Engaging Phonics Games Your Students Will Love

Phonics is an essential part of learning to read. It is a primary focus in the ELA curriculum for early elementary grade levels. Phonics includes a variety of skills and new knowledge to set your students up for success. You can teach phonics in many different ways through various activities and lessons. But games make everything more fun!  Here are some of my favorite phonics games to help keep students engaged!

Use these engaging phonics games in your classroom this year for fun learning your students will love.

Phonics in a Nutshell

Everyone is familiar with the word, but what does it really mean? To put it simply, phonics focuses on teaching students to match the sounds of oral language to individual letters or a group of letters. 

Teaching your students the basics of phonics can begin at an early age and continue with fun games and activities all through elementary school.

Students begin to pick up on these skills at an early age through phonics activities. There are many fun and engaging activities we can use in the classroom to help students develop these important phonics skills. 

Why is it Important to Teach Phonics?

Teaching phonics is essential to becoming a fluent reader. Without a strong foundation in phonics skills, students will struggle to read and spell. Imagine trying to stumble through a story without ever quite knowing how to "sound out" words. That would get pretty frustrating, right? Phonics helps children learn to decode words by recognizing letters, sounds, and spelling patterns. 

With the exception of sight words, students need to be able to decode letter sounds to read unfamiliar words. Practice, practice, and more practice using phonics activities is the key here. Reading comprehension will naturally begin to develop as students become more fluent readers.  

Phonics Games

Kids love playing games! So any time we can turn learning into a game we get increased engagement and lots of skills practice. Learning is so much more fun and meaningful through play. 

I have found games to be such an effective learning activity that I am intentional about adding games into our class time and centers.  Sometimes it is putting a learning spin on a traditional kids' game, and other times it involves creating a new game.  

Engage your students with phonics games to keep them excited about learning the ins and outs of phonics in a fun way.

Board games, card games, and even tumbling block towers all provide great opportunities for learning in the classroom! By simply changing out the cards or adding a learning twist you can easily use games you already have to reinforce phonics skills.

But sometimes altering games takes a little more time than we have. If you're looking for quick and easy options, I've got you covered! The following phonics games are already made and ready to go!  They are perfect for engaging students and saving you some time too! Here are some of my favorite phonics games!

1. Matching Games

Kids love playing a good game of memory matching.  Not only is there fun in making a match but it helps to build great memory skills.  Add to that a phonics concept and you have a great learning game in action!

Matching phonics games like these are a great way to help your students practice and master phonics concepts.

Matching games are so much fun to play in small groups or centers. Using the phonics cards, students will lay out a grid of cards face down. Taking turns, they will turn over two cards, say the name of the picture, or read the word. If they make a match they get to keep both cards. If they don't match, they turn the cards back over and the next player gets a turn. 

Having picture and word cards makes each of these phonics-matching games really versatile. Easily create just the perfect game based on the skills of your students. Or use a combination of picture and word cards for a new challenge.

If your students are working on CVC words, short A sounds, or just need a review, try this FREE Short A Matching Game.  

Grab this FREEBIE phonics games short A CVC Words matching game to use in your classroom today.

My students have loved playing matching games so much over the years that I have put together a variety of games for different skills and concepts. If your students love games as much as mine, then you will love these time-saving phonics games. 

This first bundle includes 18 games focused on CVC words, short vowel sounds, beginning and ending blends, and digraphs. 

This Phonics Games Bunudle #1 includes 19 games focusing on CVC words, short vowel sounds, beginning and ending blends, and digraphs.

This second matching games bundle includes 15 games and covers CVCe words, long vowels, diphthongs, and r-controlled vowels.  

Use this Phonics Games Bundle #2 to help students practice CVCe words, long vowels, dipthongs, and r-controlled vowels.

Depending on where your students are at, you can pick and choose the skills in each bundle to focus on. The variety allows for simple differentiation during small groups too! Looking for another skill? You can find more phonics matching games in my store on TPT! 

2. I Have, Who Has 

I Have, Who Has is one of my favorite games to play with the entire class.  By giving each student a card, this game can include everyone, which is often hard to do with games unless you make teams. 

In I Have, Who Has one student reads their card aloud. The rest of the students must listen carefully, and the person with the matching card answers by reading their card. This game continues until all the cards have been read.  

Phonics games like this I have, Who Has game are great to play with your entire class as they practice phonics concepts throughout the year.

