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Sounding Out, Alien Word Game

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Activity Type: Build Accuracy
Activity Form: Game
Grade: K
Group Size: Small Group, Whole Class
Length: 10 minutes
Materials: Magnetic or felt letters
Goal: Given a written regular word or nonsense word, students can sound out and then say the word ( abc -> "aaabbbcc" -> "abc").
Items: All letters whose sound has been learned so far (or a subset of consonants and vowels)

What to do

  1. Let's play the Alien Word Game. We're going to make some words with these letters, and you have to tell me whether the word is a real one or an alien one. Alien words are words that don't make any sense to you or me. Ready?
  2. First, let's review the sounds for these letters. Point at each letter in a random order and have students say its sound. Give several students individual turns until you are sure all students know the letter sounds for these letters.
  3. Make a real word from the letters, say dot. Sound out this word with me by saying it slowly: dooot. What's the word? Right! Dot. Is dot a real word or an alien word? Students: A real word. It may help to emphasize the real word by using it in a sentence: You can make a dot on paper with a pencil.
  4. Next, switch out one of the letters (replace d with g, for instance). Okay, now we have a new word. Let's find out if it's a real word or an alien word. First, sound it out. Students: gooot. What's the word? Students: got. Right: got. Is got a real word or an alien word? Students: a real word. Emphasize the real word by using it in a sentence: Nico got a sticker today!
  5. Now switch again (for instance, replace g with z). Is this a real word or an alien word? First, sound it out. Students: zzzooot. What's the word? Students: zot. Right: zot. Is zot a real word or an alien word? Students: an alien word. That's right. Zot is a make-believe word. It might be a new word that someone makes up some day. Let's try another.
  6. Continue switching letters (including the medial vowel and the last letter), making words and non-words. Watch for students who are struggling and give them an individual turn, perhaps modeling for them again. Make a note of students who continue to have trouble in an Activity Log. If a student can say the word slowly but not fast, you may need to go over oral blending with them.
  7. As students become more confident with sounding out, you can fade that part of the activity so that they are reading words with sounding out.

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