100 + Free CVC Worksheets, Activities and games.

Making English Fun

Here you will find 1000’s of free CVC worksheets, games and activities for teaching CVC words and sound blending. Teaching CVC skills and segmenting words is an important phonetic skill accords the year groups from kindergarten, second language students and ESL students all the way to first grade and primary students.

These CVC blending and reading skills help to develop reading skills that will last a lifetime. We have FREE board games, online games for both classroom and as apps, activities and of course the tried and tested worksheets. All these CVC word worksheets, games and activities are free to download for teachers, homeschoolers and anyone else who needs to practice or to teach students how to develop these CVC skills.

I will split these up into sections just to make it easier, so if you need to jump to the right section just use the links below. They should take you where you need to be 😊

FREE CVC worksheets

I am a teacher, an English teacher actually, in Hong Kong. A large part of my role is skills, rather than knowledge teaching. To do this I have to take it back to basics, those basics are simple word construction and initial, medial and final sound recognition. This all depends on the level of my students, but one of my most important aims is to have students constructing and deconstructing simple CVC words. This selection of free CVC worksheets are my favourite ones I have made, and a selection of the best ones I have found. These all are click and print so you don’t have to sign in or provide your email login.

4 medial vowel CVC worksheets

A set of 4 CVC medial vowel worksheets great for short vowel practice.

Read write colour CVC worksheets

4 Different Read Write and Colour CVC worksheets. Perfect for younger learners.

CVC wordsearch
4 CVC Word Searches

4 Different CVC word search and colouring, usable for writing practice as well.

10 CVC Word Sort Worksheets

10 Different cut and paste CVC Word sort activity for younger learners.

Rhyming pairs Worksheet Short vowels and CVC
5 Rhyming Pairs Worksheets

Rhyming is a great way to practice CVC and oneset and rime.

Which Vowel CVC Phonics Worksheets
3 Which Vowel Worksheets

Which vowel worksheets teach the sounds of short vowels.

short e CVC Phonics worksheet
10 CVC scramble Worksheets

10 different CVC scramble worksheets. Great for beginning spelling practice.

Free Short vowel A Colouring Phonics worksheets
Colour the short vowel worksheets

5 individual and 1 mixed colour the short vowel, these are great for sound recognition.

Farming for Vowels Phonics worksheet
5 Farming for Phonics Worksheets

Farming for phonics CVC worksheets and word sort.

Phonics Maze Short vowel U Worksheet
5 Space phonics Worksheets

A space themed set of five phonics and CVC worksheets.

Colour the Rhyme Short Vowels Worksheet
5 Rhyming Pairs Worksheets

4 CVC and Rhyming colouring worksheets

Long and Short vowel worksheets
3 CVC and Vowel Sort Worksheets

Long and Short vowel sorting worksheets.

140 CVC Short Vowel Worksheets
Fishing for Phonics worksheet
7 Fishing for Phonics Worksheets
find the rhymes worksheet
4 Find the Rhymes worksheet
10 Word Families CVC Worksheets

FREE Online CVC games

The future is here, and because of the pandemic it arrived a little earlier than most of us (me included!) were prepared for. Lockdowns and school closures put millions of students into a fairly haphazard and disjointed online learning environment. I had been using the online CVC games below in class, and they were reasonably useful for zoom classes as well. Yes, I tried to use online CVC games in zoom classrooms with six years olds! Some worked, some didn’t. Hey, we are all learning, right? I will put a little note on each one mentioning if I think its suitable for online group classrooms.

Some of these are mine, mainly because I made this in both app and online versions for my own needs, but 500,000 people now use them yearly so they have uses outside of my own classrooms as well. There are some of the better ones from others here as well. These are all playable online on PC, and some are also apps on the app store as well if you needed to download as phonics apps for classrooms.

Phonics and English games
CVC blitz – Four Phonics games in one

This a very user friendly game. 4 different ways of teaching CVC words. matching, spelling, listening and a quiz.

Online suitable, quiz is zoom suitable

Is also an app on Apple

Phonics Hop and Pop

I love playing this in classrooms. Students listen then jump to the correct CVC word. Has 8 other English subjects as well.

Very online suitable, not zoom

Also an App on Google and Apple

sentence builder
Sentence Builder

Learn how to put simple sentences together, including ones containing CVC words

Online suitable, not zoom

As an App on Google as well.

