Looking for a fun activity to help your child master those tricky words with r controlled vowels? Try this free game!
It can be hard for new readers to keep ar, ir, er, or, and ur straight.
The prep for this game is super simple. Print the “Is it real” game board and playing cards. Choose the r-controlled vowel you would like to work on.
Put the stack of cards face down on the board. Take turns drawing a card. Read it aloud. Is it a real word? If it is, move your playing piece up toward the gem. If it’s not a real word, stay where you are.
At first my son had a hard time with this pattern. For the word “cart,” for example, he read “crat.” But with lots and lots of patient practice, he had it by the end!
A few days later, we pulled the game out again. He still remembered the ar pattern – hurray! Now it was time to work on the others. We played a review game of ar, one with ir, and one with ur. After that he’d had enough for the day.
Why I love this game
- It’s low prep. Just print the game board and the cards you’d like to use. Cut apart the cards.
- It’s quick. A single game takes about ten minutes. New readers need quick games, as they tend to tire easily.
- It provides a lot of phonics practice. The tricky thing with r-controlled vowel words is that there aren’t that many real words to practice. For example, how many one-syllable er words do you know? Herd. Fern. Not too many more. When you mix it up with pretend words like perg and wert, you get in a lot more phonics practice. A few giggles, too!
- It’s a vocabulary builder. When your child has to think about whether a word is real or pretend, he has to think about the word’s meaning. When you play with your child, you can tell him the meanings of unfamiliar words. (Not too many new readers know the word mar, for example.) Of course, when kids are playing together, neither one might know that a particular word is actually real. No problem. As long as they’re getting practice pronouncing that tricky pattern!
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