Multisensory Monday- Pick One, Change It

Posted by Brainspring on 13th Jul 2014

Hi everyone,

Welcome to Multisensory Monday!  Today I have another activity that is perfect for a small group in a summer reading program, or anytime you want a quick, fun game to get students up out of their chairs- Pick One, Change It.  This activity is based on the game Word Ladders, where one letter of each word is changed to make a new word that fits the next clue.   In Pick One, Change It though, students use letter cards to build the words, instead of pencil and paper.  (The pencil and paper game still makes a great activity students can do on their own as a free choice when they’re done with class work early.)


Pick One, Change It

You can play this game with students at any reading level by choosing a Word Ladder that uses words and spelling patterns appropriate for the students.  Try searching online to find one that matches your students’ level; I have found some ranging from simple CVC words to advanced puzzles for adults.  The one I chose is for students who can read and spell basic CVC words with most consonants and short vowels.  (I modified it slightly from the original at

Please comment below with websites for other word ladders you find for different reading levels!

Here are the clues from my game:

  1. Insect
  2. Large
  3. Hog
  4. ____ the Tail on the Donkey
  5. What you fry bacon in
  6. Opposite of woman
  7. Thing to wipe feet on
  8. Vampire animal
  9. Sack
  10. A game where someone is “it”

DSCF0774Start by figuring out what letter cards you will need.  You can either use the cards from your Phonics First card pack or make your own.  For my game I needed b, u ,g, p, i, n, a, m, t.  Depending on how large your group is, give each student one or multiple cards.  This could also be made into an individual activity by giving each student their own set of cards and having them build the words on their desk or the floor.


Read the first clue and ask the students to raise their hands when they think they know what they word is.  When a student correctly guesses the word, ask the students who have letter cards in that word to line up in front of the room to build the word (“bug” in this example).  If they need to, have the students pound and tap the word before having anyone come to the front of the room.  For beginning readers you could even sound out the word together, asking for each sound individually.DSCF0775

Explain that the answer to the next clue will be a word that can be made by changing only one letter of the word at the front of the room.  Read the next clue and call on a raised hand to guess the next word (here it would be “big”).  Then ask the student who has the letter that needs to be changed to shout “Pick One, Change It” and come swap places with the necessary letter at the front of the room (the student with “i” would come switch places with the student who has “u”).  Repeat this until you have gone through all the clues.DSCF0776

Note: It’s a good idea to go through the word ladder yourself for 2 reasons: 1) you can be sure that all the spelling skills used are skills your students know; 2) you can avoid one of those moments where you’re not sure of the answer (haven’t we all had a few of those!) 

Just to be safe, here are the answers for my word ladder:

  1. Insect bug
  2. Large big
  3. Hog pig
  4. ____ the Tail on the Donkey pin
  5. What you fry bacon in pan
  6. Opposite of woman man
  7. Thing to wipe feet on mat
  8. Vampire animal bat
  9. Sack bag
  10. A game where someone is “it” tag
CVC Word Scramble

This week Dite from Ladder Learning Services ( has a scramble activity with basic letters and sounds.  I can’t wait to use this one with my beginning students!  Students first have to write the letters for sounds you dictate; then put them in the proper order to make a word.


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I really want to do another Questions and Answers post soon, so please comment or email your questions (!