First Grade Phonics Games

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson to help your first grade students apply phonics concepts in fun, game-like activities. Keep handy for independent work, center time, or to send home for extra practice. Games can be adjusted for all levels and types of learners.

Phonics in First Grade

First grade students are learning the nuances of how to read and write. They need phonics skills as the core of their learning - using sounds in speech and the letters that represent them to create and read words. First grade teachers know how challenging this can be to learn, as our alphabetic system can seem like a moving target to a child (and sometimes an adult). With letters representing differing sounds depending on a variety of factors, knowing and understanding the basics of phonics is essential for success in literacy.

Help your students apply concepts you're teaching about letters and sounds using these fun phonics games.

Single Letter/Sound Games

Start off simple with games focusing on individual sounds.

  • Scavenger Hunt - Write the phonics skill you're focusing on index cards. For example, if you've just taught consonants 't,' 'r' and 'b,' create cards with these letters. Students pull cards and find an object in the room that begins with the letter. Extend the activity by asking students to find words that have the sound in the middle or end of the word. For example, if the letter 't' was pulled, the student could find a table (beginning), hat (end) and pottery (middle).
  • Build-a-Word - Create a set of dice with letters printed on each side. Students take turns rolling the dice and try to build a word.
  • Mice and Cheese - Create and cut out 4-5 mice templates and label each with a consonant. Create small cheese pieces using yellow construction paper and label with vowel and consonant letters. Students pick a mouse card and place in front of them and place the cheese cubes in a small bowl. Play by pulling out a cheese cube and either keeping it to build a word, or putting it back. For example, if a student has the card with a 't,' she may pull an 'h' and keep it to build the word 'hat'. On her next turn, she may pull a 'y' and return it, then pull an 'i' and be able to create the word 'hit.'

Blending Phonics Games

Blending sounds together is what readers and writers do to create words from letters. Practice blending sounds with these games that are easy to make and take just about anywhere.

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