Playing Card Games:
1.Concentration: 2 – 6 players
Deal out all the cards face down on the table. Players take turns to turn over 2 cards. If they turn over a pair that matches they win the pair, and get to have another turn. If not, the next player takes a turn. A match consists of the letter and the corresponding sound. In the end, the player with the most matches wins. You can also play Concentration with one player or with partners. Use a timer to try and get as many pairs as possible in 3 minutes. Try and beat your own score, or someone else's.
2.Go Fish: 2 – 6 players
Five cards are dealt to each player if three to six players are involved. With only two players, seven cards are dealt to each. All remaining cards are placed face down in a pile. First, choose a player to go first. On each person's turn, ask any player for a specific letter sound. For example: "Sarah, do you have a ă (short a sound)." The player must already hold at least one letter A or Adam ‘Antler’ in his hand. If the player you ask has an ‘Adam Antler’ card, or an ‘A’, she must give that card to you. If you get one card from the player you ask, you get another turn. It starts again and you may ask any player for another letter sound, /k/. If the person you ask has a ‘c’, or a ‘k’ or a picture of the scissors (cut), he must give you that card. If the person you ask has no relevant cards, they say, "Go Fish." You then draw the top card from the draw pile. If you happen to draw a card of the sound/letter you asked for, show it to the other players and your turn continues. Otherwise, it is the next player's turn. You add the drawn card to your hand. The "next player" is the one who said, "Go Fish." When you collect a set of two cards of the same sound, immediately show the set to the other players and place the two cards face down in front of yourself. That is a "match". Go Fish continues until either someone has no cards left in their hand or the draw pile runs out. The winner is the player who then has the most matches (sets of two).
This game can be played with partners or alone. The cards should be divided into two piles. One has the pictures and one has the letters. Be sure to remove the digraphs or long vowel sounds if you have just taught the short vowels! To make it easier at first, use just a portion of the deck. You might start with only A – G. Lay all of the pictures out in front of you that go with those letters. Shuffle the letter cards. Have the child turn one letter card at a time and lay it under the appropriate picture. You can time them to see how fast they can make matches. You can also have students work in pairs for more collaboration and support. As your students get more advanced with their knowledge, increase the number of cards they work with. If you want to have a contest, either use multiple decks, or have students only match a portion of the alphabet—one child does A – M and another child does N – Z.
The object of this game is to try to put the letters into alphabetical order as quickly as possible. Take the pictures out of the deck as you will only use the letters in this game. Again to make it easier you might consider only using a portion of the letters. The child or partnership tries to put the letters into alphabetical order as fast as they can. To make it more engaging, you can have players challenge each other. Each child has their own deck and tries to beat the rest of the players by getting their cards in alphabetical order first. You do not need to have everyone start with the A. You might divide the deck in half and give one person/pair A – M and another person/pair N – Z.
The object of this game is to play all of one's cards either in runs of three or more cards—(d,e,f). A turn consists of taking either the top card of the discard pile or the top card of the draw pile. If the player wishes to, he can lay down one or more sets of cards before he discards. A player can play on another player’s run. When a player is able to lay down all of the cards in his hand, he "goes out," and is the winner.
This game can be played with a small group of children. The first one to say the correct sound will receive the card. The child with the most cards wins! If the child sees a letter, he must say all of the sounds it can make. (This is always determined by what you have previously taught! If you have only taught short vowel sounds, when an ‘a’ is turned up, the child will only respond with the ă sound. However, if you have taught both the long and short sounds of ‘A’, the child should say both ă and ā. The child will also state the sound that goes with the picture if a picture is turned up. This game can be played with a timer to encourage automaticity. Use these rules when wanting to increase sound/letter knowledge. If you want to work on the letter names, remove the pictures and follow the same strategy but have students say the name of the letters to win the card.
7. Reading Wizard: (Opposite of Old Maid)
Deal out all the cards one by one to each player. Players keep their hands secret but match up any pairs in their hand and place them facedown on the table. The first player offers their cards to the next player on their left by spreading them out in a fan. The player chooses a card. If it matches a card in their hand they place the pair on the table. The next player to the left takes a turn and so on. Once a player has no cards left in their hand, they are out of the game. Play keeps going until one player is left with the Reading Wizard card. This player is the winner!
8.Slap Vowels: (Slap Jack) Players: 3-6
Shuffle the pack of cards and deal out the whole pack to the players. Each player takes a turn to turn over the top card on their pile, creating a new face-up pile of their own on the table. If any player turns over a Vowel, each player tries to be the first to put their hand over the pile with the Vowel and yell Slap-Vowel. The player who is first to "slap the vowel" wins the pile. They pick up all the cards in the pile, shuffle them and add to the bottom of their pile. If a player accidentally puts their hand over a card that is not a Vowel they must give a card to the player whose card they slapped. Play continues with each player taking a turn. If a player runs out of cards they have one chance to get back in when the next Vowel is played, or they lose. The winner is the last player left in the game. To make the game a bit quieter, you can just have the students slap the pile instead of yelling “Slap-Vowel!”
Begin by sorting the deck so it only consists of the letters of the alphabet. The goal is to be the first player to make a run of four letters in an alphabet sequence, or not to be the last player to notice when someone else has done so. The cards are shuffled and each person is dealt four cards, one at a time to each player. The players look at their hands; then each player passes one card to the left and picks up the card passed by the player on his right. This passing continues as rapidly as possible so that players have a difficult time keeping up the pace. As soon as a player assembles four letters in alphabetical order, such as h, i, j, k, he stops passing or picking up cards and puts his finger on his nose. The other players must immediately stop passing and they, too, must put their fingers on their noses. The last person to do this is the Pig!
10.Snap Players 2 – 6 (best with 3 or more)
Deal out all of the cards so everyone has a pile of cards in front of them face down. The first player to go, turns over the card at the top of their pile and starts a pile in the center. The next person to their left turns over the card at the top of their pile and adds it to the center pile, and so on. If there are two cards that match, the first player to yell “SNAP” wins the cards in the middle. If a player runs out of cards they lose and are out. You can also play so that players don’t have to yell “SNAP”, but are just the first person to put their hand on the center pile.
Outlaw Word Card Games:
These cards contain two of each of the 37 “Outlaw Words”. The words are considered “Outlaw Words” initially in a beginning reader’s world. As you continue to teach the Six Types of Syllables many of these words will no longer be considered “Outlaw Words”
Although and, in, it, with, & at are not included in this pack because they are decodable, if your child can read those words and the “outlaw words” in this deck, they can read approximately 1/3 of the words typically found in print!
Of course, you can play Concentration and Go Fish, or Reading Wizard (Old Maid—but the one who ends up with the Reading Wizard is the winner!) with these cards. (The directions can be found in the Playing Card Directions section.)
Another idea to grow many aspects of children’s reading and writing skills is to have students draw 1, 2 or 3 cards (depending on their skill level) randomly from the deck. They then take the cards back to their seats and arrange them either on a white board or on their desk and write a sentence containing those sight words.
For example: If the student drew look and me for their two sight words. They would write a sentence on their paper that said something using both of these words.
It is a rather simple idea, but is actually better than the old D.O.L. sentences because the child is composing their own thought, putting in basic punctuation and writing Outlaw Words that can trip them up because they can’t be sounded out. One more great benefit is that the teacher needs NO preparation and the child is engaged in meaningful center/seatwork time!
Other Game options:
Draw 5 cards and put them in alphabetical order.
Rhyming Work: Draw a card, write that word, then write another word that rhymes with that word.