a game for practicing spelling, sight words, or letters: WORDO!
So I’ve had to be super crafty during our work time in order to keep Maddy, Owen, and Cora engaged and excited. As I’ve said before, most days I go with whatever Owen and Cora are up for doing, but at least 2-3 times a week I sneak in some deliberate math or literacy learning.
This week and last, I’ve hit the jackpot with a game that everyone wants to play–Maddy included. WORDO! WORDO! totally rocks because it’s so completely adaptable to just about every game you need, similar to our pal, Tic-Tac-Toe. We’ve used WORDO! to practice Maddy’s spelling words (a very difficult list. . .), to practice sight words with Owen, and to practice letter writing and recognition with Cora. All at the same time.
I haven’t pulled out WORDO! for ages (gulp! it was the summer before Maddy entered kindergarten!), but when I finally did, they all loved it.
WORDO! is crazy simple. Here’s what we did:
- WORDO! (to practice spelling words, sight words, letters–or just about anything!): All you need to play WORDO! is a board and some cards to flash.
You can download the WORDO! board here as a pdf, and there are four boards in the document.
To play WORDO!, every player gets a board. These WORDO! boards have nine boxes, 3 x 3.
And then depending on what your focus is–spelling words, sight words, letters, numbers, family names, whatever–each person chooses nine words from a set of flash cards to write in the boxes. A different word goes in each box.
Then, just like BINGO, someone flips the cards, and when a word is chosen that’s on your board, you cover it up. We play that a full board wins.
Maddy remembered playing the game, so when I suggested that Owen, Cora, and I play while Maddy finished her homework, she said, Noooooo! I want to play. Pleasepleaseplease? I can do my spelling words! It’ll be perfect.
So that’s what we did. She took a break from her work, got her spelling word cards, and chose nine words for her board.
While Maddy wrote her words, Owen chose nine words from his early emergent word list.
When he was finished, I gave him high fives, and then I placed 3-4 word cards next to the board. I said, You did a great job, Owen, writing these words, but take a minute to double-check these three (or four) words before we begin.
I did this so that he was checking his work and so it wasn’t me who was saying, Oh great job but this is wrong and this is wrong and this is wrong. . .
Presenting kiddos with something along the line of ‘check your work‘ helps them recognize their successes (Hey! MY word looks just like the word on the card–I’m CORRECT!!) and it helps them recognize when they need to revise (Whoops–there’s an ‘n’ instead of an ‘m’ at the end of ‘can’; I better change it!).
I pulled nine uppercase alphabet letters for Cora to use for her WORDO! boards. The first time I pulled the letters of her name, and several letters I knew she frequently mixed up (M/ W) and then some ones I knew she could write easily (O, X, P).
I wanted her to practice the letters of her name, I wanted to challenge her a little, and I wanted her to have some certain successes.
So after each board was created, Maddy, Owen, and Cora each had a small pile of 12 cards next to them. Nine of the cards were definitely on their board, and the three extra would throw them off a bit, mix-up our game a little.
Once everyone was ready and had nine markers–either ‘gems’ from our gem jar, beads from our bead box, or a combo of both. I’d say, Okay. . . FLIP! and they’d flip a card, search for it on their board, and cover it if they had it. That’s it.
And the first person to fill his or her board yelled, WORDO! as loud as he or she could. (I secretly think this was everyone’s favorite part.)
Cora carefully covers the letters on her board.
So we played WORDO! for a few days last week and a few days this week, and the kids have been happy. I’m betting the long weekend ahead will knock us out of our WORDO! craze, but if it doesn’t, we’ll just keep playing.
I like it because it works for everyone–Maddy, Owen, and Cora, and though it was tough at first to get everyone into the swing of flipping together, we have it now, and it’s cool. Everyone waits, everyone helps, and everyone celebrates. . . most of the time.
Sometimes we mix it up, and here’s how:
- we use M & M’s for our markers (looove this one!)
- they write with rainbow colors on their board
- they choose each others’ words/ letters
- they flip for each other
- they use stickers as markers. . .
Our summertime plan is to:
- introduce Owen to the upper emergent word cards
- maybe throw in an early fluency word card or even fluency word card
- review Maddy’s spelling words–pull from the lists she’s covered this past year
- use number cards for Maddy and Owen so they can learn number word spellings
- continue alphabet letters for Cora, trying uppercase and mix in some lowercase
And that’s it–a little bit of learning, a lot of fun, and a teeny bit of our day! Happy WORDO! playing!