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Classroom Activities

English Teaching Materials, Games and Activities

May 15, 2009

Read! Spell! Say!


Today, I want to talk to you about a new game which practices reading, spelling and pronunciation skills. I am indebted to Kelly Rowlingson who supplied me with the name of the game and the original idea. To learn more about Kelly and what she does, then please visit her web site here.

Here's what you need to play the game.

1. Base board
2. Playing (or Star) board
3. Stars
4. Task cards
5. Read!, Spell! and Say! cards
6. A dice
7. Some great students

Note: all the printing is A4 size.

Here is the base board.


You need to print it out and preferably laminate it. The base board is just a place to hold your Read! Spell! Say! cards and keep them tidy whilst playing.

Here is the playing board.


Print it out and laminate it, then take self-adhesive Velcro dots or strips and stick a dot (hook) in the centre of each square. One board for each student, though it is possible for students to share a board.

These are the stars.

If you want to use more than one colour, then just fill each star using MS Paint or some similar software program. Print out the stars, laminate them, cut them out individually and, if possible, round corners of the stars. Then take your Velcro dots (loops) and stick one on the back, in the centre, of each star. The Velcro dots need to be pressed down firmly, use some kind of tool to do this otherwise you will end up with a very sore thumb. The adhesive on the backs of the dots usually needs to cure for about 24 hours to reach full strength, so make your materials today and play tomorrow.

Next are the task cards.


Print them out, laminate them, cut them into individual cards and round corners. I usually give four of each (12 cards in all) to each pair of students or group of three.

The Read! Spell! and Say! cards.

I use the Read! and Spell! cards from Read! Spell! Do! This way it's easy for me to quickly select Read! (sentence) cards and Spell! (word) cards of a suitable level for each class of students. It's also possible to use Switchit cards in place of the Spell! cards. Here's a little more information on some of the Read! and Spell! cards:

Level 1 is for students who are able to use the 26 single letter sounds of the alphabet to successfully read and write words.
Level 1 Pack 1: 80 'spell' cards (single syllable).
Level 1 Pack 1: 80 'read' (sentence) cards.

Level 1 Pack 2: 80 more (all different) 'spell' cards (mostly multisyllable).
Level 1 Pack 2: 80 more (all different) 'read' cards.

Level 2-1 is for students who are able to use the 8 double letter sounds below.
Double Sounds: ee-ea-ch-sh-oo(spoon)-oo(foot)-ou-ar
Level 2 Pack 1: 80 'spell' cards.
Level 2 Pack 1: 80 'read' cards.

Level 2-2 is for students who are able to use the 8 double letter sounds below.
Double Sounds ow(cow)-or-oy-ir-oa-ow(window)-ai-ay
Level 2 Pack 2: 80 'spell' cards.
Level 2 Pack 2: 80 'read' cards.

Levels 3-1 and 3-2 are also available.

I use Switchit Junior for the Say! cards.

Sorry. You will have to supply your own dice and students.

How to play.

The game itself is very simple. Place the Read!, Spell! and Say! cards face down on the 'base board'. Shuffle the 'task cards' and put them in a pile. They will fit on the base board, but they are passed back and forth among the students. A child rolls a dice and then the other (another) child counts off the number by taking cards from the top of the 'pile' and placing them at the bottom. After the cards have been counted off, the top card is turned over and then the child is asked to read, spell or say one of the target cards. If the task is completed successfully, then the child takes a star and places it on the appropriate place on his or her playing board. If a 'read', 'spell' or 'say' row is already full, then no star is taken or given. The winner is the first person to fill his or her board with stars.

The dice adds randomness and so it's not always the most knowledgeable student that wins. Also, if there is a great disparity in the levels of the students, then you can have different levels of Read! Spell! Say! cards for each student. The game can be played cooperatively simply by giving each pair of students a single playing board and letting them use a single colour of stars. This way there is no physical record of who was most successful. I'm sure that you will find this a great resource, very versatile and able to be used by all ages, from preschool to adults.

Let me introduce you to a couple of other ways of using these materials.

Star Boards: for use with preschool and elementary school children

Preparation: Scatter a lot of of picture cards or picture/word cards, if the children are reading, on the floor, carpet or table. When using picture cards, then your pupils should be familiar with all of the pictures, if using picture/word cards, then use mostly familiar pictures, but throw in some unknown or relatively unknown cards so that the children have to use their word attack skills to decipher the word. Place a number of base boards around the room.

Play: Children pick up individual cards, bring them to you and identify the picture. You give them a star which they place on any base board and then they get another card. This is a great opportunity to check and help with individual pronunciation. You can also use Say! (Switchit Junior), Spell! or Read! cards for this activity. At the end of the activity see how many base boards they were able to fill and give some lavish praise.

Read! Spell! Ask!: can be used all the way from elementary school students to adults

Preparation: if you don't have Read! Spell! Do!, then you'll have to make your own Read! cards. You can take sentences from whichever textbook you are using. The Spell!, as I've said, can be Switchit cards or you can make your own or use 'student cards' if available. I have made my own Ask! cards. Some of my Ask! cards are for asking student to student and other cards for asking student to teacher. I find the student to teacher cards particularly useful for senior high school students, university students and adults as they tend to have a greater personal interest in their teacher.

Student to student questions and backs.



Student to teacher questions and backs.



If you want the files for Read! Spell! Say! and the all the Ask! question cards, then please e-mail me or make your request through the 'comments'. I will send you the files together with further information on Read! Spell! Do! and Switchit. To learn more about Switchit Junior, then please read my article.

I originally made this game so that I and other users of Read! Spell! Do! could get more and better use out of the game. I hope that it serves its purpose well.

Thanks for reading; hope you enjoy the activity.

David Lisgo

« Blending a Hand: Switchit Junior | Main | I'm David. Nice to meet you. »


I am always looking for new games to motivate and teach students as well as relieve the boredom of doing the same thing over and over which is what happens with the textbooks provided here in South Korea. I would appreciate the files for the game. Anything else you can send along would be equally welcomed!!! Thanx and of course I read your article and loved it

Hi Connie

This very much for your comment. I will send some materials to you soon. I hope that you and your students will never get bored with them.


I am always looking for ways to help my son. Love your article. Is it possible to get the game and anything else that could help. I am doing homeschooling with my son, because the schools wanted me to give him Ritalin (tried it for 3 months, he was like a zombie)
God Bless.

Can you email me the files for Read! Spell! Say! and the all the Ask! question cards? I love this idea very much.

Can you email me the files for Read! Spell! Say! and the all the Ask! question cards?

Thank you!!!

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