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 To encourage the ‘look, cover, write, check’ approach to spelling and
  to practice own personal spellings

Number of players

 Two to Four

What you need

    Baseboard
    Dice
    Counters
    Set of cards ( Each child could use own set of words they commonly

How to play

1. The object is to escape from the ‘castle’.

2. Each player chooses a counter and starts in the ‘lock-up room’.

3. They must spell a word before they are allowed to move out of the
room. The word is chosen by an opponent who takes it from the pile in
front of the speller; the opponent names the word and the speller has to
write it down on a piece of paper. If s/he is correct, s/he may move. If not,
the word goes to the bottom of the pile and try again next turn.

4. The players then take turns to throw the die and follow the instructions
on the board. If a player lands on a ‘spell’ square, s/he has to spell a word
correctly as above before s/he can move on.

steer/literacy/games                                                 page 1   of 6
                        Snakes And Ladders


 To practice words or letter patterns;
 To practice using ‘say, look, cover, write, check’.

Number of players

Two to Four

What you need

 A baseboard for any snakes and ladders type game
 Blank playing cards
 Pencils

How to play

1. Each player brings their own personal set of target spellings on cards
   or slips of paper - (it does not matter if these are different from those of
   the other players)

2. Start the game as usual but when a child comes to a ladder, in order to
   be able to go up it, s/he must first spell one of his/her spellings
   correctly. The player on his/her right chooses one and after looking at
   the card for five seconds, s/he must spell it correctly before going up
   the ladder.

3. Similarly, players can avoid having to go down snakes by spelling one
   of their                              words correctly.

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                          Justification Pairs


 To encourage careful visual observation of common letter features.
 To promote logical associations between letters and words.

Number of players

 Two for Snap, two to four for Pelmanism.

You will need

 Plain playing cards - write a selection of appropriate words on them-
  e.g. topic words, words from a story, words learned for spelling over
  several weeks.

How to play

 Snap - the object is to collect all the cards. Play as usual - but when a
  player calls ‘snap’, s/he has to justify the reason for claiming the pair.
  This can be because of a common letter string or even a logical
  connection: for example, one child connected mother and telephone by
  saying, ‘My mother is always on the telephone’. (No single letter
  matching is allowed).

 Pelmanism - the object is to obtain the most pairs - justified in the
  same way.
  It is usual to have fewer cards for Pelmanism than for Snap, although
  older children enjoy the challenge of using all the cards.
  Place the cards face down on the table. The players take it in turns to
  turn over any two cards. If they can justify a connection between them,
  visually, phonically or logically, then they can keep them. If no
  connection can be found, then the cards are turned face down again
  and the next player turns over a pair.

steer/literacy/games                                                page 3   of 6
                                  Hide And Seek

 To practice words or letter patterns;
 To practice using ‘say, look, cover, write, check’.

Number of players : Two

What you need

 Blank playing cards
 Paper
 Pencils

How to play

 The two players can bring their own cards to the game with personal
  spellings written on them - or they may both be working on the same
  set of cards with targeted spellings or words with a particular spelling
  pattern written on them.

 The cards are shared out.

 Player 2 lays player 1’s cards face up on the table.

 Player 1 looks at them for ten seconds.

 Player 2 picks up all the cards and secretly removes one from the pack.
  S/he now lays them back down on the table with one missing - face up
  once again.

 Player 1 must work out which one is missing and has to say and write
  the word.

 The two players now swap over.

Additional game -

    Each player looks at his or her spelling words for 3 minutes - use timer.
    Cover words. Each player tries to write as many of his or her words as possible in a
     set time.
    Swap papers and words for marking.
Harrow Literacy Resource Centre

steer/literacy/games                                                            page 4   of 6
                        Noughts And Crosses

 To practice words or spelling patterns;
 To practice using ‘say, look, cover, write, check’.

Number of players : Two

What you need

    A baseboard marked out as a 3 x 3 grid
    Nought and cross cards
    Blank cards (for spelling)
    Paper and pencils

How to play

 Set out baseboard and decide who will be noughts and who crosses.
  Share out noughts and crosses.

 Choose six words that each player needs to practice (or six words with
  a certain letter pattern) and write them on the blank cards.

 The two players must now swap word cards.

 Player 1 chooses a word from Player 2’s set and shows it to her
  opponent for 5 seconds.

 Player 2 must now write the word.

 If the word is spelt correctly then Player 2 may now place her nought
  and cross where she likes on the baseboard.

 It is now Player 2’s turn to hold up one of Player 1’s cards and so on.. .

steer/literacy/games                                                page 5   of 6
                               Sound Snap

 To investigate words which have common letter strings but different
  pronunciations e.g. Rough, cough, bough, boot, foot.
 To develop awareness of homophones, i.e. words with common
  pronunciations but different spellings e.g. eight, ate, grate, great, rain,
  rein, reign.

Number of players


What you need

 Blank playing cards

How to play

 Share out cards between two players

 Each player takes turns to lay a card from his or her set onto a central

 When two consecutive cards rhyme, the player who recognises this
  first and calls ‘snap’ wins all the cards that have been laid down.

 The player who succeeds in collecting all the cards or the most cards
  wins the game.

steer/literacy/games                                                  page 6   of 6
Spelling Strategy Games

Logical Hangman

To teach common English letter sequences. Revise words from the
children’s spelling lists.
Like Hangman but letters must be guessed in the correct sequence; the
first one or two are given. Discuss whether the children’s guesses are
possible. A section of the Hangman is drawn only if the guess is



 h,r,a,e i,o,u, w, y would be accepted, other letters would have a piece of
the hangman drawn.

Word Frame Challenge
Aim to focus on possible letter combinations in different parts of the
This is a word frame r_ _d
How many words can you make by filling this frame? Use a dictionary if
you want.
For example
Can you think of any more?
Now try these
 m_ _ t, d_ _ r, b_ _ n, m_ _h

Secret messages
Provides opportunity to segment and blend as well as predicting letter
Make a code where each letter of the alphabet is substituted with a letter
or number. Provide the alphabet with the code initially. Ask the children
to work it out and write further messages for each other.

steer/literacy/games                                               page 7   of 6
Word Line
Aim to help children be aware of likely letter combinations at the ends of

Write down any word. Think of a word that starts with the last two letters
of that word, write it. Now think of a word that starts with the last two
letters of that word and so on. See how long a chain you make.
e.g. money, eye, yellow, owed, edition, once, certain ??. Use a dictionary
if you get stuck.

Variation The chain could be mage using just the last letter, but perhaps
all words must be animals.

Word families
Choose a little word that commonly occurs in longer words. For example
cat, ant, ear, men, pin or eat. Think of words containing that word; use a
dictionary. You can write all the words in one family inside a big outline
shape of the little word.

Chain letters

Think of a 4 letter word, e.g. meat.
Change one letter at a time to make a new word, e.g. neat. Change
another letter to make a new word e.g.nest.
See how many changes you can make. Try to change every letter, don’t
keep changing the same one.

Set your words out underneath each other. Try to go from ‘boot’ to
‘shoe’, from ‘bird’ to ‘nest’, or from ‘frog’ to ‘toad’ ‘love’ to ‘hate’,
‘cold’ to ‘warm’ ‘bike’ to ‘rack’
Meat                cat
Neat                cot
Near                dot
Bear                dog
Beer                dig

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