Here are some simple games and ideas for working with these fun yet tricky words. You can use any words you like, though you may like to choose words from texts that you are reading or from stories, poems or songs to give the words a context.
Print out the ‘Having fun template’ attached below. Photocopy it onto card, making enough copies for your class.
Write a list of 12 rhyming pairs on the board, making sure there are enough pairs to make a snap (eg shoe/blue, two/glue, hat/cat, mat/bat, head/bed, red/bread) and tell the pupils they are going to copy these words onto the grid. Check that the children understand the words. When finished, the pupils cut out the cards on the ‘Having fun template’ so that each person in the class has a set of cards. Put the pupils into pairs. Tell them to shuffle their cards. Each pair takes turns at placing a card face up on the table, saying the word as they go. When a pupil sees a rhyming pair (or two words that are the same) they shout Snap! and take all the cards in the pile so far. When there are no more cards to place on the table, the pair with the most cards wins.
As an alternative you can make the word cards yourself and all the pupils need to do is cut them up. You can make different rhyming pair cards so that Child A and Child B has a different set of words but with the same rhymes.
Spelling lists and spelling tests
Tell pupils to designate a section of their notebook for regular spelling tests. Each week, make a classroom display of that week’s spelling words. Encourage pupils to consult it and explain to them that they are to learn the words for homework. Get them to practise with their friends; they need to be able to relate the sound of the word to how it is written, so pronunciation and listening skills are vital (and children love correcting each other!). You can even put them into groups of four and explain to them that one of them is going to be the teacher. When ‘the teacher’ has finished dictating and has corrected the group’s words, another pupil in the group has a turn at being the teacher. Then test the pupils a few days later (consisting of five to ten words depending on how difficult the words are).
Distribute two sets of alphabet flashcards around the class. Call out a word (from a story, spelling list, etc). The pupils with the letters which make up that word come out to the front of the class and form the word holding up their letters for everyone to see. If two pupils with the same letter run out then the pupil who came out last has to sit down. Encourage everyone to get involved in the correcting process by asking the class Is this correct? If the word is spelt incorrectly, ask a pupil to come out and correct it by putting their classmates in the correct order, taking some away or adding new ones.
Rhyming word posters
Copy lists of rhyming words onto posters and display them around the room. For example, you might like to copy the words: RED / HEAD / BED or PEN / HEN / WHEN and leave space at the bottom of each list for pupils to add more rhyming words as they learn them.
We dedicate most of our class time to learning what words mean; why not take a little time to have fun with the words themselves?