With young students, games are the easiest way to maintain interest and learn at the same time. I’d like to suggest two games to teach beginning reading (CVC words). Neither game is new, but both attract youngsters, from my experience.
One game is BLAH BLAH BLAH Word Game, Level 1000. This game consists of three sets of playing cards, color coded according to level. Each card consists of one word printed in the middle, and individual letters of that word printed in the corners. A player needs to match one letter on a card in his hand to one letter on the face-up word in the middle of the table (hat and tug, for example).
This game has three levels: CVC words; CVC words with blends; and words with long vowels (oa, ai, ee, oo, etc.). It does not include words ending with silent e at the 1000 level. When a player matches a letter, he must place his card over the face-up word already played and read the word aloud. The next player must match one of the letters on the just matched card. However, other cards (skip a turn, take four cards, change order) allow a player without a match to play. The first player to play all his cards wins.
I have played this game with an about-to-start kindergartener, who sounds out each word as he plays. He uses the “joker” cards strategically to stop a player from winning or to enact revenge on a player who interferes with his goals. But it could be used with a child learning his letters but not yet able to read words.
The only drawback I have found is the size of the cards. For little hands, regular-sized playing cards are too big to fan. Too bad the deck isn’t smaller-sized.
The other game my almost kindergartener and I like is Zingo! Each player receives a BINGO-like card with six words printed on it. However, one of the letters of each word is missing as in “_ig” or “c_t.” A player must take letter tiles distributed from a machine-like device and use them, one at a time, to create words by covering the blank spaces on his card. Consonants are black and vowels are red. The first player to cover his card wins.
This game offers two levels, one on each side of the BINGO card: CVC words and CVC words with blends. The machine-like device which distributes the tiles is attractive to little hands, and can easily distract a youngster from the purpose of the game. This game is harder than the previous game since it requires the child to read several incomplete words at each turn and to try to figure out where placing a tile makes sense. For beginner readers, this requires help.
I like to use games like this at the end of a lesson to extend the lesson time. Little kids have short attention spans, so ending a lesson with games like these continues the learning.