your child has to try and keep the snowman from
―melting‖ entirely before the word is guessed.
Phrase Melting Snowman—Instead of a single word or name choose
a phrase (hot and humid, I spy with my little eye).
Sentence Melting Snowman—Instead of a single word or name
choose a sentence. Silly sentences make it more fun.
What a Difference a Word Makes—Pick a favorite story and photocopy it.* On the photocopy, replace key words with similar but
different words. If you picked a story about three bears, you could
replace three with fifteen, bears with rabbits, and porridge with
celery. Change the words everywhere they occur in the story. Read it
and laugh. Your child could also illustrate your new story.
* or you could use small sticky notes to cover the original words
Colorful Words—To make this game, you need
paint sample color cards. There are two kinds
of paint cards. The first type of paint card is
long and narrow, like a bookmark, with many
colors. The second is more of a square shape,
with only a few, or just one, color. On the long
narrow cards, write beginning letters or blends,
one on each color chip. Cut the square cards
into separate colors or, if one color, into a
horizontal strip. In these cards, cut out a square
large enough to reveal the letters on the word
beginnings cards. Your child can combine the
cards to see how many words she can form. To
make this into a game, make 2 face down
piles—word endings and word beginnings.
Players take turns taking one of each until they
are all taken. Each player turns the cards over
and writes down as many ―real‖ words as they
can form. The player with the most words wins.
Reading Fluency
Vocabulary, continued
Reading fluency is the ability to read words accurately and rapidly.
When fluent readers read aloud, they do so almost effortlessly
and with expression. Even when fluent readers read silently, they
recognize words automatically and do not spend undue amounts of
time trying to decode words. This ability is an important component
of reading comprehension (understanding what is read). Children
who are not fluent readers read hesitantly and with great effort,
struggling to sound out each word. These children spend too much
mental energy identifying words, leaving little energy to focus on
comprehension: when they reach the end of their reading selection,
they have no idea what they have been reading about.
Prefix/Suffix—Learning prefixes and suffixes quickly boosts
vocabulary. On index cards, write prefixes (for example, pre-, un-, disre-, mis-, im, bi-, de-) and/or suffixes (for example, -er, -able, -ous,
-ness, -ful, -ly or –y, -ment), one per card. Shuffle the cards and turn
them face down in a pile. Players take turns flipping over the top
card. The first person who can shout out a word that exemplifies the
prefix or suffix and can define the word, gets to keep that card. If you
play more rounds with the same cards, the words must not have
been used in a previous round.
Variation: Adults must name 2 words to claim the card.
One Minute Dash—Explain to your child that you are going to have a
reading race. Ask her to begin reading a passage when you say
―go!‖ Time her for one minute. Let your child count the number of
words she read. Chances are she will want to race again to see if she
can beat her previous score.
Oh No! Card Game—On small cards, write short phrases such as
What did he say?
He called me
out of the water
to the store
You can use phrases from books your child is reading. Also make a
few cards that say ―Oh No!” Put the cards in a bag and take turns
pulling one out and reading it aloud. If they are read correctly, the
player keeps the cards. When an ―Oh No!‖ card is pulled out the
player must put 3 cards back in the container. If a player who has
less than 3 cards draws an ―oh, No!‖ card he puts back all his cards.
The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
Oh, No Board Game—In this variation work with your child to draw a
game board. Players take turns pulling a card and reading it. If the
card is read correctly, the player gets to move ahead a number of
spaces equal to the number of words in the phrase. When a player
draws an Oh No! card he/she must go back 2 spaces.
Unending Adjectives—This activity will stretch your vocabulary and
memory! Ask your child to point out an object. Take turns coming up
with adjectives—words that describe that object. See how many
you can string together (and remember!) Example: A ball could be
described as a big ball, a big round ball, a big round red ball, a big
round red bouncing ball, a big round red bouncing beach ball.
Categories for All—Choose a category for your child (things you can
eat, animals, things larger than a car). Give her 30 seconds to name
as many words as she can that fit the category. Count the words as
she says them. Then have her choose a category for you and count
your words. Who came up with more? Hint: With young children you
might want to give your child a minute and yourself 30 seconds.
Word Stumpers—You will need a dictionary for this activity. One
player selects an unusual word from the dictionary. She then chooses
to either read the real definition from the dictionary or make up a
new one. The other person must guess if the definition is real or fake.
The player should try to make the made-up definitions sound like
a real dictionary definition. He/she can also put the dictionary
definition in his own words to avoid guesses made from the structure
of the sentence. If another player guesses correctly, he scores a
point. If the guess is wrong, the reader scores. Trade roles an play
again until one person scores 5 points.
Vocabulary, continued
Reading Fluency, continued
Beginnings, Endings and Middles — Write each letter of the alphabet, except q, x and z, on a slip of paper and mix them together in a
bag. Take turns choosing a slip and naming a word that begins with
the letter, a word that ends with it, and a word with the letter in the
middle. For example, for ―t‖ you might come up with two, cat and
little. Score a point for each word. If all three words cannot be
named by a player the letter goes back in the bag. Play until all the
letters have been drawn. The player with the most points wins.
Phrase Progression—Start the activity by writing down the beginning
of a sentence, such as ―My aunt Sue‖. Ask your child to read it. Have
your child dictate another phrase to add to the sentence such as
―who is a police officer,‖ and ask him to read the combined phrases.
