There are so many fun ways to teach spelling, phonics and sight words. I’ve put together a list of hands-on sight words and spelling activities that can be used with any spelling program. This includes a set of free editable spelling lists!
The following list of activities are designed to make spelling planning and differentiation simple! The activities can be taught, so that all of the kids can work on the same activities – but at their own level.
Spelling Activities for Any Program
If you’re looking for some fun ways for kids to write their sight words or spelling words, then you’ll love this set of spelling activities. Each activity comes with a chart showing how to do it and a worksheet. The worksheets are useful for teaching the activities initially or as activities to pop into a sub file. On a practical level, I think spelling journals are the way to go for most of the activities – it’ll save on photocopying! I often use mini whiteboards for these activities too, they’re great time savers and the kids love them!
Preparation – I printed all of the spelling charts and put them into a clear display folder. You can also laminate them and secure them together with a binder ring.
How to Play – Explain the activity for the day using the chart. For example, “Today we are going to do Word Worms.” Then do one example together as a group. Now while you’re busy working with a spelling group, the other kids can get their spelling lists out and write their word worms independently. They can record their answers in their spelling journal. Ask the kids to leave their journals open, so that you can do a wander around and check their answers at the end of the lesson.
Tip – Stick to teaching three to five activities to begin with and then make a schedule to follow each week. For example, Monday – Word Worms, Tuesday – Rainbow Words, Wednesday – ABC Order, Thursday – Word Steps, Friday – Word Search. Once the kids know how to do all of the activities, it becomes really easy mix them them up. These activities are a fabulous time saver and awesome for independent work!
To check out these fun spelling activities click here or on the picture below.
Editable Sight Word, Phonics and Spelling Games
The following editable sight word, phonics and spelling games are wonderful for literacy centers, small group work and even independent work! There are a mix of editable board games and editable sorting games to choose from.
Preparation – All of the games are editable so you just need to type in text boxes and press print. After that laminate them for added durability.
Tip – To save time on preparation with the sorting games, print them with no text and write on them with an erasable marker. That way, you can re-use the same resource over and over. Another trick that’s useful if you use the word study program Words Their Way, is to stick the word sorts onto the sorting games with sticky tac. That way kids can play the games, with their word sorts and there is minimal prep involved.
How to Play – Choose a focus for the game, for example sorting the digraphs “sh” and “ch”. Write words with those digraphs on the fish and then the digraphs on the nets. Kids catch a fish and identify the key sound, for example “Shop. Shop begins with a /sh/”, then they place it on the corresponding net labeled “sh”. For the board game, you’d write a mix of “sh” and “ch” words on the game board. Kids roll the dice and move that number of spots. When they land on a word, they need to read it and then sound it out. For example, “Shop /sh/ /o/ /p”. Then they can spell the word on a mini whiteboard or on the game recording worksheet. The first player to reach the finish wins.
To check out these games click here or on the picture below.
Free Editable Spelling Lists
I’m one of those organized teachers – I love everything set to go at least a week in advance. So what I usually do, is create one file with all of the spelling lists I’ll need for the term (or year). I spend some time pre-typing the lists with the words recommended by the school’s chosen spelling program. Then label them with something like week 1, week 2, week 3 etc. I usually have three spelling groups – so I sometimes put those on the label too, for example group 1, week 1.
Preparation – Type your spelling lists. To do this you’ll need Microsoft Powerpoint. Please see the file for instructions on how to edit the spelling lists.You can change the font and shading colors to suit your needs.
How to Play – Distribute one spelling list to each group for the week. This spelling list can be used for all of their independent spelling activities. For example, kids can take out their list of spelling words and then rainbow write them in their spelling journal.
Grab your free spelling lists below.
Spelling Group Planners
Spelling is one of those awesome subjects that can become easy to plan for, once you’re organized and have a solid set of activities you can use. If you need some labels and planners for your spelling groups, then be sure to check out the editable resources below. I use them to label my spelling baskets and to create a weekly spelling routine for all of my groups to follow.
To check out these printables click here or on the picture below.
Example of a Daily Spelling Routine
Here is an example of how I ran my spelling groups, which worked well for me. I followed a similar routine on most days, I just changed the activities slightly.
Preparation – I had three spelling groups based on ability level. I created three baskets – green group, blue group and yellow group. Each Monday, I’d place the new spelling lists into the baskets and any other resources we’d need.
Spelling Rotations – I set my spelling routine up like this. One group worked with me, while the other two groups worked independently. I set a timer for 10 – 15 minutes and the groups rotated between the activities. For example:
Station 1 – Working with the teacher. Model word sorts and spell words on mini whiteboards. I love mini whiteboards for spelling because the kids can write a word and hold it up for me to check. I call out a word and say it in a sentence e.g. “CAT. I have a pet cat” and they spell it. Then I model it on the board while sounding it out “c a t”. If the kids got it right they tick it, if not they can fix it up. It’s a great way to provide immediate feedback and the kids love ticking their answers!
Station 2 – Working independently at desks. Complete word sorts and write spelling words in spelling journals. For example, Thursday – Speed Sort and Word Steps. All of the groups do these activities, but with their own spelling words. I get the kids to leave these on the desk for checking.
Station 3 – Working independently or in partners. Complete an activity like buddy sorts, board games or a spelling app/ computer game.
Then at the end of the session I go around to check the independent work that was done. I check the word sorts the kids did and their spelling journals.
I hope you found these spelling games and activities helpful. Happy teaching!