Did you know that I Have, Who Has doesn't have to be played with a large group? Use the same concept with a small group and provide each student with multiple cards. Or, add all the cards to a center and have students create a train by putting the cards in order.  

This I Have, Who Has Phonics game includes two games that are perfect for emergent readers.  One game focuses on CVCe words and the other game targets CCVCe words. Reinforce these important phonics skills with a fun class game!

Use these Silent E Long Vowel I have, Who Has phonics games in your classroom to reinforce important phonics skills as a class.

3. Tic-Tac-Toe Phonics Games

Partner games are some of my favorites in the classroom. They are perfect for adding to centers and providing lots of fun without the activity getting too loud. And by using a game like Tic-Tac-Toe that students are familiar with they can play independently, which is always a bonus!  

Phonics games like this tic-tac-toe game are perfect for partners or small groups as you practice letter sounds and beginning sounds.

When first introducing this game I like to project it on the board and play as a class.  I divide the students into two teams and we play together. Not only does this allow me to model the game before it goes into centers, but it provides some fun phonics practice too!

One of the first phonics skills we work on in the primary grades is letter sounds and recognizing beginning sounds. This Beginning Sounds Tic-Tac-Toe bundle will keep your emergent readers focused and working on hearing beginning sounds and connecting them to the correct letter.

Grab these Beginning Sounds Phonics Games Phonemic Awareness Tic-Tac-Toe games to use in your classroom this year.

This CVC Words Tic-Tac-Toe pack includes 30 different game boards focused on CVC words.  Your students will get lots of practice reading a variety of short vowel words with these games.

This CVC Word Families Tic-Tac-Toe phonics games set is perfect for centers, or small groups.

4. Board Games

Kids love a good board game and they are perfect for the classroom.  Since board games can generally take 2 or more players they are perfect for centers or small-group instruction.  And. . . they are the perfect way to engage kids in learning! Never used an academic board game in the classroom?  Try this free CVC Words board game with your students to give it a whirl!

Grab this FREE CVC Word phonics games fall activities for spooky fun phonics learning you can use in the fall.

If you like what you see in the freebie, check out the game below for even more learning fun. These fall-themed board games are perfect for the beginning of year first grade as your students review CVCC words. With these games, students will work on skills like reading words, onset and rime, and short vowel sounds. Not to mention, the fall-themed boards are captivating to young learners! 

Phonics games like these Short Vowel Word Families CVCC Fall Phonics Games are great for back to school!

5. Bingo

No list of classroom games would be complete without a good game of BINGO!  Students of all ages love playing BINGO and it is a great way to engage the class in reviewing skills. An asset to this game is that it can be played with the whole class or with a small group.

You can even use BINGO as a group center activity where students take turns being the caller.  They love this!!!

Use a BINGO phonics game like this for loads of phonics practice fun your students will want to play over and over again.

I've also often used BINGO as a class reward or a holiday party activity as well.  Students love playing so much that they don't even realize they are learning too!

These CVC Word BINGO cards were designed to be used in a small group setting.  This resource includes 6 games and covers all the short vowel sounds and one game with all the sounds mixed up.  There are 6 bingo cards in each game. They are ready to print and play!

Use these CVC BINGO phonics games all year long for fun phonics practice your students will love.

Since my students love playing BINGO so much I started thinking of an easy way to keep it as an option for any skill or concept.  I came up with editable BINGO cards!  Yep - these cards can be edited with any phonics skill.  In fact, you can use them for sight words, math, vocabulary, and more!

And all of the card formatting has already been done for you.  All you have to do is type the words, numbers, or math problems one time and they will automatically fill in on the cards. It's a fast and easy way to create a customized game for any skill.  

With editable BINGO boards like these you can play fun phonics games all year long using targeted words of your choosing.

Engaging Students With Phonics Games

You can't go wrong with adding a game to your learning time.  They have a truly magical way of engaging students. If your students are anything like mine, they will be begging to play day after day!  Save this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back the next time you need a fun phonics game for your classroom.

Looking for fun and easy ways to enhance your phonics instruction this year? Use phonics games like these all year long to help your students practice and master phonics skills in fun and engaging ways they will love. From BINGO to matching games, to whole class games and more, these phonics activities are sure to be instant favorites for your students this year. #thechocolateteacher #phonicsgames #firstgradephonicsactivities

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