Tic Tac Toe Board with Electrical Tape

Students like to play this game. I choose skills or words that they need to practice. Great for handwriting practice, cvc words, sight words, or tricky vowel sounds.

Create a reusable whiteboard to practice handwriting and spelling.

Tic-Tac-Toe was one of the first games I learned to use as a tool, to help teach my preschool students. Simple x’s & o’s, and the spatial awareness of drawing the lines. The kids think of it as a game and are more willing to pick up a pencil or crayon if it feels fun.

White Board with Tape Lines.

Using electrical tape has created something reusable. I was surprised at how much the kids loved erasing the words, and the lines stayed. It was like magic to them. They wipe the letters off and rush to play again. Hooray!

Adding the lines has given new life to this old scratched-up whiteboard.

Cutting the Tape

The original thickness of the electrical tape is wide. Making the lines thinner, by cutting with scissors was too hard. Using an Xacto made it easier to cut.

Carefully cut away from yourself.

Cutting a straight line without a guide was too hard. Don’t try it! I found a plastic milk cap that was a nice thickness. With the electrical tape flat on the table, I could keep the Xacto knife flat on the cap. Rotate the tape slowly and cut the tape with a little bit of pressure to cut the tape. Be sure to cut away from your body.

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Try CVC words.

CVC words are great for this game. After we play the Uno CVC game, I will choose some words they need to practice writing.

Using the tic-tac-toe game is great for practicing sight words. Try capital letters and lowercase letters. Especially in words like the letter /i/ (It, If, Is, In) Those are good words to work on. Remind the students to sound out the word as they write it.

Sometimes we practice just the letters b, and d. This helps with letter reversals.

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Ed Said, “d, id, t.” Suffix Game

Have you heard students struggling to decode words with the suffix -ed? I have! The suffix -ed has 3 different sounds. This game is a fun way to learn them.

Spelling Patterns for the -ed Sounds

Have you heard students struggling to decode words with the suffix -ed? I have!

The suffix -ed, can be tricky

Trying to explain the different sounds, spelling patterns, and irregular verb tenses can be overwhelming sometimes. This war-style card game can be used to tackle all those things in three different ways. Ed said, Ed says, and Ed spells are 3 fun, engaging ways to play with suffixes, and tenses while learning at the same time.

The word hopped can be very hard for students sometimes.

Ed the elephant can not say this name, but he can make 3 different sounds “d, id, t.”

The suffix -ed has some very predictable patterns and those patterns each have a different point value in the game. The irregular verbs like run and ran are so tricky so I have added them into another game called Ed Says? The irregular verbs have the highest number of points in this game.

The third game is called Ed Spells. This game has point values for the many different spelling patterns of the word that have the suffix -ed added to them.

Suffix -ed spelling patterns are +ed, double consonant, drop e, & change the y to /i/ +ed.

This is also a great game for ESL students.

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Final /K/ Sound Games

Which to use ck, ke, or k for the final k sound?
These visuals are another way to remind students to look and listen for the vowel sounds and names.

Which to use ck, ke, or k for the final k sound?

Emergent readers often struggle with final k sounds and spellings, and rightly so. There is a lot to unpack here with these spelling rules and patterns.

They may start off well with phonics and individual letter sounds, they may transition to decoding CVC words, and then the rules seem to change overnight when they get to the final letter k sounds. They are often confused with the fact that ck, can make one sound. While other words can use only the letter k by itself, without the letter c. Then you add in the words that end with ke, for example the word: like, with a silent e. Bingo-bango we now have a student who is confused.

Final k sounds with a silent e

Yes, this does not happen every time but it did happen the other day on a spelling test in my class. One student started adding /cke/ to the end of the words. I think she was trying to cover all the possibilities for the final /k/ sound. I have seen this before with students who do not understand all the reasons for final silent e.

To help speed up this process, I have created a few games that I can play with the students that will help them practice some repeated reading of words that have the final /k/ sound. Grouping words together with similar spelling patterns often makes it easier for them to decode new words that they did not know they could read.

War-style educational games

They love these war-style games. To get extra use out of the game cards, I added beginning k sounds too. This is a bonus with hard c words all in the same resource.

It’s important to teach students that the really vowels matter a lot. Listening for the vowel sound or the vowel name can be the key to helping decide which final /k/ spelling to use.

  • If you hear the vowel sound before the final /k/ sound then use /ck/.
  • If you hear the vowel name before the final /k/ sound then it could be /ke/ or /k/.