CVC Scramble

Longer version of CVC scramble. Students have to put the letter n the correct order. Picture clues and hints

not Zoom suitable

App on Google as well.

CVC Generator

This is great in classrooms, it really reinforces the sounds and blending skills of CVC words.

Made for classrooms! , great on zoom

On Google as an app

Swing words and phonics

Follows the phonics order of SATIPN from Jolly phonics and works on word and sound recognition

Online suitable, zoom suitable

On Google as an app as well.

One Stop English

Eight English Subjects, including CVC. Has matching exercises, sound quizzes and more.

not online suitable

Also as an app on Google.

Turtle Diary Short Vowel game

Turtle diary offers this short vowel game. Flash though, so not sure how long it will work.

online suitable and zoom

CVC Board Games and Free Card Games

I love using these phonic and Free CVC board games. There is no better feeling, as a teacher, than setting a task, maybe a little challenging and watching your class put their heads down. When I make that task a CVC Board game or CVC card game it is really REALLY well received by students. It is also self-directed so you can monitor the whole class easier. I have a selection of my own here and links to some cool ones from other creators as well. You will need to print them, and maybe laminate if you want longer use out of them. I also have a paid CVC card game coming out soon, so indulge me if I advertise that on here as well.

Soundopoly 3 versions

Based on Monopoly with game cards and questions about CVC words.

8 sounds and CVC board games

A selection of dice game boards for sounds and CVC.

CVC Board Game Connect four

This is great for groups in classrooms. A connect four CVC game.

CVC matching dominoes

A simple print and cut out CVC dominoes game.

Other FREE CVC printables and CVC reading comprehension worksheets.

There is more to life than CVC Worksheets and games – and I am saying this as a teacher! So I have linked in a range of other phonics and CVC activities, some that require students to put the skills they have practiced and learnt with the resources above into practice. So these are free CVC printables that may be matching tasks, or reading both for comprehension and for word recognition / phonics practice.

CVC bingo 16 cards

Bingo cards for classes. Great game to play with younger children.

The classic I have , who has game for a full class. We have 5 versions of this on the site.

The Fortune teller template for multiple English topics including short vowels.

Other resources for phonics worksheets for kindergarten, ESL and Primary grades

FREE CVC Worksheets and resources are undoubtable useful, but it doesn’t end there. We have linked some other FREE English worksheets and games below that may be useful as you progress with English. So, some of these will be for higher level phonics, digraphs, diphthongs, syllables. Vowels and more. However, it will just be a few to wet your appetite and I will post more in another post. You came here for FREE CVC worksheets and CVC Printables so that’s what this page is! Hope you found them useful.

Don’t miss our sets of grades 1 to 5/6 FREE Reading comprehension cards, these are great for lessons and we have over 100 pages of these now.

If you are looking for some Science or Stem worksheets head over to our portfolio to check out the Kindergarten and primary science lessons we have. I use these in my classes all the time and LOVE introducing quite complex topics in a way that is fun and engaging to young learners.

To check out all our resources we have an organised page with all our resources on them right here

And in the style of Steve Jobs, Just one more thing.

I should probably have put this at the top of this post, but I am presuming if you are searching for FREE CVC worksheets you are probably going to know what they are. However, just in case here we go.

In phonics we have a lot of jargon to help teachers understand (or to confuse them- we are still unsure about this) One of these collections of jargon and abbreviations is CVC. It simply stands for Consonant – Vowel – Consonant. These are made of some of the simplest words in English all containing a short vowel sound. They are perfect for emergent readers as they use single sounds that can be blended together to make words. When students have grasped the concept you can add CCVC (you can probably worth that out) and then CCvCC ( and I am fairly sure you can work out this one as well)

Post by Marc of Making English Fun

About the Author

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, mostly English but dabbled in outdoor pursuits and media. Thought is was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children. Feel free to take a look at our resources, email us on info@makingenglishfun.com, or jump on the Facebook group to ask questions. Happy learning, teaching or playing!

Free STEM Lessons: Making a Milk Rainbow

How to Make A milk Rainbow

I love doing this experiment with my students. I have made Milk Fireworks, Milk Explosions, Milk rainbows or what ever you wish to call them for years in my classrooms. Children love to experiment and learn and encouraging them to question the world around them is one of the greatest things a teacher can do.

