CVC words are the first words students learn to read after mastering letter sounds. They are the basis of reading and once students master decoding CVC words, a whole new world of reading opens up! I have found CVC word games essential when teaching the skills of decoding and blending. Whether you are teaching Kindergarten aged students or have older struggling readers, ESL or SEN students who still need support when blending, I have 6 CVC word games you don’t want to miss! You can check out my CVC Word Flashcards, which you can use for all the following activities. They have a clear font, a pale cream background to support dyslexic students, and a bright colorful border. Ready made to save you time!
First, let’s start with a quick explanation of some important terms:
What is phonics?
Phonics is a method of the teaching reading which involves decoding letters into their sounds and combining (blending) these sounds together to form words.
What is a CVC word?
Many of you will be familiar with the concept of CVC words, but to get back to basics, a CVC word is three-letter word made from a consonant / vowel / consonant (CVC). Examples include cat, mug, tin or pen. Once students have learned letter sounds for each letter in the English alphabet, CVC words are the simplest words for students to begin applying their letter sound knowledge to and practice the skill of blending.
What is blending in phonics?
Once students know the letter sounds, blending is the skills of combining them together, or blending them, to make a complete word. For example, when blending the word ‘cat’, a student will first sound out each letter c-a-t. They will then slowly join each letter sound together, reading the letters one after another, often by saying them out loud until they recognise the sound of the complete word. Blending is an essential skill when encountering unfamiliar words.
I have found that CVC words flashcards are a key tool in teaching blending skills. Using flashcards to create fun games and activities for students makes learning this skill fun and memorable. Here are my top 6 easy to play CVC word games using flashcards.
1. Memory CVC word game
This can be played in groups of around 2-5 students. Print out or create 2 sets of the flashcards and lay them face down on a desk. Students take turns to turn over 2 cards. The aim is to find a matching pair, so they must not only apply their blending skills, but also their memory skills. If a student finds a matching pair they can keep the set of cards. It is important to pay attention when the other players are taking their turn and remember where the cards are! The winner is the player who has the most matching sets at the end. This could also be played with a single set of cards, but the criteria for matching CVC words could be matching initial letter, matching end letter or rhyming words.
A fun CVC word game played by between 2-5 students. Players are looking for cards that match. This could be a matching initial sound, a matching end sound or matching two words that rhyme. Cards are dealt evenly between player facing upside down. Players take it in turns to place the card at the top of their pile into a central pile, turning the card to face upwards as they place it down. If the card matches the card underneath, any player can shout snap and place their hand over the top of the pile. The first player to do this gets to keep the cards in pile and the play starts again. The winner is the player who has the most cards at the end of the game.
3. Swat the CVC word
Requires 2-5 players, each needing a flyswatter or a pointer. Lay the CVC word cards face up on a desk. Each student has a flyswatter. One person is the ‘caller’ (teacher or student) and they call out a CVC word on one of the face up cards on the desk. The other students must find the word called and swat it (gently!) with their flyswatter. The first student to hit the correct CVC word flashcard gets to keep the card. The winner is the player at the end who has collected the most cards.
4. Tiddlewinks CVC word game
A CVC word game for 2-5 players. You will need a set of tiddlewinks or just some plastic counters will do just fine. Lay the CVC cards face up on a desk. Students take turns to use the ‘squidger’ or a larger counter to flick the tiddlewink or counter across the CVC cards. Students read out which ever card the tiddlewink lands on (or closest to). If they read the word correctly, they get to keep the card. If not, they leave the card in place. This is great for developing fine motor skills too, especially if students are aiming for a particular card. The winning player is the one who has collected the most cards by the end of the game.
5. CVC go fish
This game can be played between 2- 5 players. The aim of the game is to collect pairs of CVC word cards. Create or print out two sets of CVC word flashcards, so each CVC word flashcards has a matching pair. To make the game easier, reduce the number of pairs of CVC word cards. One player deals 5 cards to each player.
Players check their cards for any pairs and put them into their own ‘pairs pile’. The remaining cards are stacked in a pile in the center of the table face down. Player A reads out the CVC word on one of their cards. They then choose another player and asks them if they have the particular word on the card they just read out. If the other player does have that CVC word card, they must give the card to Player A. Player A places their pair of CVC word cards in their own ‘pairs pile’. If the other player does not have that particular word, they say, ‘Go fish!’ and Play A takes the top card from the central pile. If it makes a pair with their card, they put the two cards in their ‘pairs pile’ and have another go. If it doesn’t match, the next player takes their turn. Play the game until a player has no cards left or the stack in the middle runs out.The winner is the player who has the most pairs.
6. CVC Word Flashcard Bingo
A CVC word game for the whole class. Create or print out enough cards for each student in the class to have 5 cards and hand out 5 cards to each student. Students lay the cards out in front of them so they can see them all. The teacher then reads out a CVC word. If a student has that card they can turn it over or place a counter on it to indicate it has been called. The teacher continues to call out CVC words and students turn the cards over if they have them. Once a student has had all 5 of their CVC words called out. They shout ‘Bingo!’ and they are the winner.
I hope I have given you some fun ideas for practicing CVC words with your students using CVC word flashcards. If you’d like to save time, you can grab my ready made set of 80 CVC words flashcards, perfect for playing all of the above games!
You can use this CVC word flashcard set in multiple ways. Simply print and use for reading activities, homework, reviews and games or display them in your classroom on your word wall.