Here are a few example words:

  • -ck ending: back, peck, dock, luck
  • -ke ending: bake, hike, coke, puke
  • -k ending: bank, pink, soak, park

The letters /ck/usually follow a very predictable pattern. It is sometimes called a short vowel pointer. Meaning it points backwards to the vowel that is making its short sounds, and the vowel is not saying its long name.

To help the students learn this skill of listening for the short vowel pointer, I also added some sound sorting cards to this game. These cards can be used as wildcards in the war game or used for sound sorting during a tutoring lesson.

Beginning c pattern: a, o, u. Beginning k pattern i, e, y.

These visuals are another way to remind students to look and listen for the vowel sounds and names.

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CVC Uno game for Emergent Readers

CVC consonant vowel consonant. This is my first and most important go-to game for new students. They love playing it, mostly because they start to feel successful at reading new words that they did not know they could read.

CVC Uno game is made up of decodable short vowel phoneme cards, an easy-sound sorting games can be played to help reinforce the short vowel sounds.

CVC Uno consonant vowel consonant. This is my first and most important that I play with my students. It is an easy go-to game for new students who need some short vowel support. They love playing it, mostly because they start to feel successful at reading new words that they did not know they could read.

action cards for cvc game

It has all the great wildcards that Uno should have, skips, wilds, draw 2, draw 4, but there are no reverse cards. ( Trust me that is a bonus! – reverse cards cause arguments )

226 words, all decodable color-coded with red vowels and black consonants.

Playing Cards are grouped by colors

a e i o u / a-red, e-yellow, i -purple, o-orange, u-blue

This is a digital item, so you can print more than one set. I like to have 2 sets. One that is sorted, and one that is complete. Some students are working on vowel sound distinction. Hearing the difference between short e and short i. For those students, we play the game with just e,i, words. Other many struggle with the short vowels a and u. It is nice to have extra sets on hand to quickly support small groups and tutoring.

If you are using any of the satpin decodable books you may want to start with the short a and i cards, and then build up the other vowels. Reading words in isolation without the distractions of pictures is a good way to help students focus on the letter sounds. Keep those eyes on the words for successful decoding.

Print multiple sets for easy-level transitions

I like to keep one set shorted by the short vowel sounds for emergencies.

Having an extra card set ready makes this a fast and easy resource to grab when I want a quick game to help support students. If I notice that a student is stumbling over the same short vowel sound, I will pull out this game and choose the short vowel that the student needs to review. After reading a few words as flashcards, the students often start to recognize that the middle sound is the same. Some students start to discover the word families on their own. It is great! I love it when that happens naturally.

Next, in the scope and sequence of decodable reading games, you might like the r-controlled uno. Many of my students are shocked to hear themselves reading words that they said were too hard. I love it.

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Phonics Spelling Games Bundle Decodable Digraphs

Leveled educational intervention for the different structured literacy stages.

Lots of great phonics spelling games in one big bundle.

A fun way to learn spelling rules and reading flashcards in a game-style educational setting.

Great for leveled educational intervention for the different structured literacy stages. Easy to fit into your scope and sequence.

CVC, CVCC, Floss, R-controlled, CVCe, Long a, C+le, Many sounds of y, many spellings of sh, Many silent letters, syllables, vowel teams, many spellings of “ew/oo” and sight words.

Based on many familiar kids’ games: Uno, War, Old Man, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Rummy, and some editable play cards. You must see, there is so much in this bundle.

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You might also like the tricky Schwa sounds

Long Vowels Spelling Test Clip Card Bundle

Decodable game-style testing ay, ea, ei, e, i, -y, ey, igh, y_e, ie, ign, oa…..and more. Long a, e, i, o.

This is a great way to check on the student’s spelling without them knowing that they are being assessed for spelling. It works well in small groups and it is fun.

© Pure Joy Teaching – Vowel Team Spelling Cards

There are four sets of cards in this bundle.

You can get them here from TPT.

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You may also like the suffix game.

Which do I use letter C or the Letter K?

I remind them to listen for the vowels. If it is a, o, u, use c. If it is e or i, use the k.

Do your students ever ask you this question? Is it c or k?

 Letter C or Letter K . Reminding the students to listen for the vowel sounds is great to figure it out.  If the sound is: a, o, u, the use letter c. 

If the vowel sound is: e or i, use the k.

This game is one way to let them read words that have the c and k spelling patterns.

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You may also like the final K game.

Many Sounds of the Letter u.

Do you know all the different sounds letter u can make?

