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