Fun for all the Family 2- 26 Alphabet & Spelling Games

Level: All Levels

Topic: General

Grammar Topic: Spelling and Punctuation

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Type: Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan Text

 

Fun for all the family Part Two- 26 games for the alphabet and spelling 
English spelling being one of those things that even English teachers sometimes have 
problems with, the game ideas below range from very simple physical games for 
pre-school kids that have never seen an English letter before to intellectual challenges 
for adults who are still struggling with the many pronunciations of –ough. And if that 
intellectual stimulation tires your adult students out, you can always adapt a physical 
game for them from this list instead. 
 

1.  Letter slap. Students race to slap their hands down on the letter the teacher 

says, or the first letter, last letter or vowel sound of a word they say or name of a 
flashcard they hold up. Can also be done with all the letters of short words. 

2.  Letter jump. Similar to Letter slap, but students jump onto large letters 

(minimum A4) that are scattered around the floor instead. 

3.  Spelling run and slap. The teacher says the name of a letter or letters of the 

alphabet and the students run and slap something in the classroom that starts 
with that letter, is a colour that starts with that letter, can be described by an 
adjective that starts with that letter, is spelt with the mixed up letters the 
teacher gives etc. 

4.  Spelling anti-cocktail Students are given the letters of a word mixed, e.g. as 

plastic magnetic letters, and have to put them in order as a teacher pronounces 
a word or holds up a flashcard. The teacher can then spell the word out so that 
they can check. 

5.  Letters in the dark Students are blindfolded or close their eyes and have to find 

the correct magnetic letters on the table or whiteboard and do any other of the 
games above. Alternatively, give them a letter to feel and identify. 

6.  Chinese whispers The students line up in two rows and the teacher whispers the 

name of a letter, the spelling of a word etc. into the ear of the first person in each 
row. They then whisper it down the row as quickly as possible and the person at 
the front has to do one of the things above, e.g. run and slap the first letter. 

7.  Letter formation With any of the prompts above, students rush to make the 

shape of the relevant letter or letters, using their fingers, whole bodies, Lego 
blocks, play doh, a piece of rope of string, pipe cleaners etc. 

8.  A B bee Student draw pictures of something beginning with the one letter of the 

alphabet, using that letter as part of the picture, e.g. using the letter B as the 
body of a bee and drawing wings etc. on it. 

9.  I-spy The teacher says “I spy with my little eye something beginning with (A)” 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2007 

 

and the students guess which of the things beginning with A they can see the 
teacher is thinking of. 

10. Spelling plus errors equals? Students are given two different lists of words that 

are difficult to spell and/ or pronounce and have to spell the words out for their 
partner, but adding an error to each one. Their partner has to listen and try and 
identify the error.   

11. Spelling running dictation Give pairs of students a sheet with pictures of objects 

that are difficult to spell and/ or pronounce, or written as words with errors or 
with letters missing. The pairs of students try to spell the words correctly, then 
one of them can run out to another room to look at the answer sheet and try to 
remember as many of the correct answers as they can until they get back to the 
room and tell their partner what corrections to make. They can run back and 
forth as many times as they like. With better classes, don't let the student who is 
running back and forth look at their partner's worksheet at all. 

12. Spelling running dictation Like the Spelling running dictation, but instead of 

running back and forth the students shout the correct spellings to their partner. 

13. Where's Adam, Betty and Wally? Students try to find objects in a very detailed 

picture beginning with all the letters written on the whiteboard. 

14. Back drawing The teacher draws a letter on a student's back and they have to 

show they understand what letter it is by saying the letter, slapping a flashcard 
etc. Can also be done like Chinese Whispers along a row of students and with 
the spelling of a whole word. 

15. Air drawing Like back drawing, but drawing the letter in the air with your 

finger instead. 

16. Remember the letter. Use the same set of phonics cards with the same pictures 

for each letter all the time until you can test and prompt students by slowly 
revealing the card, giving the letter and getting them to shout out the word, 
saying the word and getting them to shout out the letter, giving hints (It’s a red 
fruit) and getting them to shout out both the letter and the word, say the letter 
and get them to mime an action fr the word on the card etc. 

17. A to Z in 10 to 1 Students  sort  picture  or  word  flashcards  into  order  by  their 

spelling while the rest of the class counts down to the time limit. Alphabetical 
order is easiest, but could also be by number of letters 

18. Spelling pellmanism Students have to find pairs of cards in a pack that is spread 

out face down on the table that match in some way by the spelling or 
pronunciation, e.g. Matching the top half of a letter to the bottom half to make a 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2007 

 

letter of the alphabet, matching the lower case letters to the upper case ones, 
matching picture card to first letter, matching two picture cards by the same 
first letter, or matching two word cards same vowel sound even when spelling is 
different 

19. Spelling code game Dictate the alphabet with a different number given to each 

letter (not in order). When the teacher pronounces a word or sentence, students 
should convert the letters into numbers using the code that was dictated, add up 
all the numbers and shout out the answer, allowing the teacher to check if they 
know the spelling very easily and prompting them to recheck their own answers 
if they don't get the right total first time. 

20. Alphabet jigsaw Students put together words or single letters that have been cut 

up. 

21. Alphabet countdown. Tell students to start whatever game you are playing when 

you say a particular letter, e.g. T. Start chanting the alphabet until you reach 
that letter, at which point they should rush to start the game. Take off points 
from anyone who jumps the gun. With better groups you could start chanting the 
alphabet from half way through, chant backwards, or tell them what word you 
are going to spell out and then spell it out letter by letter until you reach the 
letter you mentioned before. 

22. Don’t complete the word spelling challenge- The first student gives the first 

letter of a word, e.g. “S”. The next student must add a letter that could be the 
continuation of a real word in English, e.g. After “S”, “T” but not “S”. Students 
continue, making sure they are extended part of a real word but not completing 
a whole word. Any students who actually complete a word with their letter lose a 
point. If anyone thinks the letter added cannot be part of a real word thy can 
challenge the person who said it. If they can actually say what word it could be 
part of the challenger loses a point and they get one. If they can't complete it the 
scoring is reversed. 

23. Do what I spell. Spell out a whole instruction letter by letter, e.g. 

J,U,M,P,T,H,R,E,E,T,I,M,E,S. The first student to do the right thing gets a point. 
They don't have to wait until the spelling is complete, but you might want to 
take away points for wrong actions. 

24. Spell that DVD. Students are given a spelling based task to look out for when 

they are watching a video, e.g. Objects that begin with “th” or words that match 
the anagrams on the worksheet. 

25. Spelling challenge. The first student chooses a difficult word to spell then 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2007 

 

students spell it around the class. When any student makes a mistake all the 
others get one point. 

26. Getting to Spell You. As a getting to know you activity that also includes 

classroom language they will need all the time (e.g. “How do you spell...?” and 
“Can you repeat that please?”), you can get students to learn the English 
spelling for each other’s names. This can be organised as a mingle activity where 
people walk round and exchange the information of all the spellings they have 
learnt so far to their new partner, then move onto the next person.     

 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2007