That Says | A Homemade Phonics Game

Several years ago, I looked into buying “Hooked on Phonics”, but letting go of two hundred plus bucks was way more than I was comfortable with. I decided to come up with a game myself and by involving the kids in the creation of the game, they catch on just that much easier.

Instructions for creating the game:

Use a phonics website like this to find a list of letters and sounds. Start with the letters from your child’s name. This is a great way to get them interested. If your child has letters that combine to make another sound like th or eigh, go ahead and use them, but don’t separate them.

Cut index cards in half, width wise. Print “THAT SAYS” on one side of each card. On the other side put one of the letters at the top of two cards. Leave a space for a picture and put a word that starts with that sound at the bottom. Make sure the word is something that your child can draw or take a picture of. Then, have your child draw that picture in the middle of the cards. You can also find pictures in magazines or take pictures with a digital camera and paste them in.

Repeat this process until you have 20 cards for your beginner deck. You will add to this deck later, but let your child become very familiar with these first. When you see that he/she has mastered these, add 2 or 3 more sounds at a time. If the deck gets too large, remove some of the older sounds and rotate a different older sound into the deck each time you play so they don’t forget them.

There are three different games that can be played with these cards.

I like to start out with a simple memory match game. Put all the cards face down on the table. The first player turns over a card and reads it like this: “This is the k that says “k” (making the k sound) like in kayak.” (It is important for the children to say this out loud and not just look for matching cards. The idea is for them learn the sounds. That can’t happen if they don’t say the sounds out loud.) Then the player turns over another card and reads it the same way. If it is not a match, the cards are turned over and the second player gets a turn. Continue taking turns until all cards have been matched. This game can be played as a solitaire game while Mom is listening as she cooks dinner or hems a garment.

The next game is a Go Fish type game. Deal 5 to 7 cards to each player. Put the rest face down in a “draw” pile. The first player looks at his/her cards and tries to make a match. If there is a match, the matching cards are to be “read” as in the memory game and put on the table. If there isn’t any match, the player “fishes” for a matching card by asking another player “Do you have … and then “reads” the card he/she is looking for. If the other player doesn’t have the match, a card must be drawn from the pile. If the card from the pile matches one in his/her hand, the player “reads” the match and places the cards on the table. If the player runs out of cards, he/she must draw one more and wait until the next turn to ask about it. All the players take turns until the deck runs out. The player with the most matches wins.

The last game is a rummy type game for advanced players. The deck should consist of at least 50 cards for this game, with 2 or 3 extra cards for each vowel. Deal 7 cards to each player. On each turn, the player tries to create a word from his/her hand. If there is any question about the spelling of a word, have a dictionary handy to look it up. If the player cannot make a word, he/she must draw 2 cards from the pile and discard one. If the discard pile has more than 2 cards, the player may choose to pick up the pile. He/she does not have to pick up the entire pile, but must pick up all the cards on top of the card he/she chooses to start from. When one player is out of cards, the game stops. Each player counts his/her words and adds that number to the total number of cards he/she has on the table, then subtracts the number of cards he/she is still holding. The person with the highest score wins that round. If you desire to play more than one round, set a winning score to work for and keep a running tab for each player. Scoring this game is a great way to practice adding, subtracting and negative numbers too!

Have fun!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

8 Steps to Reading | Curriculum Free


It’s not all that hard to teach your child to read. Dick and Jane basic readers can be fun, but they really aren’t needed. Throughout most of American history, the only book most children ever had access to was a Bible. And they learned to read.

Our society makes learning to read hard because we push our kids to read before they are ready. To be able to read well, there is a nerve between the eye and the brain that needs to mature. If it isn’t developed enough, teaching a child to read is very difficult and very frustrating. The normal time for this nerve to develop is between the ages of 4 and 12. If a child is potty trained at 18 months we are happy, but if she doesn’t get it down until she is 3 or 4, it’s not really a big deal. We recognize that each child develops differently in this area and no one can tell the difference when they are 30. We actually handicap many of our kids by insisting that they read before they are ready. Read to your child every day. Don’t get all uptight if he doesn’t seem interested in reading. If you wait, it will be much easier.

Signs your child is ready:

Knows what signs on the street or at a store mean.

Expresses an interest in letters

Asks to learn to read.


When he expresses an interest, follow these 8 steps and he will be reading in no time.

1st step – When reading to your child, always follow along with your finger.

2nd step – Show your child what a capital A looks like. Have your child find another one on that page. If that is too hard, narrow it down to a line or maybe even a word. When he can identify an A, work on identifying the lower case a. Then do B, b, C, c etc. until he is familiar with the entire alphabet. Play lots of games to help identify letters too.

3rd step – Tell your child what the letter “b” sounds like. Use the letter sound instead of the name and ask her to find that letter. Continue until your child knows all the consonants and short and long vowel sounds.

4th step – Work on diphthongs. “The ch says “ch”. Can you find the letters that say “ch”?

5th step – Work on 2 or 3 letter sight words. Show your child the word “is”. Can he find another “is”?

6th step – Explain basic vowel rules. If it is a vowel-consonant-vowel, the letter sounds like its name. If it is followed by 2 consonants it has a “short” sound. Show her some examples. Ask your child to find other examples. Continue until she can find examples when you ask for each sound.

7th step – Have your child sound out words. Help him whenever he forgets, but make sure he really tires before you tell him what the word is. If your child is reluctant or seems frustrated, have him sound out one word in every sentence with you reading the rest until he is more comfortable. Until your child demonstrates comprehension, always go back and read what they have sounded out.

8th step – Once your child is reading full sentences, stop her frequently and ask questions about what was just read.

Be sure to praise your child heartily every step of the way!


God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

Almost Unschooling Grama Weekly Wrap Up | January 20th, 2017

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Read Acts 1:8 to your kids. Talk about what a witness is. Have they ever seen a reporter interview a witness? Encourage them to take a little while to think about what they would say if they were asked to witness about Jesus. Then give one a microphone and ask him to interview a witness for Jesus. Pass the microphone around and let each child take their turn being the reporter and the witness.



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Check out my Face Book page for the latest activities and plenty of encouragement. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about homeschooling!


God Bless You All!


~Grama Sue