Making a milk rainbow or milk firework simply requires a few drops of food coloring placed in milk and a drop of soap added to initiate the chemical reaction between them. It is beneficial to use oil based food coloring, washing liquid and full fat milk to achieve the most dramatic results.

I enjoy putting real activities and learning experiences into my classes and this is great for it. 

I don’t think English learning just has to be about textbooks and teacher led lessons so using these activities the students not only learn simple science techniques and vocabulary but they also get to practice their English is an authentic , fun and engaging setting. 

So i have, and am continuing to use, these science experiments in ESL classrooms to let the students enjoy using a second language for real and not just for practice!

I have included the instructions and some simple tasks for students to follow to do this classic experiment at the bottom of this post. It is free to download.

Their reaction is great and it really sparks their curiosity. It can be used to teach colors and procedural text for grades 3 plus. Is also part of the upcoming full ESL science pack that has many lessons, vocab and oral matching or description activities and suggestions for home activities for further learning. 


This experiment is so easy you can do it at home (ask your parents first!) you are going to make a rainbow with some milk and some food color. It really will be amazing and you will want to do it again and again!

Equipment ( things you need)

  • Plastic plate for the milk
  • Old Newspaper incase of spills!
  • Soap
  • Cotton buds
  • Full Fat Milk
  • A selection of Food Colorings ( this is important as there are different types. We use these as they are 9 Dollars for 12 on Amazon! Link under here 🙂
  • A camera or paper
  • The worksheets and activities for free download!

Method ( you can look at the photo to guide you for this as well.)

  1. Put some milk onto the plate just so the bottom of the plate is covered. Full fat is better than no fat milk but you can try this as well later to see what happens. Make sure there is some old newspaper in case of spills!
How to Make a Milk Rainbow
  1. Carefully drop 2 or 3 drops of your food color into different parts of the milk. Do not use too much. Try different colors in different places.

Before you do the experiment:

This is all on
this worksheet.

Can you write down or draw what you think you will see when you put the soap into the milk? What do you think will happen?

3. Now you are ready to try to make your rainbow. So put a little drop of soap on to your chopstick or cotton bud.

4. Now put the soap slowly into the milk and watch what happens. You can try to put it in other parts of the milks to see what it looks like.

5. This is your milk rainbow, and it will look fantastic! Now it is your turn to do a little bit of work.


This is a sure fire hit with students, and if you are homeschooling you can do it at home as well. As this is a science experiment it would be useful to know the science behind it as well! Now i teach second language learners, so I am a little more basic than the following explanation.

We also have a YouTube Video that guides you through this popular experiment below.

This must be
the teachers

Milk, or the fat inside the milk is a non polar molecule, simply put it doesn’t dissolve in water (you can see this in a frying pan when you try to clean it. The fat floats to the top.) When soap is placed into the mix the soap breaks up and collects the fat molecules. As they chase the fat molecules about in the milk they disturb the food coloring, which means we can see all this movement, and as a by product we get beautiful patterns emerging!

If you want the full on science reasons why this happens, this guy knows what he is taking about.

I explain it that the soap chases the milk fat around and the food colouring gets bumped all over the place. My students are seven and way more interested in having another go!

Here is the link to the download page

Hope you enjoy the lesson, please comment if you did 🙂

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

Success! You're on the list.

14 Tips For Your First Parent Teacher Conference – For Teachers

As a new teacher, parent-teacher conferences can be a bit intimidating. The first year is full of challenging new experiences, but they only help you grow as a teacher. A parent-teacher conference is another one of those experiences. With care, compassion, and proper planning, you can make these conferences go as smoothly as possible.

It is essential to effectively plan parent teacher conferences, especially if you lack experience. Considerations such as: Including positives, how to involve parents, allowing questions, student backgrounds, solutions to problems and follow up after will help conduct a successful parent teacher conference.

There are many more considerations and we address these in more detail in the article below. We also have other tips for all teachers but especially if you are starting out in a career in education here.

