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Phonic Games

Action Song

Aim: focus on initial sounds

Children sing a song to accompany a movement of body, e.g. [st] “Stomp, stomp my feet, Stomp, stomp my feet, Stomp, stomp my feet together” or [b][dr] “Bang, ”

bang the drum

to choose or demonstrate the action and/or the words.

Change the action word to change the song. Allow the children

Alliteration Generation

Aim: generation of alliteration words Materials: selection of objects to pass around circle and grapheme cards to match initial sounds, box. Lay objects in centre of circle and explain that the first child will pick a card from a pile handed to him (in a basket) identify the sound, then find the object which begins with the same sound. Encourage the group to call out other words, which begin with same sound. The object will then be passed around the circle with each child saying “…… (cat) begins with cer and …….(child thinks of another word which begins with the same sound) collar begins with cer.” The next child begins by repeating “cat begins with cer and (adds his own word)”. Words can be repeated. Repeat game with another object.

Alliteration Match (initial sound)

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification

Materials: grapheme cards - one for each child, alliteration cards

1. Children sit in circle, give every child a card which is placed on the floor in front of them.

2. Each child identifies their phoneme (sound), with help from others if necessary.

3. Teacher looks at an alliteration card and calls out the subjects (e.g. whales in the water)

4. Child with corresponding grapheme card calls out the sound and holds up their card.

Bag of Objects

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification

Materials: grapheme cards, objects with initial sounds to match cards, bag for objects


Look at grapheme cards, identify sounds and arrange in centre of circle

3. Pass a bag of objects around the circle singing “Bag of objects, pass it round, pass it round, pass it round. Bag of objects pass it round, what’s in the bag?” (London bridge is falling down” tune)

4. Child holding bag at the end of the song takes out an object, identifies it and it’s initial sound, then places it next to the corresponding card.

Box of Sounds

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification

Materials: grapheme cards - one for each child, objects with initial sounds to match cards

1. Children sit in circle.

2. Look at the objects and identify initial sounds. Place objects in centre of circle.

3. Pass a box grapheme cards around the circle singing “Box of sounds, pass it round, pass it round, pass it round. Box of sounds pass it round, what sound is it?” (“London bridge is falling down” tune)

4. Child holding box at the end of the song takes out the top card, identifies sound and places it next to corresponding object.

Circle Run Around

Aim: to revise sound/letter recognition – whole class Class game really but can differentiate. In the hall or outside all children sit in a big circle with a grapheme in front of them (more able could have vowel phonemes and less able a single letter). There should be 2 of each grapheme around the circle. Teacher calls a sound, the two children with that grapheme jump up and run around the circle, aim to be the first back to their place. Children cheer and shout encouragement but really it doesn’t matter who actually wins. Advantages:

Children have to be alert in case ‘their’ letter gets called Children have to remember their grapheme Some children look around the circle and call out who needs to run = revise letters other than their own.

Down the Ladder

Aim: study common letter patterns.

1. Children can work in teams or individually. Each team or child needs a ladder to write on (a page with a ladder drawn on it) The letter pattern is written on the top step of the ladder.

Simple letter patterns, e.g. at, ill, am, ug, en, op. More difficult letter patterns, e.g. ight, atch, unch, ound.

Find a Sound

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification Materials: grapheme cards in a box

1. Children sit in a circle.

2. The box of cards are passed around the circle while singing: “pass the sound box round and round etc ……… what can you find?”

3. Child identifies the phoneme and then finds something in the room beginning with that sound and places the card next to the object/ brings it back to the circle

Flash Words

Aim:revise spelling words

Materials: a set of cards with the letters of the alphabet on them.

1. Each child is given a card with a letter of the alphabet. (If there are fewer than 26 children, some children may be given 2 cards.)

2. When the teacher calls out a word, children who have a letter in the word race

to the front of the room and arrange themselves into the correct spelling order. Obviously words that contain 2 or more of the same letter can’t be used. HINT – Have children swap cards after each word, so some children aren’t stuck with uncommon letters like ‘z’.

Hide and Seek

Aim: match letters, revise sound/letter recognition – small to large group

1. Each child has a base board (A4 paper) with the letters that need revising well spaced out over the board. A copy of this board x the number of children is cut up and the letters hidden around the room.

