Alphabet Activities

Explanation

These activities are used to practice the alphabet, phonics, making words, pronunciation, or other such learning targets.

Gibberish

  1. Make a set of letter (phonics) cards with at least one consonant and several of each vowel.
  2. Use different colors for vowels and consonants.
  3. Make a gibberish word (non-word), such as edaf, with cards.
  4. Ask students to pronounce the word using correct phonetic sounds.
  5. The first student (or student group) to say this word correctly adds two more letters (vowel + consonant) to the word (e.g.: edafin).
  6. The first student (or student group) to say this new word correctly adds to more letters (e.g.: edafinob).
  7. Continue the game until a time limit or certain word length is achieved.
  8. Long words are good for students to practice with, but short words can be used to teach actual words.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small alphabet cards

Grade Target: High

 

Hangman

  1. Write the alphabet along the top of the board.
  2. Students choose a picture card.  Draw lines on the board for each letter in the word.
  3. Show the students the picture, hiding the word.
  4. Students or student teams take turns guessing letters and discovering what the word is.
  5. As they guess letters, cross them off the board.
  6. The game is over when someone guesses the word.
  7. Vary the hangman pieces depending on the class’s ability.
  8. For more difficulty, don’t show the class the picture.

Preparation: Easy

Materials:

  • Flashcards

Grade Target: High

How Many Letters Can You Write?

  1. Students take out a piece of paper and pencils.
  2. The teacher sets a timer.
  3. The teacher reads out a letter, and students write the letter until the timer rings.
  4. The student that can write the most letters is the winner.

Preparation: Easy

Materials:

  • Paper or worksheet

Grade Target: High

How Many Words Can You Make?

  1. Split the class into teams.
  2. Spread alphabet or phonics cards on the table.
  3. Set a timer.
  4. Students work together to make words or meaningless non-words from consonant and vowel combinations.
  5. The team with the most words or non-words and words at the end of the time period wins.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small alphabet cards

Grade Target: High

Letter Collection

  1. Put the target alphabet cards into a box or bag.
  2. Each student or student team takes turns to draw a card.
  3. The student or team reads out the letter, writes it on the blackboard, and then puts the card back in the box.
  4. Continue this until a student or team draws all of the letters.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small alphabet cards

Grade Target: High

Make a Pair

  1. Split the class into teams.
  2. Each team puts vowel cards in a line on the table and puts consonant cards in a bag or box.
  3. A student from each team janken with each other, and the winner draws a card from the bag.
  4. The student puts the card next to any of the vowel cards, and the team reads the combination.
  5. The first team which gets five vowel and consonant pairs (and can read them correctly) wins.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small alphabet cards

Grade Target: High

Make a Word

  1. Split the class into teams.
  2. Put vowel cards in a box or bag, and consonant cards in another box or bag.
  3. Prepare a dice with only 1, 2, and 3 written on it.
  4. A student from each team rolls the die.
    1. If the number is one, they can draw one consonant card.
    2. If the number is two, they can draw a consonant card and a vowel card.
    3. If the number is three, they can draw two consonant cards and one vowel card.
  5. Students make “words” out of these cards, which can be meaningless, but should follow consonant + vowel + consonant patterns.
  6. The team with the most “words” wins.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small alphabet cards

Grade Target: High

On Your Back

  1. Split the students into several teams, and have them form into lines facing the blackboard.
  2. The first student in each team goes to the teacher, who secretly shows or tells them a letter.
  3. The student goes back to the team and writes the letter on the second student’s back with their finger. Students cannot tell their teammates the answer, but can write the letter multiple times (be ready to help students if they are having difficulty).
  4. The second student will repeat the process with the third student.
  5. The last student in the line writes the letter on the blackboard.
  6. If the letter is correct, the team gets one point.

Preparation: Easy

Materials:

  • Alphabet flashcards

Grade Target: High

 

Phonics Builder

  1. A phonics builder can be made by joining three notepads together (side-by-side). On each page of the two outer notepads, write a consonant sound (e.g.: t, s, b).
  2. On each page of the inner notepad, write a vowel sound (e.g.: a, e, i, o, u).
  3. For more advanced students, include digraphs (e.g.: ch, sh, th, ee, oo).
  4. To practice vowel + consonant combinations, leave the first notepad closed and open the second and third notepads to the first vowel and consonant.
  5. Have students try to read the combination (e.g.: ab).
  6. Flip the third notepad to new consonants practice the new sounds (e.g.: ac, ad).
  7. Switch consonants and vowels once students can make the correct sounds.
  8. Use the third notebook to practice consonant + vowel + consonant combinations.
  9. Make sure students are trying to read the sounds before you help them. Remember that many sound combinations will not be real words.

Preparation: Moderate

Materials:

  • (Large) notebooks filled with large consonant or vowel letters

Grade Target: High

Team Dictation

  1. Split the class into teams.
  2. One member of each team stands at the board.
  3. The teacher calls out a sound or word, or students call out a sound or word that teachers show them.
  4. The students at the board then try to write that sound or word.
  5. If they get it right, their team gets a point.

Preparation: Easy

Materials:

  • List of sounds or words

Grade Target: High

Team Speaking

  1. Split the class into teams.
  2. Show the first team the first sound or group of sounds for the target word and have them say it (e.g.: el).
  3. Show the second team the second sound or group of sounds and have them say it (e.g.: bow).
  4. Continue prompting teams to say their parts in succession. Prompt them faster and faster until it sounds like one word (e.g.: el … bow, el .. bow, el . bow, elbow).
  5. This is a good way to introduce combined sounds.  Longer or nonsensical words can also be used to practice phonics.

Preparation: Easy

Materials:

  • Flashcards for phonetic sounds or sound groupings

Grade Target: High

Vowel + Consonant Bingo

  1. Make a 6×6 grid. Write down the vowels in a vertical line, and any consonants in a horizontal line.
  2. Split the class into teams. Have students decide their own team color or mark.
  3. One student from each team does janken. The winner chooses one space on the grid and everyone reads out the letters (e.g.: If the student chooses “e” and “p”, all the students color that spot and read “ep”).
  4. The first team to create a vertical, diagonal, or horizontal line wins.

Preparation: Moderate

Materials:

  1. Bingo sheets

Grade Target: High

 

Where are the Vowel Cards?

  1. Place vowel cards everywhere around the classroom.
  2. Give a consonant card to each student. If they do well, give them more than one card.
  3. The teacher reads out a vowel + consonant sound (e.g.: up).
  4. The student who has the “p” card looks for and goes to the “u” card.
  5. All the students read out “up” together.
  6. Set a timer for individual students or for the class as a whole.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Multiple sets of alphabet cards

Grade Target: High

Who Can Finish First?

  1. Split the class into teams.
  2. Give each team an equal number of vocabulary or phonics cards and (if available) a small box to hold the cards.
  3. The first students from each team hold the cards and read out the first card. Then the student puts down the first card and passes the rest of the cards to the next student.
  4. The team that finishes first wins.

Who Can Finish First Variation

  1. Set a timer and have the boxes be “bombs”. The students holding the boxes when the timer beeps is the loser.

Preparation: Moderate

Materials:

  • Multiple sets of small alphabet or vocabulary cards
  • Multiple boxes for the cards

Grade Target: All

Write the Letter

  1. Split the class into teams.
  2. The first student from each team goes to the blackboard.
  3. The teacher chooses a letter and shows the letter to the rest of the team.
  4. The teams read the letter aloud, and the students at the blackboard write down what they hear.
  5. If the letter is correct, the team gets one point.

Preparation: Easy

Materials:

  • Alphabet flashcards

Grade Target: High