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Phonics Games Year 1 – 15 the best games and worksheets for lower KS1

Boost reading and spelling skills with these games, activities, ideas and more for Year 1 phonics...

  • Phonics Games Year 1 – 15 the best games and worksheets for lower KS1

1 | Year 1 Phases 2-5 Phonics – Dots and Dashes spelling games

These games will develop pupils’ segmenting skills, identifying the phonemes (sounds) in words and choosing the correct graphemes (letters) that represent these.

To play, they must find words that match the dots and dashes cards. Their knowledge of sound buttons will help them with this task. A variety of dots and dashes and word cards with are included in each.

Click the links to check out each phase’s game:


2 | Year 1 Phase 5 Phonics – Reading comprehension worksheets bundles

Support teaching of phase 5 phonics with this pack of five illustrated and easily differentiated worksheets.

The activities allow pupils to develop their comprehension skills, applying their blending skills to read and understand sentences and produce responses in a range of ways, including drawing and original writing.

There are 4 packs in total, click the links for each set:


3 | Year 1 Phase 4 Phonics – Reading comprehension worksheets bundle

We also have one for phase four, which includes topics such as Before Bedtime, Sail the Seas and On the Farm.

Find this one here.


4 | Gameshow activities to liven up your phonics lessons

With a touch of game show theatre and very little effort, your phonics sessions can become a high point of the day, says Jacqueline Harris.

In this article she offers five game-based activities to try in your teaching.

Read it here.


5 | Teach phonics with Caveman Dave – KS1 lesson plan

Use a popular Nick Sharratt book and some fancy dress to teach split digraphs, with this lesson from Phonic Fairy Michelle Larbey.

Students will identify words containing the split digraph ‘a-e’, apply these words within the context of a real story book, apply the focused phoneme ‘a-e’ within a purposeful writing context and learn a rhyming story off by heart.

Download it here.


6 | Phonics phase 3 and phase 5 phoneme cards

These printable PDFs feature a set of cards to cut out that show all the phonemes from Phase 3 and Phase 5 phonics.

Click these links to download Phase 3 cards and Phase 5 cards.


7 | Noisy letter jump phonics game

You’ll probably have kids hooked on this idea at the word ‘noisy’, but ‘jump’ and ‘game’ will also do its popularity no harm.

It’s extremely simple to create, requiring just some playground chalk and the ground, yet it’s a great way to consolidate phoneme-grapheme correspondence in an active way.

It’s also a great assessment tool to quickly see which letters children are less secure on.

What are you waiting for? Hop to it, here.


8 | ‘Ay’ sound phonics writing pack

This EY/Year 1 resource set of phonics resources looks at words which use the ‘ay’ sound.

It includes guidance notes for teachers, practice sheets with traceable words using different letter forms, flashcards for sounds and spellings, a sentence maker to arrange the words and sounds into different sentences and a sound speller to have a go at writing and drawing things with the relevant sound.

Download all this here.

9 | ‘ow’ grapheme phonics worksheet

This is a sample from No Nonsense Phonics Skills – a comprehensive step-by-step method of teaching reading, handwriting and spelling. This worksheet, taken from Pupil Book 6, provides exercises and a ‘mini story’ for the grapheme ‘ow’.

Download these here.


10 | Boggle bulletin board

Over at createteachshare.com this fun Boggle board involves printable letters that can be changed however often you like, and comes with a worksheet each time for students to find as many words as they can.

It’s an ingenious idea that can be used year-round for a quick and easy activity.

Find out more about it here.


11 | Jolly Phonics resources

This collection of Jolly Phonics resources for KS1 and KS2 cover a range of topics:

  • What is Jolly Phonics?: A four-page guide giving a general overview of the Jolly Phonics programme for teaching literacy skills
  • Jolly Phonics teaching steps: A teaching steps sheet produced by which aims to provide a clear structure for how to teach Jolly Phonics letter sounds and skills, alongside teaching tips and advice for the order of teaching reading and writing with Jolly Phonics
  • Jolly Phonics word bank: This 15-page document contains a comprehensive collection of example words for each of the 42 letter sounds. Each entry can be used for segmenting (blending and identifying sounds in words) practice with children
  • Jolly Phonics actions worksheet set: Seven worksheets illustrating all 42 letter sounds and their associated actions
  • Pupil checklist: This end-of-year checklist can be used to assess the progress of individual pupils, enabling you to quickly identify any gaps in progress
  • Teacher checklist: This 3-page self-assessment tool, enables teachers to evaluate whether they are teaching Jolly Phonics correctly and reflect on their practice

12 | Teach Your Monster to Read

This award-winning game makes learning to read fun, and is aimed at children in the first stages of learning to read, or for older children who need a bit more practice.

It covers everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences and complements all synthetic phonics programmes used in schools.

It’s beautifully illustrated and narrated, you sign up yourself then let pupils create their own monster (rather than children putting their details in), and while it’s available on tablets, the computer version is absolutely free to play.

And you can do so here.


13 | Phonics Bloom

For more phonics games that are free to play online, Phonics Bloom has a selection organised by Phase. Some require a subscription, but many are free to play without even needing to sign up.

Try them here.


14 | Dig and plant word-sorting game

This sorting game uses a tub of dyed rice (or whatever mud substitute you prefer) in which you can hide a set of word cards. These can be tailored to whatever sounds you’re currently working on, or adapted to the needs of each child.

So you might sort upper- and lower-case letters, or words beginning or ending with particular letters or sounds.

The idea of the game is to go digging, pull up a word, and plant it in the right plant pot. It’s a fun, hands-on activity that lets your child enjoy some spelling practice.

See what else this activity can unearth, here.

15 | Water balloons

This phonics activity involves taping letters on index cards against a wall or fence, then filling some water balloons which have word endings written on them.

The children then pick a water balloon and hold it up against one of the index cards to see if the letter and word ending match to make a word.

If it does, they have to read the word out loud, and then they get to throw the balloon at the letter to pop it.

See the full instructions and more images here.

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