2. The children can go and find 1 letter at a time and stick it on the baseboard.

3. This is only matching although if the board is kept on the table the children have to have remember the letter they are looking for as they move around the room.

4. The revising of letters happens as they bring the letter back to stick and they interact with an adult saying what letter they have found and what letter they need to find.

5. The completed sheet can go home for them to show their parents.

I Spy With My Little Eye

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification

Materials: grapheme cards in a box, and objects/pictures with initial sounds to match graphemes.

1. Sit children in a circle and place objects in centre.

2. Give first child the box.

3. Child picks a card from the box, and says, “I spy with my little eye something beginning with …… (says sound on card) and looks for a corresponding object. Collects object and places it with card in front of him.

4. Continue game round circle.

Initial Sound Bingo

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification

Materials : selection of objects with different initial sounds, A4 boards divided into 3 columns, box, grapheme cards to match object’s initial sounds

1. Each child has a board on which they place any 3 grapheme cards in the 3 columns. Each child identifies their graphemes.

2. Teacher holds up an object for the children to name it and identify its initial sound. Child with corresponding card claims object and places it next to its letter.

3. First child with 3 objects is the winner………… but who will be second, third etc?

Initial Sound Jump Up

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification Materials: grapheme cards

1. Give each child a grapheme card.

2. You say a word and the child with the grapheme representing the initial sound must jump up before the other children point to it. If the children seem receptive to continuing, repeat with different selection of graphemes.

Leave Out a Letter Bingo

Aim: revise spelling words

(Each child can use their own spelling words!)

1. Each child makes their own Bingo card by listing 8 words each with a letter missing and replaced by a dash.

2. Children can use spelling words or words being studied in class, e.g. theme words, words with prefix or suffix being studied. Teacher then calls out letters of the alphabet and if a child has that letter missing in one of their words, it is written into the word. Only one letter can be written in at a time.

3. Teacher keeps a record of letters called.

Medial Vowels

Aim: grapheme & medial sound identification

Materials: objects - with cvc construction ( in big box), the 5 vowel grapheme cards

1. Sit children in horse shoe in front of you.

2. Identify vowel graphemes and place in horse shoe, facing children.

3. Pass box of objects while singing abcdefg, etc. Child holding box on “z”, chooses an object, says its name then segments its sounds to identify its middle sound. The child then places the object underneath the correct vowel. Repeat until all objects have been placed.

4. This game could be ended by writing the spelling of an object on board and asking a child to read the word by blending the sounds then collecting the object and placing it back in the box.

This game could also be adapted to focus on initial or final sounds.

Musical Letters

Aim: letter/sound revision – small to large group

1. Pictures of objects beginning with the letter sounds that need practicing one on each chair placed in a circle.

2. Play some music while the children dance, when the music stops they go to a chair look at the picture, identify the initial sound and take it over to the correct letter.

3. Pictures go back on the chairs, music plays and when it stops they must go to a different chair.

Really the music and dancing is just a way to move them around to different pictures.

Name Play

Aim: initial sound alliteration; fun. Make alliterative sentences with children’s names e.g. “Ali’s ant is acting”, “Kulvinder can count”.

Noughts and Crosses

Aim: grapheme identification

Materials: whiteboard, 3 coloured markers

1. Divide class into 2 groups (e.g. name them 2 different colours), and sit them apart.

2. In black, draw a noughts & crosses grid and write in 9 graphemes/digraphs.

3. A member from first team calls out a phoneme from the square he wants to go first.


Teacher then rubs out the grapheme and replaces it with a smiley face in that team’s colour.

6. Continue with other team until either team win by winning 3 smiley faces in a


Odd One Out

Aims: final sounds Materials: Picture cards. The teacher says what is on three picture cards, e.g. “Cat-hat-rat. Close your eyes”. Teacher adds another card that doesn’t rhyme and says what is on all the cards again. “Which one is the odd one out? Why?” e.g. Children say “Cart. It doesn’t rhyme with cat-hat-bat.”

Pair Them Up

Aim: grapheme identification

Materials: grapheme cards - 2 sets (select no more than 5- 8 different letters)

1. Sit children in horse shoe in front of you.

2. Identify phonemes with group as you hold up the cards, then place them upside down in a grid pattern in centre of the horse shoe facing the children.

