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Five Spelling Games


Return to Spotlight on Spelling


  • Arts & Humanities:
    Language Arts


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Spice up your weekly spelling-list study with these five fun spelling activities.


Students will
  • follow directions to complete activities that help them learn their weekly spelling words.


Spelling, game, activity

Materials Needed

  • paper
  • pencil
  • newspaper

Lesson Plan

This lesson offers five quick and fun spelling review activities.

Looking for more fun activities? See Spice Up Your Spelling Lessons. Click the Earn Spelling Points lesson for more than 20 additional spelling activity ideas!

Activity 1: Alpha-Time Spelling
Provide each student with 10 slips of paper (one slip for each spelling word of the week). Have students practice writing their spelling words, one word per slip. Then instruct students to turn over the slips. Give students 15 seconds to slide around the slips on their desks until the slips are all mixed up. At your signal, students turn over the slips and arrange them in alphabetical order. When they finish alphabetizing the words, students stand by their desks. (That way, they are not able to move the slips if they spot an error.) Keep track of the order in which students stand up. When all students are standing, check the work of the first student who stood up. If the order is correct, that person is the winner.

You might repeat this activity several times. Students should finish more quickly each time. This activity also is good for recycling scrap copy paper; cut slips out of those spare copies you will never use.

Activity 2: Spelling Concentration
This activity is based on the TV game show Concentration. It can take many forms, depending on the grade level you teach. Following are some ideas:

  • You might prepare a game sheet in advance. Divide the sheet into 20 squares and write each spelling word in two squares. Have students cut the squares, turn them over so the blank side of the paper is facing up, and mix up the squares to create a game board. Invite students to play the game in pairs, taking turns turning over two squares. If the squares match, the student keeps the squares and takes another turn. If the two squares do not match, the opponent tries to make a match. At the end of the game -- when all matches are made or when time runs out -- the student with the most matches is the winner.

  • The game squares also could be used to present the week's spelling words with vowels missing; a line or square appears in place of each vowel. After a student makes a match, he or she must supply the correct missing vowel to keep the squares. If a student misspells the word, the opponent gets the squares and the next turn.

  • Students might make their own game squares. One square might have the word on it; its matching square has the word's definition. Students match each spelling word to its definition.

  • Students might create game cards for homework, writing the word on one card and a sentence with that word in it on the matching card. (Or they might write a sentence with a blank space in place of the word.) Students match each word card with the correct sentence card.

  • If you're teaching dictionary skills, you might prepare a sheet with word cards and matching cards with the dictionary spellings of those words. Students match each word with the correct dictionary spelling card.

Activity 3: Back-to-Back Spelling
Students work in pairs. One member of each pair uses a finger to spell the week's words on the partner's back. The partner must think about the letters being formed, identify the word spelled, and then spell the word aloud.

Activity 4: Elimination Spelling
Arrange the class into teams. (Each row of five students might make a team.) Instruct students to write the 26 letters of the alphabet along the top of a sheet of paper. At the same time, select one of the week's spelling words; write that word on a card or a sheet of paper, then turn over the card/paper. When all students are ready, they take turns asking Is there an [fill in a letter of the alphabet] in the word? (for example, Is there a p in the word?) If the teachers responds Yes, there is a p in the word, students circle the letter. If the answer is no, students put an X through the letter. Students can raise their hands at any time they would like to guess the "secret word." If they are correct, they earn a point for their team; if they are incorrect, their team loses a point.

After students have done this activity as a class, you might let each team run its own game. One student on each team plays the role of game leader; choosing the secret word and responding to questions from other students. In this game, students earn or lose points for themselves instead of for the team.

Activity 5: Cut-and-Paste Spelling
Provide each student with a page from the local newspaper. Have them cut out letters from headlines, advertisements, and text, and glue those letters to a sheet of paper to spell each of the week's spelling words. If all students do this activity at the same time, which student completes the assignment first? This assignment also makes a nice spelling homework assignment.


Students will achieve scores of 90 percent or better on their weekly spelling assessment.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

Find more great spelling activity ideas in Education World's Spelling Activity Archive.

Click to return to this week's spelling activity lesson plans, Spotlight on Spelling.

Originally published 05/23/2003
Last updated 023/21/2008