Consider Your Audience

1) Always include positives

Many new teachers are not parents, so it is hard to empathize with them at times. However, you can empathize with the way that parents feel about their children. You have someone in your life that you love more than any other. Imagine being in a conference with a caregiver, physician, or concerned friend. If every word you hear is negative, how would you begin to feel? Would you begin to feel that they were useless, bothersome, and a burden? Parents feel like this with their children. You may not have a child, but you do have a favorite person.

2) Be Aware of Demands on Others Time.

Considering your audience also requires understanding that while education is your entire day, parents have other responsibilities during school hours. Being late for a conference may be unintentional. Parents often have jobs or other children to care for, and though the child in your class is important, sometimes they get delayed. While your schedule is equally important, you must know what it’s like to have one of those days when you have a critical appointment, and things go wrong on your way.

3) Remember They are Parents Not Teachers

You are well-trained in education. The majority of parents have little to no experience in education. This lack of educational training does not mean that they are uneducated. You do not need to speak down to them, but try to remember that educationese may not be one of their fluent languages. Banking, nursing, and manufacturing are equally as unlikely to be areas of your expertise. Speak to them as equals, and explain and even better avoid educational jargon.

4) Include The Student If They Are Present.

Students have a variety of educational experiences. Some of these experiences are positive, and others are negative. After a few years, students start to have more of one or the other, which can certainly change the way you handle conferences. Invite students to attend and give feedback when possible. Students who take ownership of their education tend to do better. If they feel empowered, they can often speak up in times of trouble.

Students need support and encouragement, but they also need to understand that their actions have consequences, good and bad, and responsible for them. Students should also be challenged to do and try new things. While you should always be in charge of the conference, students can certainly participate and advocate for what they need from parents and teachers.

Prepare for the Parent Teacher Conference

5) Know the Backgrounds and Environments of your Students.

Learn about the students, parents, family and living arrangements. This suggestion is about more than just learning about their socioeconomic standing. Do they live with extended family due to health, culture, or emergent situations? Who is in their household? Are their cousins being raised as children because aunts or uncles are deceased? There are many things to consider about the student’s living situation that may be positive.

6) Show that you know more than just your students grades

Learn about the child’s likes and dislikes as well. First conferences with parents are awkward if you do not seem to know their child beyond academic statistics. Parents need to know that you are taking an active role in their child’s education and growth.

Make notes of things the child is doing well and things you want to work on with them. You need to have positive things to present to parents at a conference. If a parent feels that everything is negative, they will be far less likely to work with you. They will be more likely to work against you.

7) Prepare Solutions to Potential Problems you Highlight

Provide some solutions to challenges. Students sometimes have challenges, but telling a parent what those challenges are will not help the student. If you want to express concern about reading levels, math skills, or science skills, offer links to websites, books, or other resources they can use at home. Explain how parents can take active roles in their children’s progress and you will instill the feeling of working as team.

8) You Don’t have to Wait till a Conference.

Do not wait until conference time to introduce yourself to the parents. Try to send an email, postcard, or make a phone call early in the year. Tell the parents one great thing that happened with their child in recent weeks. If the child is challenging, be sure that you say something good sometimes whenever you make contact. You do not want to call every time for something negative.

During the Parent Teacher Conference

9) Always allow time for questions

It is important to allow parents to ask questions during the conference. If you can create a welcoming atmosphere it will put them at ease. It may be your first time but you will not be the only one feeling nervous so let the conversation be open and free just like you would in a classroom. Put up examples of good students work, or have a portfolio if you are not in your classroom. This is particularly useful if you have to show parents if there student is underperforming as you can highlight the good work in the class as well

10) Involve the parents

We mentioned it above but is an important point. and highlighted in both the resilient educator and Education week. Studies have shown that students who have active parent involvement in their education are likely to show not only improved improved results.

  • Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs;
  • Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits;
  • Attend school regularly;
  • Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school; and
  • Graduate and go on to postsecondary education” (Henderson & Mapp, 2002). Source

It is possible for teachers to involve parents in numerous ways. However, as we also mentioned above, it is important to remember parents are not teachers so there will have to be some support for them. Possible ways they could help and involve themselves in their students (and others) school life are as follows

  • Check if your school has progress reports and encourage parents to check and monitor them
  • Ask them if its possible to have set times for homework and you can assist them with a planner
  • If there are facilities for students to have extra time at school ( to help with parents who work late or are the only adult) make sure you inform parents of these
  • If there is a Teaching assistant or Parent program see if they want to get involved.
  • Have a selection of resources ready for your subject to give to parents.

