In my 20+ years of teaching Phonics First and Structures, I have found that students often require additional practice with syllabication, so I developed a simple file-folder game.
This game is simple to make, can be used with students at any point in their syllabication curriculum sequence, and can be played with multiple players. To begin, choose 2-3 syllabication lessons that come prior to the lesson you are teaching. Print those words on index cards and cut the word boxes apart. You may wish to laminate the cards so they can be used over and over again.
Next, grab a file folder and some different colored stickers. I used foam stickers for my gameboard, but office supply stores usually carry colorful round stickers. Arrange your stickers to form a “path” that the game pieces will travel along. I added some larger asterisk shapes to liven up the game.
Finally, make some game cards. Using the colors of the stickers on the gameboard, create cards that have a single-color square or a double color square. Create several of each.
Finally, choose your game pieces. You’ll need one for each student.
To play the game, place the syllabication cards face down near the gameboard. Place the game cards face down as well. Players begin on the first sticker and draw a game card. The color on the game card indicates which spot to move to. For example, if the player draws a card with a single yellow square on it, she will move to the next yellow space along the gameboard “path”. If a player draws a card with two blue squares on it, she will move ahead two blue spaces.
Each time a player draws a game card and moves ahead to the corresponding color space, she draws a syllabication card. If the syllabication cards are laminated, students may use a dry erase marker to syllabicate and read the word. Otherwise, a pencil may be used, and the cards will be discarded at the end of the game. If the student syllabicates the word properly, she may keep her space on the gameboard. If not, she moves back one space (or, for more of a challenge, returns to her original space).
To make the game more fun, students can elect to have the asterisk stickers represent a challenging element, such as:
- “Power Up” – if you land on an asterisk, move ahead to the next asterisk on the gameboard
- “Whammy” – if you land on an asterisk, move back to the previous asterisk
- “Doubler” – if you land on an asterisk, syllabicate two words
- “Free Space” – if you land on an asterisk, do not draw a syllabication card
- “Switcheroo” – if you land on an asterisk, switch places on the gameboard with any other player
As with most games, play continues with each player taking her turn until someone reaches the end spot.
My students love this simple game, and I hope yours will, too!
Written by Tammi Brandon, M.Ed., CDP
Tammi Brandon is a Master Instructor and Education Consultant with Brainspring Educator Academy.