How to Play a Phonics Game

Early readers may struggle with different sounds and letter combinations. To help them decode new words and improve their reading comprehension skills, many teachers use phonics games and activities in the classroom. You can also play phonics games with your child at home. Keep reading for some phonics game ideas.

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Why Should My Child Play Phonics Games?

Simply put, phonics is a teaching method that helps students understand the sounds and pronunciations associated with common letter groupings. While teachers may cover phonics at school, additional practice at home will make it easier for your child to break down new words and expand his or her vocabulary. This is extremely important for beginning readers and writers who may not have a firm grasp on all aspects of the English language.

Phonics Game for Beginning Readers

Step 1: Choose a Focus

Phonics instruction can be overwhelming for students, teachers and parents if it's not broken down into manageable lessons. Before you can play a phonics game with your child, you must decide what to focus on. For example, your son or daughter may need practice with phonemic awareness, which is the ability to recognize individual sounds in words, before studying phonics on paper. Alternatively, you can jump right in with word families and blending techniques.

Step 2: Select a Game

Games are a great way to get students interested in a lesson. The less complicated the game is, the more effective it will be. Once you've chosen a focus for the lesson, you can select a game. Possibilities include Bingo, Concentration, word searches and more. When you have settled on a game, then it's time to put the lesson into action.

Step 3: Play

As an example, here's a way you can focus on teaching your child the long 'e' sound using the game Concentration, also known as Memory. Before playing this game, you should discuss the long 'e' sound, its spelling and its symbol with your child to give him or her a base understanding of the concept.

To get started, you'll need 18 index cards and a list of nine age-appropriate words that contain the long 'e' sound. Using the list, write one word per card, two times each. Shuffle the deck, and lay the cards on a table, face-down in three rows of six. Alternate turns with your child, flipping over two cards at a time to try and make a match. If a match is made, the player collects the cards and takes another turn. If the cards are mismatched, flip them back over and move to the next player until all cards are gone. The player with the most cards wins.

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