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Grades 1-2: Phonics Fun

Add some pizzazz to your phonics instruction with these games.

  • Grades: 1–2

More To Explore Five ready-to-use SMART Notebook lessons on phonics.

Oh, Oh, Oh Long O
Explore the patterns that make the long o sound.

Long A
Test your students’ knowledge of long a with a game of ­checkers!

Watch Out for Bossy R!
Learn about bossy r-controlled vowels.

The Magical Digraphs
Show your students what happens when two consonants come together to make one distinct sound.

Hard and Soft Sounds
Let Cool Letter C and Groovy Letter G teach your students about consonant sounds.

Blend Bingo

Setup: Give each student a blank bingo board (print one at scholastic.com/instructor) and bingo chips. On index cards, write the blends br-, cl-, fl-, gr-, pl-, sp-, and tr-, and put the cards in a hat.

How to Play: As a class, make a list of words that begin with the blends on the index cards. Instruct students to select words from that list and write them on their bingo boards. Then start playing! Pick a blend out of the hat. Using the chips, students should cover up one word—and only one word—on their boards that begins with that blend. (Make sure to put the index cards back in the hat.) The first player with a row or column covered by chips should jump up and shout, “Blend Bingo!”

Spotlight on Words

Setup: Make sure your word wall is up to date, and you have a working flashlight.

How to Play: Teach students this chant: Flashlight, flashlight/Shine so bright/Shine on a new word/With all your might. Then turn off the lights and turn on a flashlight! Sing the chant as a class and have a student volunteer shine the light on a word recently added to your word wall. Each time you sing the chant, pass the flashlight to another student. Replace new in the chant with word patterns you have recently studied. For example, you might sing, Shine on a compound word/With all your might. In addition to using the word wall, you can also shine a light on environmental print around the classroom, such as words on bulletin boards or posters.

Doggie Bag Word Sort

Setup: Decorate four brown-paper lunch bags with stickers or drawings of dogs. On each bag, adhere a cutout of a dog bone. Label each dog bone with one of the following long-e patterns: ee, ea, or ie. On the fourth bag, attach a bone labeled DOGHOUSE. Then, on separate dog bones, write words that follow each of the three long-e patterns. Make sure to include some words that are spelled with the pattern but do not follow the rule (for example, been for ee, head for ea, and friend for ie).

How to Play: Invite students to sort the words on the bones into the appropriate “doggie bags.” Tell students that some words don’t follow the rules; those words belong in the “doghouse.” After students are done sorting, they can take the words out of the bags and read them to a classmate to make sure all words follow the same pattern. To extend the activity, have students write their own words on extra dog bones and challenge a classmate to sort them.

Fishing for Words

Setup: Have students work in pairs to create 30 playing cards using index cards. There should be five word cards for each short vowel—a, e, i, o, and u. Decorate the backs of the cards with drawings of fish. Shuffle all 30 cards into one pile.

How to Play: Set students up for a game of Go Fish. The goal of the game is to make pairs of short-vowel words. Each student should begin with five cards. The remainder of the cards should be placed in the “fishing” pile. The player with the closest upcoming birthday can be player 1. He or she should put down a pair of matching short-vowel words, such as two short-a cards. If player 1 does not have a matching pair, he or she should ask player 2 for a card needed to make a pair. For instance, player 1 would ask, “Do you have a short-a card?” If player 2 has a short-a card, he or she must give it to player 1. Player 1 can then put down that pair on the table. If player 2 does not have the card, he or she should say, “Go fish!” Player 1 must then pull one card from the “fishing” pile. Play alternates until all the cards are used. The player who makes the greatest number of short-vowel pairs wins!

Jumping Word Families

Setup: Take the students outdoors or to the gymnasium. Give each student a jump rope and gather everyone in a circle.

How to Play: Looking to put some extra energy to good use? Have students practice word families while jumping rope. Start with a word family you are currently studying, such as -at. As a class, brainstorm four words in this family. Next, practice the following chant as you jump rope: a, t, at, at. These are words in the family -at: hat, cat, mat, sat. These are the words in the family -at. Then make it more challenging. Start the chant together. When it’s time to list words in the word family, call on one student in the circle to provide a new -at word. Then move around the circle so that each student has a chance to contribute a word to the chant. Give students ample time to come up with a word, or allow them to “pass” to a friend in the circle. (For students with ADHD or processing difficulties, explain the activity beforehand. Tell them to start thinking of words in the word families that you’ll use in the game.) When you’ve run out of words, it’s time to jump along to another word family!

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