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Letter X Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

The letter X is not one that students see as regularly as others. These activities will help increase their exposure to this letter and give them chances to practice using it.

Letter X Activities

The letter X is not the most commonly used in the English alphabet, so it can take students a little while to develop familiarity with it. These activities are designed to help expose students to the different appearances, sounds, and uses of the letter X in the English language to help build up familiarity and comfort. These activities are intended for early-mid elementary students but can be easily adapted for slightly younger or older classrooms.

X Marks the Spot

Give each student a list of vocabulary words that contain the letter X and a simple map that has a spot marked on it. This will be the starting place. Students will then pick a different place on the map to bury a treasure chest. Students will draw an X on the map over this spot. They will then draw an indirect line from the starting point to the X, and designate six points along the way. On a separate piece of paper, students will write out the instructions to find the treasure. Each stop should involve a word containing the letter X (look inside the box, play the xylophone, take an x-ray, feed the t-rex). After writing out the instructions, students will draw each of these images onto their treasure map.

To make this activity more challenging for students with slightly higher literacy skills, you could ask students to write out, at each stop, the definition of a word containing the letter X, but not write the word itself. Students will trade treasure maps and will have to solve these clues to figure out which word is being defined in each stop as they complete the map and work towards the treasure.

  • Materials: Simple maps, list of vocabulary words, drawing/coloring supplies as desired

Listening Activity

Give students a list of words containing the letter X, and go over this list as a class to practice pronunciation. Next, students will close their eyes and listen as you read a passage from a short story. Every time they hear a word that they think contains the letter X, they will make an X by crossing their arms in front of them. Once you're done, ask students what words they heard. If desired, go over these words, discussing with students the different pronunciations the X makes in these words.

If you wish to expand this, divide the class into small groups. Ask each student to write a short passage containing 3 - 5 words with the letter X and then read them aloud. The other group members will listen with eyes closed and make the X with their arms when they think they hear a word with the letter X.

  • Materials: Short passage with several words containing the letter X, writing supplies as desired, list of vocabulary words

X-Heroes

Most students are familiar with the Marvel superheroes known as the X-Men. Your students will build on this by designing their own X-superheroes, each of which is themed after a word that contains an X.

Give students five pieces of paper. On each of these, they will draw the cover for a superhero comic featuring an X-themed superhero. This cover must have the name of the superhero on it. Depending upon the literacy level of your students, you may want to provide students with a vocabulary list to choose from (it should be interesting to see the adventures of xylophone man, x-ray girl, or captain exit).

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