This might be a tricky one to teach. Some students that are learning to decode by the traditional phoneme sounds have trouble with words that do not follow the normal sounds. Example words: you, push, pull, put, was, banana.

So, with that in mind. I made up this silly picture and sentence to help them.

Unbelievable the U pushed the super unicorn

The vowel can make lots of different sounds. This sentence and the silly picture is a clever way to remember some of the sounds and different spellings of the Y-oo!

You can find it here.

The letter u can make a  shocking amount of sounds. The sounds can be hidden in many different spellings.  Example words: the, was, push, super.  In the word unicorn, the letter u name and the schwa sound comes from the letter i.  Crazy! Right ….

Unbelievable! You pushed the super unicorn

This Super Unicorn Collection can be helpful for teaching and clearing up some of the sounds and spellings by grouping them together in word lists and adding colorful pictures to create mnemonic clues. 

Check out my large bundle of Long Vowel Spelling Test Clip Cards.


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Chef vs Magician, Sh Sound Spelling ci, ti, si, Card Games

Pairing up the right lessons with card games has given my struggling readers and spellers a great advantage.

How to teach spelling lessons with fun card games?

Pairing up the right lessons with card games has given my struggling readers and spellers a great advantage.

Education games that students want to play. Over and Over again.

Posters can be used to teach single a lesson or combined into many lessons.

War-style card game Chef VS Magician has colorful images and letters for the many different spellings of /sh/.

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The tricky sh sound spelled ci, ti, si, xi, ss, sh, ch, s, c, can now be used as a game.  Students love playing card games like War and Uno.  These 144 cards were made to highlight the tricky “sh” sounds in words and added a point value to the different spellings. Including the French ch = sh, and letters like c and s, in words like ocean and sugar.

“It is a trick?”

Knowing there is a trick is the best way to avoid being tricked by it. This is a fun play on words. Words like ocean, sure, and sugar all have a “sh” sound that we can not see from the spelling clues.

144-Word cards with color-coded /sh/ (many different spellings of the “sh” sound) with single beginning syllable and ending syllables.

You can find it here on TPT . The are many different ways to play. Use the cards for UNO, War, or flash cards. Printing out multiple sets have been extra helpful for me. I work with many different students at different levels. It is easier for me to have the cards grouped into leveled decks ranging from easy to advanced.

The lesson posters can be cast to the TV or smartboard. I like to keep them all bound up in a booklet, it is handy for working with small groups or tutoring students.

We review the spelling lessons and write a few words from the word lists. Some students like to draw mnemonic pictures for different /sh/spellings. Then we play the card game to put reading into practice.

Level one starts with the main spelling of the sh sound, and explains to the students that these are single-syllable words. The next level can be introducing tricky words like: sure, sugar, and ocean. Or moving on to multiple-syllable words and compound words.

Lesson Booklet Option

Binding up the pages created a valuable handy resource for me.

These mnemonic picture-embedded spelling tips have been very helpful. Especially for the very tricky R-controlled Trigraphs.

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Hu bu hu bu Handwriting – Helps with b d reversals

Letter reversals can be a huge problem, and sometimes the letter b comes out looking like the number 6. 

This is a fun way to practice the correct letter formation and the letter sounds at the same time.

Letter reversals can be a huge problem, and sometimes the letter b comes out looking like the number 6.  Some students start both by drawing a straight down and then they can not remember which way the b or d should turn.

So we use the h b h b practice.  I tell them the letter h and b are almost the same, the only difference is the letter b is closed at the bottom. So, make the tall letter h then close the bottom. Now it is the letter b.  Be sure to make the letter sounds when you write.  “h, b, h, b.” This is very important to make the letter sounds. Be careful not to use the letter name too much. Referring to the letter by its sound can help to avoid letter name interference. Letter name interference is very common with w, y, and u.

How to correct b and d reversals in handwriting

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This is also a great time to remind them that the letter h is a tall letter, and the letter n is a small letter.

It is super important that students learn to start the letters at the top, not the bottom. We have found that when students start the letters on the bottom line there is a good chance that they will turn out backwards. We were seeing confusing letters and thought “Is it dyslexia?” In this case no, it was not. It was just bad handwriting habits that needed to be corrected by teaching the students to start the lowercase letters at the top, and not the bottom.

This is one of the reasons that I wrote this book R’s Pirate Handwriting Storybook. The shape of the letter r is a really good way to group all the letters that make the same starting shape. Practicing these letters together can also help remove the b d confusion. This book series is full of effective practices for teaching writing.

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