11) What to do if there is conflict

It is possible, probable even, that some parents may not exactly be aware of how their students are behaving or performing in school. When you explain these issues, no matter how much you explain it professionally and diplomatically, it may be that you face defensive or even worse aggressive.

If you are faced with this then is better to politely conclude the meeting and arrange for another try later. If you are worried, especially if it is the first time, always ask for a senior teacher or member of the administration to be in the meeting. It is not a sign of failure it is a sign of professionalism.

After the Parent Teacher Conference

12) Open your doors

Open your “doors” to parents. Ask your students’ parents to call or email anytime. You can also allow visitors with open arms as often as possible. Most parents won’t stop by, but if they feel that the lines of communication are open, they are more likely to call or email when they are concerned. It also develops a rapport so if issues or situations do occur you have already built the foundations of a relationship.

13) Do some follow up afterwards

After the conference, and a well deserved rest!, it is good practice to send a message to parents both those who attended and those that didn’t. You can over some of the broader points of the feedback and how you plan to take parents thoughts on board as well. It allows parents to ask any questions they thought of after the meeting to address them now. It also Shows you are open to keeping lines of communication open for them as well.

14) Keep them involved

If you have access to the technology you can use apps like Seesaw and Class Dojo to maintain contact and show what is happening in your classrooms. They are lovely ways for parents to see the topics and progress their students are making. If you do use this try to make sure you showcase as many students as possible so they all get their moment in the sun.

Final Thoughts

Parents want what is best for their children. They know that education is beneficial for them, but they do not always know what to do to help. If you want to establish a positive relationship with them you have to be both diplomatic and honest. Some of the news must be positive. If the student is creative, be sure to compliment them on this, but also make sure that any problems are highlighted and bring solutions to the table as well.

Parents want to know that their children have talents in and out of the classroom. Prepare by getting to know the students and their families and open lines of communication. Care and compassion are hard to come by when there are concerns, but be sure that your students and parents are able to feel a little of that from you.

And congratulations on your first successful parent teacher conference!

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

What is Publc Search Engine – How To catagorize Posts

As content creators, websites and bloggers we are always looking for ways to present our articles and contents to people. Publc is a new search engine that aims to offer an alternative Google, Yahoo, Bing categorizing information online and puts it in the hands of the users instead. It also rewards them for doing so with tokens on the site. For publishers it offers another medium to display their content. We wrote a while ago an article on AdSense alternatives, this is one we could add to that article.

It is a new start up so early adopters should be pleased to be able to jump on and be among the first to participate, and it could also be quite lucrative. However if you want to make the most of this new platform you are going to have to make sure you learn how to categorize your posts as effectively as possible.

Categorizing posts on Publc requires careful navigation of the five options: Image choice, Categories, Topics, Sub Topics and Search Queries. Optimization of these options ensures that the search engine can accurately classify posts and present the most relevant information to users.

If you just want to know how to categorize your posts click here to jump to the guide.

What is Publc Web 3.0 Search Engine

The concept behind Publc is to offer alternatives to the traditional search engine model. Instead of publishers releasing content and hoping it fits current SEO models, now there is a way to format your own SEO priorities and to be rewarded in a way that negates the use of advertisements.

On Publc the content is categorized by users and the publishers of the content. Without a model of advertisements, as of yet, so it creates a level playing field. It hopes to allow content creators the chance to write without having to write for a google search engine but to actually write for people, no more keyword stuffing orSEO optimization it can now be categorized by the users and the creators who know their material the best.

It presents this information in the form of a feed for each individual user. So you can tailor the internet to suit your interests not what the search engine thinks you may be interested in.

You can check out an example page here.

There’s no need to play SEO games anymore; you can simply categorize your content by tagging it to its related topics and search terms that describe it the best.


Users Earn Publc while they browse

For both users and content creators is offers an entirely different model of browsing, instead of being a passive recipient of the information you put in you can now interact and engage with the search engine. users can categorize the content as they see fit. Adding topics and search terms that may be useful to others, and ones the original creator may have missed. For this there are rewards in the form of publc coin. ( and Ethereum token)

Publishers earn Publc for their content

FOr bloggers and websites by uploading content and having users engage with it will earn Publc tokens as well. each click generates a set amount that is divided between users, Publishers and the Publc team. How much this is ( and will be) worth in the future is an unknown but there are people making money for people reading their content and instead of spending money on advertising they are being ‘‘paid” for eyes they bring to the system.

