Primary Phonics Ideas

young girl at her desk, leaning on her hands

Use our ideas to add some fun to your primary phonics lessons! These activities are easy to implement and will give your students the practice that they need. 

Primary Phonics Activities

Tic-Tac-Toe Words

By this age, students already know that "three-in-a-row" wins in tic-tac-toe. So why not use this fun format for the teaching of phonics?  Place a different letter in each space of a game board. Choose combinations of letters that spell common three-letter words. Short-vowel words work especially well.

Here's an example:

tic tac toe game with letters

There are many ways to use this simple format, including:

a raised finger

Whole-Class Idea: Draw a game like this one on the board. Ask students to raise their hands when they spot a three-letter word. Call on students to read the words they see, or to come to the board and write the words as well as say the words. Remind them to look in all directions.  (Words: put, nap, pan, top, pop, not, ton)

Partner Idea:
Each partner draws their own game board and places letters in it to form at least three words. Students exchange game boards and try to find all the words that are possible.

Individual Idea: Instruct students to write the three letter words they see on their own piece of paper.

You'll probably find more fun variations of your own!

What's Right?

This simple primary phonics activity requires students to sound out words and then reinforces the correct spelling of real words. This is particularly helpful for students who may tend to replace the correct letter of a word with a letter that looks similar.

Simply write a row of three or four  "words," only one of which is an actual word. Ask students to identify the correct word and then write it at least twice.

Here's an example:

 varn        yarn        yarm         varm        _________      _________

 swa          sav        saw          wsa           _________      _________

Again, there are several ways to use this type of exercise.

chalkboard and apple

All-Class Idea: Divide the class into teams. Assign each team a different section of the board. Write a different row of words like the ones above on each section. On your signal, the first person from each team races to the board to circle the correct word and write it correctly three times. The first team to finishes earns 1 point. Repeat until one team has 5 points.

Partner Idea: Each partner makes five rows of words like the ones above. Students exchange papers to complete.

Individual Idea: Make worksheets with many rows of words for students to complete on their own.

We have lots of Phonics Games, Phonics Activities,  and Phonics Worksheets, too. Why not try several right now?!

Go to more Primary Phonics Ideas

Go to Spelling Words Well home page

Fun Spelling Worksheets for Grades 1/2  50 All-new reproducible pages for early learners!

 AnyWord Spelling Practice Series Worksheets, games & prompts that work with almost ANY spelling words!