Children with dyslexia often need much more practice to secure a skill (such as handwriting, reading, spelling, multiplication tables etc.) This is known as over-learning.
Practice needs to be multi-sensory, which means that not only should the child be reading the word but ideally saying it, and writing it in as many different ways as possible. These game ideas can be applied to most word lists and stop the over-learning becoming boring! Some of them are home made, others are adaptations of shop-bought games.
Use glue to glue the words onto each brick (if the glue isn’t that sticky, it’s easy to peel the words off on and change them, so use cheaper glue!).
Play Jenga as normal, but each time you pull out a brick, you need to read the word. You can also write the word if you are practising spelling.
You can download a template here which fits into the newer Guess Who games. You simply add the words you want to practise and print.
Guess who encourages children to focus on the structure of the words. Try questions like:
Does it have a long vowel sound?
Does it have more than __ letters?
Does it have two different vowels?
Does it start with a letter in the first half of the alphabet?
Does it have more than two syllables? etc.
Who am I?
Each person writes one of the words onto a post it note and sticks it onto their partner's head. The partner has to then ask questions to try to guess the word. When they think they know, they write down the answer.
You can play this by asking questions which either focus on the meaning of the words, or their spellings. Both work well.
Connect 4: Spelling Version
To make this game, you need to put your clues into a table as shown (downloadable here). Print a copy of the table for whoever is playing.
You then need two dice: one with numbers, and one with letters a-e and either 'miss a turn' or 'you choose.' If you don't have an adaptable die, just put the letters a-e in a hat.
Roll the two dice which gives you a square, e.g. B4. Read the clue in B4, and then write the word and place a counter over.
First person to ___ in a row wins.
Don't Pick Pete
Create a grid of pictures. Secretly, one player picks 'Pete' and writes it down. The aim of the game is NOT to Pick Pete. Player 2 writes down each of their guesses. If they don't pick Pete, cover the guess with a counter. Keep guessing until you pick Pete. Your score is the number of counters you get before you pick Pete.
Create a grid of words and play as above. This is really good as children have to read the words to guess them AND read the words to cover up the other player's guess.
This works really well for High Frequency words too.
I got this inflatable beanbag toss online, but you can just make cards with your target words and aim the beanbags at the cards.
Use sticky labels to stick the words you are practising onto the target. You can then write a set of clues to the words (which the adult can read out) and then the child has to aim at the correct word. You can also add spelling in by making the child spell the word before taking a shot.
Hangman is a great game to play with spellings.
It might be worth having the words available for children to check their spelling and the number of spaces they have left for the mystery word!
There are some hangman games available which allow you to build a real hangman, which just adds an extra element of fun.
DIY Board Game
Download this blank board game template here and then fill in with the words you want to practise. Read every word as you pass.
The template contains a couple of 'bonus squares' to make the game more interesting.
You will need a die and something to use as a counter.
I have adapted a die to have only the numbers 1 to 3 (twice) which means the game goes more slowly and you end up reading more!
Dots and Boxes
Adapt this classic game by adding words using this template.
Then, as you take your turn, you have to read the words around the line you are drawing.
By the end of the game, you will have read the words many times over and not even noticed!
This is a good game for focusing on particularly tricky parts of spellings.
Use wooden or foam cut out letters. Blindfold the child, and then place the spelling in front of them. They touch each letter to work out what it is, then they can work out the spelling.
To make this more challenging, you can tell the child the word you are supposed to be spelling and then:
identify which letters are mixed up
identify which letters are missing
identify an extra letter
To play darts while practising reading, spread out flashcards of the words on the table. Give/ read a clue for the word, and then find the correct word from the flashcards. For extra reading practise, read every word until you find the correct one! Once you have foiund the correct word, you get a shot at the dart board.
To practise spelling, read a clue and then spell the word. If spelled correctly, you get a shot at the dart board.
Keep track of points - you can also use this for maths practice at the end!
Pick one of your spelling words out of a hat/ bag.
Describe the word to your partner. They have to either say the word, or write it down.
This is a very easy game and you can cover a lot of words.
Connect 4 (or 5): reading version
Depending upon how long you want the game to last, you can choose whether children have to get 4 in a row or 5 in a row.
Put your reading words into a grid and print one per player. Then, make a set of clues for the words. Choose a clue, and then find and cover the word.
First to get 4 or 5 in a row wins!
This is a slower game, but it is really useful for focusing on tricky words.
You each write a selection (6 usually works) of words into the grid in secret. Draw a box around each word to make it clear where one word ends.
You then get a blank grid, which you are aiming to fill out to be identical to your partner's.
Ask your partner for a square (e.g. C6). If they have a letter in C6, they must tell you what the letter is and you get another guess.
If not, it is their turn.
Once you have guessed a full word in its exact location, you have 'sunk' that battleship. First person to sink ll of the other's words wins!
Roll, Say and Add/
These are very easy ways to 'gamify' reading flashcards.
For roll, say and add, simply roll the die and read the flashcard. If you read it correctly, you can add the die roll to your total. Keep going until you have read the full pile and see how high you can make your total.
For random scores, simply put a random number on the back of each flashcard. Take turns picking a flashcard and reading/ spelling it, then add that score to your total.
Both very simple, but they turn flashcard practise into a game.