Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CVC Word Flip Books: 10 Games for Beginning to Advanced Readers

These early reading word books that I made for the twins (3 years old) have been a big hit in our house.  The concept is simple, and I think I've seen something similar used for learning word families, but making all three letters 'moveable' really adds to fun.  I came up with a number of games that can be played with these CVC Flip Pads for a variety of reading levels (even kids who are already proficient readers can benefit from games that let them play with words.  My kids are too little to play a lot of the more advanced games I came up with, but I wanted to include them in this blog so I have something to refer to later as my kids' reading skills improve...

To prepare these Phonics Flip Books, I cut five sheets of paper to the desired size and stapled them together across the top.  Then I cup out 3 sections across all the sheets, and wrote down the 5 vowels in the middle and common beginning/ending consonants on the sides.  Finally I added some tape over the staples to make the book sturdier and to keep the kids from playing with the staples.  Voila, a new toy!

Here are the games I came up with:

1. Read the Word (level: beginner)

This is the most basic use of these flip books.  Select a word for your child and ask them to sound out each letter and then blend them to say the word.  With five sheets times three letters per word, there were a lot of words to choose from.  Don't forget to play "Stump the Parent" and read a couple words yourself.

2. Is it a Word? (level: beginner)

Invite your child to make a new word by picking a beginning, middle, and ending letter.  Have them read it and ask it it is a real word.  My kids love laughing at the 'made up' words, and were pleasantly surprised when they came up with 'real' words.  Even beginning readers who have not started working on spelling yet can pick random letters and see what they came up wit.  With multiple kids, you can add a scoring system where they get a point for each real word they come up with, to see who can get the highest score.

3. Word Matching (level: beginner)

Write out some words on small scraps of paper and put them in a box/hat for your child to randomly choose.  Then ask him to flip through the CVC chart to build the word out of the correct letters (since the child is just matching up the letters, this game is appropriate for beginning readers)

4. Single Letter Switch (level: beginner/intermediate)

After your child reads a word, ask her to change it to another word:  "Can you change CAT into HAT?".  My 3-year-olds can do this easily with beginning sounds, but vowel and ending sounds are a bigger challenge (why I rated this as intermediate)

5. Word Detective (level: beginner/intermediate)

Think of a word and give your child clues to figure out what it is.  For example, "I start with C and end with AT", "I start with F and end rhyme with PIG", "I'm something you use to drink with", or whatever is appropriate for your child's skill level.

6. Spell It Out (level: intermediate)

Challenge your child to spell a specific word by sounding it out and then selecting the correct letters on the flip book.  A variation is to print out drawings representing certain words (i.e. picture of a bat, cat, pup, pig, mop, etc..) and let the child select the word to spell out of a hat.

7. How Many Words Can You Find (level: intermediate)

This is just like the game Boggle.  Set a timer and see how many real words you can find from the combinations available in your flip book.  Make a couple books with the same (or different) letters to make it competitive.  I had a lot of fun trying to come up with different words for my kids to read, so adults might like this one too.

8. Letter Switch Train - Game 1 (level intermediate/advanced)

This game can be played alone or with others.  Similar to the Single Letter Switch game, each turn you can only switch one letter to form a new word.  Pick a word to start with and see how long your 'train' can get (how many times you can switch one letter to make a new word before you get stuck).  For multiple players, take turns making the new word and the person who gets stuck without any viable new words to create is the loser.

9.  Letter Switch Train - Game 2 (level: advanced)

Come up with a Letter Switch Train chain ahead of time (i.e: MOM-MOP-POP-COP-CUP-CAP-TAP-TIP-SIP), and challenge your child to figure out how to get from MOM to SIT (or whatever you came up with).  There may be multiple ways to get from one word to another - who can do it in the least number of steps?  This could be an engaging game for older kids and adults as well.

10. Combinatorics (level: advanced)

For a larger project appropriate for an older child, ask him/her to calculate the number of 3-letter words (real or 'made up' that can be created with 5 choices for each letter. How many unique CVC flipcharts can be created (where the group of letters in the start/end groups can not be the same, but the order doesn't matter)?  Can you child devise a strategy to pick the consonants for a new CVC flipchart that will optimize the number of 'real' words available (there's no right answer for this one - see what they come up with)? 

It will probably be a long time before my 3-year-olds are ready to play all these games, but the CVC Word Flip Books will be nice to bring out every once in a while as their reading and spelling skills improve..

UPDATE: I was so inspired by how much my kids enjoyed early learning games that I created the La La Logic Critical Thinking Curriculum for 3-6 year olds, which includes online brain challenge games, printable worksheets, enrichment activities and more!

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  1. Love this activity. I would love for you to link it up at my linky party.


    1. Thanks! I submitted it to your link-up, and 'liked' your page on Facebook (mine is if you want to swap).

  2. Our 5 year old has been practicing phonic with a similar flip book. I like all the other game ideas you shared.

    We'd love for you to link up to our Finished Friday Blog Party.

    1. Thanks! The kids like reading much better when it's a game. I added my link to the Finished Friday Blog Party. Have a great weekend!

  3. Awesome round up of activities! Pinned it and I'm going to share the link on my Facebook page on Saturday. Thanks for linking up to the Kids' Co-op! Malia {Playdough to Plato}

    1. Thanks for sharing this on Facebook - I started following your page on there and it looks like you post a lot of great stuff.

  4. Such a great idea! And a great way to teach rhymes too :)

    1. Thank you - I'm glad you like it. I'm pretty sure I didn't invent this idea, but it's fun coming up with new phonemic awareness and reading games to play with it. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Really love this. Great games too. I will be making these with my preschoolers. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

  6. What a great list of activities! I love when learning is FUN!! Thanks for linking up to TGIF!


  7. Great ideas. I am going to have to pin this idea. Thanks for sharing.

  8. What a great idea! I am pinning this so I remember it :)

  9. Just one little friendly suggestion: I recommend that you make these with lowercase letters, rather than capital letters.

  10. It's also possible to buy 200 patterns for Phonics Flipbooks here:

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