3. Facing into the horse shoe so the group can all see, let each child turn over 3 cards, identifying phonemes as each card is turned over. Ensure the cards are replaced in the same position if not “won”.

4. Wining cards are placed in front of the successful children.

“Sound jump” game could be played at end of game.


(A challenging game that can be adapted to the level of the children!)

1. Think of a word to be the “Password”. Write it on a piece of paper.

2. Children have to guess what the word is but the only clue that they are given is the first and last letters and the number of letters in between, e.g. p


3. Children write down as many words as they can that fit the pattern. Children score 1 point for each word and 5 points if they have the password.

4. For older children choose a longer word.

5. Children can be divided into teams or pairs for this game.

Pick a Letter

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification

Materials: grapheme cards - one for each child, in a box


Child picks a card from the box, identifies phoneme (sound) and thinks of something beginning with that phoneme.

3. Pass box to next child and repeat. (Try to keep the pace fast).


Aim: revise spelling words

1. Children stand in a circle.

2. Teacher gives a word for the children to spell and nominates the person to start. Children give one letter at a time going in a clockwisedirection. The child who is after the person who says the last letter says ‘Pineapples’.

3. The next child is out and sits down. If a child says a wrong letter, he is out and sits down also.

4. Next person must give the correct letter.

5. When the word is completed, teacher then gives the next word and play continues around the circle. Last child standing is the winner.

Poison Letters

Aim: revise spelling words

1. Children stand in a circle or stand behind their seats.

2. A letter is nominated to be the poison letter. (A vowel or a common letter like ‘t’, ‘s’ or ‘n’ makes the game go faster.

3. Teacher gives a word for the children to spell and nominates the person to start. Children go around the circle or the class giving one letter at a time. When a person says the Poison Letter, they sit down as they are out. If a child says an incorrect letter he is also out and sits down. Continue around the circle with the teacher giving more words. Last person standing is the winner.

HINT – To make the game more interesting, nominate 2 or 3 Poison Letters.

Quick Scan

Aim: to practise left to right scanning, to develop visual memory for letter shape.

1. Show children a letter, perhaps a newly introduced letter, the children have highlighter pen and a newspaper and they scan highlighting when they see the letter.

2. First to find 5 or who can find the most in 3 mins?

Rhyming Bingo

Aim: Cards can have words on with highlighted initial/end rhyme. Children have cards with pictures on. The caller has picture cards that are rhymes for the children’s pictures e.g. caller says, “goat”, child says if they have a rhyming picture, e.g. “boat- goat”.

Rhyming Pairs/Strings

Aim: find sounds / alliteration Make up silly rhyming couplets, e.g. “I like rice…It’s very nice”, “I like mice, they are very nice.” Etc.

Say a Sound

Aim: grapheme & initial sound identification Materials: alliteration cards

1. Hold up alliteration card while children sing the rhyme.

2. Starting with the adult, everyone has to think of something beginning with the sound on the card.

Silly Soup

Aim: A fun way to revise letters and sounds and reinforce recently taught key words. Materials: a large bowl, a big spoon, objects and/or picture cards. Children have a chance to stir the spoon in the bowl. Explain that they are going to make a silly soup and all sing a song together: “I’m making lots of silly soup, I’m making soup that’s silly, I’m going to cook it in the fridge, To make it nice and chilly.” Children have a tray with objects with simple CVC words that rhyme e.g. – bat-cat-rat-etc. Each child chooses an object and then says the list of rhyming objects in the bowl.

Sound Bag

Aim: initial sounds Materials: a bag, objects and picture cards Sing a song to the tune of “What shall we do with the drunken sailor”. “What shall we do with the sound 'k', What shall we do with the sound 'k', What shall we do with the sound 'k', On this (sunny/rainy) morning, Let’s find words that start with 'k', Let’s find words that start with 'k', Let’s find words that start with 'k', On this (sunny/rainy) morning.” Pull objects from a bag all beginning with same initial letter(s) you are focusing on (e.g. key, king, coin, can). Then sing, “We know 'key' starts with k…”etc. As you put objects back in bag say the word with emphasis on the initial letter eg “K-K-K-ey.”

