First grade phonics games to play in the classroom

Written by rebecca bagwell
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First grade phonics games to play in the classroom
Use fun phonics games to help your first graders learn to read well. (Portrait of a styled children. Theme: education.. image by Andrey Kiselev from

First grade students build upon reading fluency gained in kindergarten by using phonics lessons to recognise more sounds. Consistent review helps first graders master key phonics concepts. As your first grade students enjoy learning how to read, use interactive phonics games in your classroom to reinforce critical lessons.

Treasure Hunt

Hide words around your classroom to make a treasure hunt for phonics sounds. Use words and sounds that your first grade class needs to review. Hand each student a card with a phonics sound on it. Tell the students to hunt for a word that uses the phonics sound on the card. They may want to shape their hands into binoculars to go on this hunt. When they find the right word in the classroom, they should call you over and tell you their sound and the word that they found to match it. Gather the cards back up and redistribute them for another round. For a twist, use small boxes or empty plastic eggs in which to hide the words they need to match with their phonics card.

Relay Race

Write phonics sounds on the board and let your first graders come to the board for a phonics relay race. Divide your class into four teams and write four different sounds on the board in front of the teams. Draw lines between each sound. At your mark, the first person from each team should go to the board and write a word that uses the same sound that you wrote on the board. When finished, that student gives the marker to the next person in line to go to the board and write a different word for the team. When the last person writes a word for their phonics sound, the game is over. If a team member has trouble thinking of a word for the team's sound, allow teammates to help out. To change the game, write one word per team member on the board and give each one a turn to circle the phonics sounds in the team's words as a relay race.

Pop-Up Game

Read a favourite rhyming book and play a pop-up phonics game. Review the sounds and rhymes that your first grade students will hear in the book. Concentrate on ending phonics sounds and write them on the board so everyone can review them. Read the book slowly. When students hear an ending phonics sound from the board, they should pop-up from their sitting position. Ask the first one up what the sound and word were. Tell all of the students to sit back down. Continue reading, picking on a different child each time. Ask the ones who have been picked already to stay seated, so only those who have not played yet will get a turn.

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