Phonics Charades Fun

Okay friends, I have an awesome, awesome, AWESOME game for you to practice phonics. It's not like I invented the idea of charades. In fact, I started playing charades with first graders 9 years ago when I did my student teaching with the amazing Diane Romo of One Giggle At a Time. (Her blog is coming soon so I will keep you posted when it's ready!!!) Since then, I have played charades with all of my first graders, and they LOVED it...but...I felt like I was missing something. 

Here's how we played in years past. We would brainstorm a list of word family words together, and then use the words for our game. It was simple, but I felt like my learners should be doing more. What if they didn't get a turn? Should they just sit there the whole time and watch? How did I know if they could read and write all of the words? How could I keep easily distracted students engaged?

This year I started a new way of playing phonics charades, and it truly is awesome! It answered all of my questions, and it has kept my busy little learners this year super engaged! It's fun and interactive, but it's not chaotic- I can't handle wild games! It gives learners ample practice opportunities, but it never seems like work!


There are a few ways you can play. You can cut a copy of the word cards apart and place them in a basket. The actor picks one card out of the basket and acts out the word. You could also play in small groups and give each group a set of word cards. My favorite way to play is projecting the word cards. I love playing this way for a couple of reasons. Everyone gets to see all of the words, and we chorally read all of the choices before each actor comes up. That means they are reading the words at least 10 times, but it is NEVER boring!

My learners sit with their matching recording sheet on their lap, but you could play at your desks too. One actor comes up and performs a word without saying any words or making noise. The actor picks a quiet friend to guess the word. If that friend is correct, she comes up. Meanwhile everyone finds the word on their recording sheet, traces it, writes it, and checks it off! We chorally read all of the remaining choices again and watch the new actor.



I will warn you that first graders don't always think like adults so don't be shocked if you had no idea what they are acting out. Today someone was shuffling his feet, and it turns out he was acting out the word....soap. The other kids guessed it correctly, but I didn't get it. "I was walking carefully because soap made the floor slippery"- oh yes, of course! I LOVE first graders! 

We play until all of the words have been acted out and checked off. Then we return to our seats and flip our papers over. We practice using the words in complete sentences. Some of my learners use one word, and some use two in each sentence. My kids who love a challenge can usually get 3 or 4 to work in each sentence! 


After 9 year of playing charades, it is still making me laugh. Now the beautiful writing I see and the awesome reading I hear is making me smile too! 



I am working on finishing up some new sets of phonics charades, but you can grab the sets I have done in my store on sale now! My SH digraph sample is FREE so grab it here to try it! You can also try my set for digraphs  and vowel teams. I would love to hear how much you and your students love this game too!

**Updated September 2015
I also created a short vowel version with 22 different word families and phonics skills! Check it out here

Want to try it before you buy it?
The _at word family is FREE and you can grab it here





Happy Teaching Friends!






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