Reading Activities Part 2

by Sophia McMillan
(Shane Training Centre, Japan)

 Activities to practice alphabet and phonic value of letters

Slap: with alphabet cards for the first letter instead of pictures.

Sliding Slap: Present the phonic values you want to practise. Slide one card across the table to a learner and indicate that you want them to slide it back to you. As they slide it back, slap the card and say the sound. Do the same with another learner. Then refuse to take a card back and indicate that you want the learner to slide the card to another person. As they slide the card between them, slowly add some more. You can control the mayhem by adding or removing cards.

Sticky Ball: Write some letters on the whiteboard, learners throw the sticky ball and say the sound and a word beginning with that sound.

Bingo: Deal out four alphabet cards to each learner. Before the class, prepare the magnetic letters so that you have the same cards and letters. Put the letters in a bag or box and pull out the first letter. Say the letter or phonic value and the person who has that card puts the magnetic letter on it. A learner pulls out the next letter. When someone has covered all their cards they shout bingo and win.

Phonic Telephone Numbers: Draw a 3 by 3 grid of squares on the board and add another square above the top centre. In the corner of each square write the numbers 0 to 9 in sequence. In the middle of each square write a letter. Add a telephone receiver and wires to the diagram. Ask, “What is it?” and elicit, “It`s a telephone.” Put learners in pairs. Give one learner a telephone number, the other learner asks “What`s your telephone number?” The first one replies, “My telephone number is /b/, /d/, /t/,” etc. The second person writes down the number that corresponds to the phonic of the letter in the square with that number. This activity requires very careful setting up and demonstration. Whole word recognition can also be practiced using it, “My telephone number is “cat”, “dog”, “fish”,” etc.

Alphabetical Order: Give learners some picture flashcards and they have to put them in alphabetical order. They can use an Alphabet poster if necessary.

Alphabet Stepping Stones: Scatter some alphabet mats on the floor. Explain that this is a shark-infested sea. Demonstrate that learners have to cross this sea to the safety of the other side. Learners take turns. Shout a letter and the first person has to jump on that letter. They then have to say the phonic value and a word that begins with that letter. Continue with the second person. If a mistake is made then a shark will bite off a limb, so that person will have to hop or hold an arm behind their back.
A variation of Alphabet stepping stones is to say a short word (e.g. hat) and students have to jump from h to a to t. This involves spelling so is more difficult.

Blindfold point to the letter: Ask a learner to close their eyes. Stand them in front of an alphabet poster, say a letter (or a word that begins with that letter) and the learner points to where they think the letter is.

Find the letter: Hide some letters around the room. Learners must find the letters and give them to the teacher, encouraging them to say the correct sound. If they already know some sounds, the teacher can say a sound and the learners can race to find that letter.

Phonic stations: Start with a standard stations game with the vowels around the room. The teacher can say the letter and the learners run to the correct card, say the sound or a word beginning with the sound.

To extend the activity, put some consonant cards on a table and call out syllables, pa, do, ip, ed or simple three letter words, cat, sit, dog. Learners have to grab the correct consonant(s) cards, run to the correct vowel sound and say the syllable or word.

 Focusing on the whole word
Slap Variations: Slap with word cards instead of pictures.
Double handed slap: One hand on the picture and the other hand on the word.
Action slap: Place some word flashcards around the edge of the table. Have a couple more flashcards than learners. Shout an action (e.g. jump) and everyone jumps around the table. Shout stop and learners have to slap the nearest flashcard to them and shout the word. Take away one flashcard after each turn. After a few times, there won’t be enough flashcards for everyone and the person who doesn’t slap a card is out. They can nominate the next action and shout stop. Continue until you have a winner. Flashcards could have picture prompts on one side and words on the reverse.

Pelmanism: Make pairs between the picture and word.

Dice Game: Write 1 to 6 on the board and put a word next to each number. These words need to belong to the same word group. Learners roll the dice, read the word and follow the instructions. Some ideas:
Colours: learners roll the dice to decide which colour to use in a picture
Actions: learners do actions
Prepositions of place (on, next to, under etc): if you have a small object and a box, learners have to read and put the object on the box or next to the box.
Animals: learners pretend to be the animal.
Parts of face: learners draw in the parts of the face as they roll each number.
Nouns: use the target vocabulary of the lesson which learners have to put into the target structure.

Noughts and Crosses: Write words in each square, learners throw a sticky ball. They have to read the word and then also say it in the structure that you’re focusing on that lesson.

Musical Chairs: Write the target vocabulary on cards. You should have as many words as there are learners. Get learners to turn their chairs around so they’re all facing away from the table. Put a word on each chair. Play a song and learners walk around. When you stop the music learners have to sit down, then read the word and put it into the target structure for the lesson. Take away one chair and continue until there’s a winner. Play this game at the end of a lesson as it can get boisterous.

Find the Colour: Choose three colour flashcards with the colour on one side and the word on the other. Show both the colour and the word and drill. Line them up in a row with the word facing up. Choose one colour and show them which one it is. Then quickly move them around several times. Ask a learner to show you which card is the colour you chose. They can check by turning it over to see the colour on the other side. Learners can do the same for each other or for the teacher.

Simon’s Game: Put three or four colour word cards on the table or write them on the whiteboard. Drill the words. Give a learner a plastic hammer. Say a sequence of 3-5 of the words e.g. “red, yellow, blue, yellow, yellow.” The learner has to remember the sequence and strike the card or word with the hammer repeating the sequence. This works just as well for number words or nouns you want to practise reading.

Word Recognition Boules: Spread a set of word cards evenly around table. Give one person from each team a “ring”. A word is selected that the team members need to find, then learners gently try to throw the “ring” onto that word. The closest to the word wins the point.

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