Sound Jump

Aim: grapheme identification

Materials: grapheme cards - one for each child

1. Children sit in circle, give every child a card which is placed on the floor in front of them.


Teacher calls out a phoneme and the child with corresponding grapheme (letter) jumps up quickly.

4. Meanwhile the rest of the class has to try to point to that grapheme before its owner has jumped up!

Sounds Basketball (Initial letters)

Aim: A fun way to revise letters and sounds.

Materials: a soft ball, a bin or hoop to throw the ball through.

1. Divide the class into 2 teams.

2. Each team sends a player to the front and the teacher says a letter or a sound.

3. The first of the 2 players to say a word thatstarts with the letter or sound gets to have a throw.

4. If they get the ball in the goal (the bin or hoop) the team scores a point.

VARIATION Basketball Final letters/sounds Played as above but children must give a word that ends with the letter or sound.

Stepping Race

Aim: Makes children think about words, sounds and letters. Materials: A word card or picture card for each child.

1. Children stand in a row about 5-7 metres away from a finish line. (Class could be divided into teams and one child from each team could play.

2. Each child is given a card (word card or picture card).

3. Children are asked to take a step forward if their word (or name or the name of their picture) has a certain quality, e.g. Take a step forward if your word has a ‘th’ sound. Take a step forward if your word has the letter ‘e’. Take a step forward if your word has 2 syllables. Take a step forward if your word is a noun.

4. The first child to reach the line is the winner.

Stepping Stones

Aim: grapheme identification Materials: grapheme cards

1. Place cards in a large circle.

2. Children step from card to card while singing “walk around and find a sound, What will I stop on?”

3. Going round the circle, each child jumps back off their card and immediately calls out the sound.


Three and Out

Aim : to revise sound/letter knowledge – small group

Can use the pairs of letters made for pairs game but may be better to have one set of letters in one colour card and another set in a different colour.


Share out one set of letters between the children ( so that they have 3 letters each, if there are 4 children and you are not revising 12 letters yet there can be duplicates of some letters).


The children place these letters in front of them and name them.


The second set of letters is placed in a pile in the centre, each child takes it in turns to turn the top card, they name it and if it matches one of their letters they are matched up and removed from the game.



it does not match one of the child’s letters talk about who’s letter it is but it

is put to the bottom of the centre pile.


First child to match and remove all 3 letters is the winner.

Where’s the Sound?

Aim: Children identify the position of a sound in a word.

1. Teacher tells the sound that children are to listen for, e.g. sh.

2. Teacher says a word containing the sound, e.g. shell, fishing or wash.

3. Children close their eyes and put their hands

on their head if the sound is at the start of the word


on their waist if the sound is in the middle of the word

on their bottom if the sound is at the end of the word.

4. Repeat for more words with the same sound or for a new sound.

Who Can Cross the River?

Aim: grapheme identification & cvc blending Materials: white board, marker pens

1. Draw a river across the board. Write 3 letters at the top (ones which make up

a cvc word).

2. Draw a crocodile in the river and a child’s name next to the cvc word.

3. Sing “who can cross the river, who can cross the river, who can cross the river and reach the other side?”

4. Child has to identify sounds and blend to make the cvc word.

5. When child is successful, then sing “…………………has crossed the river

…………… and reached the other side”.

Write child’s name on other side of

river. Alternative: lay out 2 ropes to represent river. Place 3 carpet squares as stepping stones across the river, place 3 grapheme cards - one on each carpet square. Child sounds out the phonemes as s/he steps across the river, then blends the sounds together to hear the word.

Word Dash

Aim: to practise segmenting to spell, letter recognition – whole class


2,3, 4 or possibly 5 children in a mixed ability group with a set of A5 letters. (Letters dependent upon the words that you wish to make.)

2. Teacher calls a word. One child in each group is the runner the other children

have to give the runner 1 letter at a time, runner runs to a pillar and props up the letter and runs back to get the next letter that the rest of the team have ready for them. Advantages:

Less able hear segmenting (which if you can’t do it yourself you need to hear again and again) Less able have grapheme recognition reinforced As the word is checked the less able see and hear blending to read.