Add two more phrases, asking your child to read the sentence after
each addition. For longer passages, try Accordion Reading:
―Instead of‖ - Start by writing one overused word at the top of a
sheet of paper, such as good, bad, nice, said, fun, very, etc. Work
together with your child to come up with synonyms (word with the
same meaning) that are more descriptive, vivid and expressive. For
instance, instead of ―very” you could include wonderfully, extremely,
certainly, remarkably, truly, etc. Post the list and ask family members
to add to it. Try to use the ―instead of‖ words at least once a day.
Find Five—Each day, have your child try to find words in print or
speech that match a certain category—color words, science words,
words that tell how people move, etc.
Vocabulary Dominoes—Make synonym dominoes.
Write a word on each domino half. Write two
synonyms for that word on one side of two other
dominoes. Make as many dominoes as you wish.
Vocabulary Toss—Toss a ball to your child while saying a category. As
soon as your child catches the ball, he must reply with a word that
falls into the category. Toss the ball back and forth using the same
category until one player cannot come up with another word.
Word Search—Give your child a magazine and ask him to find as
many words as possible that fit a certain topic—toys, food, etc.
Word of the Day—Have family members take turns looking up a new
word and posting it on the refrigerator. Try to use the word as much
as possible during the day.
Accordion Reading— Place a piece of paper so the shorter sides are
at the top and bottom. Fold the top to the bottom, creasing the fold.
Now fold the top piece of the paper to the creased edge. Turn the
paper over and repeat with the other side. Next fold the top edge
down to the crease. Turn over and repeat with the other side.
Continue this process as long as the size of your paper allow. Sharply
crease the folds before opening up. You now have an accordion
paper on which to write a poem or story. On each section write a
line of a poem or a phrase of your story. Your child can now read
what you have written, line by line, by unfolding the paper.
Word Family Progression—A progression activity can also be done
with word families. Start with a word that has a large word family
such as one ending in –ay, -ip, -at, -am, -ag, -ell, -ot, -ing, -ap or -ug.
Ask your child to read the word. Have your child write down another
word in the same family, then read both words. Repeat until she can
read an entire chain of words with speed and accuracy.
LEGO Fluency Game—Make fluency cards as described in the Oh
No! game, but instead of Oh, No! cards, make cards which say ―Add
3 (or 4, or 2) Legos‖ and ―Take a Lego.― You will also need Lego
blocks. Place the Legos between players and stack the cards face
down. Players take turns turning over a card and reading the
phrase.If it is read correctly, they get to add a Lego to their creation.
If a player turns over an Add Legos card, they may take that number
of Legos and can then take another turn. If a player turns over a Take
a Lego card, they may take one Lego from any other player. When
all the cards have been read, the player whose creation contains
the most Legos is the winner.
Reading Fluency, continued
Tongue Twisters—Tongue twisters are not only entertaining, but they
also develop verbal skills in children. A tongue twister is a sentence,
phrase or group of words that is difficult to say quickly or clearly.
For children struggling with particular sound combinations, tongue
twisters can be a fun way to practice troublesome sounds. Here are
some to get you started—books of longer tongue twisters can be
found at the library.
Sam saw six seagulls.
Bumblebees buzzed Belinda.
Which witch was which?
Ten tired turtles Tango-ed.
Spring flowers have sprung.
Cops catch crafty criminals.
Sue swims slowly on Sundays.
Lyn loves limes and lemons.
Penny paid a penny for a pumpkin.
Music makes Mel move.
Smelly shoes and socks shock sisters.
Dick kicks sticky bricks.
Try making your own tongues twisters following these simple steps:
Choose a Name: The best letters are B D L M P S or T. Use your
child‘s name or that of a friend. Or choose the name of a
character in a book you are reading and answer the questions
based on his characteristics.
What did the person do? it must begin with the name letter.
Where is the person?; must begin with the letter of her name.
When did this activity occur?; must begin with the name letter.
Why did this activity happen?; must begin with the name letter.
Baked bread
Belinda‟s Bakery
Before bedtime
Brother made him
Barry baked bread at Belinda‟s Bakery before bedtime because
brother made him.
Guess My Word—Take turns describing a mystery word: ―I heard a
word the other day. It means _________. It‟s the opposite of (or other
clues like It rhymes with, it starts with the ____ sound, etc.)
Souped Up Words—Take a tablespoon of dried
alphabet pasta and spread it out on a piece of
black construction paper. Set a timer for 3 minutes
and see how many words your child can make.
Address Book—To help your child remember new vocabulary words,
use an inexpensive address book. Each time your child comes upon
an unfamiliar word, have her write it in the address book under the
appropriate heading. Look up the word in a dictionary and write a
short definition beside the word.
My Word—Choose a word for your child to guess (balloon). Tell her
how many letters are in it. Then, give three more clues (My word has
two sets of double letters, My word has two syllables. It rhymes with
noon.) Give more clues if necessary until she guesses.
Up and Down—Think of a five letter word. Each player writes the word
with it‘s letters going down the page and beside this with the letters
going up the page;
Players then try to be the first to write down five words (names can
be used) that begin and end as shown.
A to Z—The object of this game is to be the first player to write an
alphabetical word list (omit q, x and z). The first time through the list,
every word should be one syllable long. The second time, use only
two-syllable words. In the third round the words must be 3 syllables.
You can also make up variations such as only using food words.
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