Every time a user clicks and reads your content you are rewarded for it. Why? Because you should. Simple as that. 


How sustainable this is remains to be seen but as a start up it is a sea change in how publishers and users are rewarded. If successful it aims to put pressure on the traditional revenue models of advertising and affiliates

It can be accessed by referral links allow content to be shared and introducing people to the platform. You can copy your links and send them in newsletters, Facebook, Instagram etc to encourage people to view your content and engage with you on a new platform.

This links look like this, feel free to try it – it goes to my link as an example of course.

How to click through to Publc to earn tokens

  • Click the picture or link
  • It takes you to a Publc page and says do you want to reward Making English Fun. ( if you are not signed in)
  • You chose yes or no and then it takes you to that page.
  • All of this happens for referrals, if you are browsing the Publc site it is not needed.
  • However referral links do bring in traffic and i average about 40 a day.

How to Categorize Posts on Publc Search Engine.

To make sure you are using the platform effectively it is important to categorize your content correctly. There are guides for this on Publc, but as you are here we have our own photo guide below.

We have a few posts already caterorized

here is one as normal and here is one if you go through publc (if you use referral links that is)

After you have signed up either as a user or a Publisher you will need to load content on to Publc First if you intend n categorizing you own posts this will involve putting a header into your site to prove ownership. Once done you can upload content, or wait till Publc trawls your website for information.

Step 1: Chose an article to categorize from the uncategorized menu, chose the edit symbol to edit it.

Step 2: Select the best image you have for the post. the one that tells all users what the post is about.

Step 3: Chose the categories your post fits into, for me its really only Language and Parenting, but you have options to expand that in the next steps.

Step 4: Now you can ”niche down” and even add your own topics ( capitalize them!) add as many as you think are relevant here, and in the next step you can even add sub topics.

Step 5: Add subtopics, there will be suggestions for your post at this stage, but if you don’t see any you can add your own sub topics as well.

Step 6: Write in some search queries. Our suggestions is to cover broad and narrow ones here. You may find your self with little competition at the moment but the long the site is running the more that will change. I don’t expect my articles to be at the top of the teaching English page for ever, so i will add categories as I need to. You can look at the optimization tabs for this as well.

Step 7: Press the blue tick to send it off to the categorization queue. It usually takes a day or two to be approved and then you can start to share.

That’s it, that’s how to categorize your content on Publc. Now yo can share it, or wait for people to find it and watch the tokens role in.

Top tips For using the Publc Search Engine.

  • There is a plus sign at the top of the site on the right. We suggest adding 5/10 pieces of content to categorize so you can get used to the process and not wait for the search engine to find your content.
  • It takes a day for the tokens to go into you account
  • watch the tutorial video’s on the site more than once! there is a learning curve but its all pretty straight forward
  • The better you categorize the better you will do, the more you will earn.
  • Choose good images, this is important now and will be very important in the future we predict.
  • You can only withdraw your tokens once a month, and keep an eye on the price in the top right as well.

Good luck with it!!!

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

The Best Free Online Sentence Games

Sentences and sentence building are one of the most important skills in English. It is the move away from decoding words with phonics or the recognition of sounds and shows a move to actual communication. Some of the best ways to teach how to construct sentences are with games and activities. We highlight the best Free games to play online and in classrooms.

Sentence games successfully introduce both the initial concepts of sentence construction to young learners and extending that learning with more complex structures with older learners. Games like, Sentence Scramble, Sentence Bridge Builder and Trapped Sentences all help to cement sentence structures.

We also have articles on the best games for other English and Phonics subjects as well. These include:

We have researched some of the better sentence structure games out there for classrooms and homeschool to both introduce simple sentence construction and then to move on to practicing more complex sentences and punctuation.

Sentence Structure and Building Games

  • Making English Fun: Sentence Scramble
  • Making English Fun: Sentence Bridge Builder
  • Education.com: Sentence Builder Proper Nouns
  • Education.com: The Quest for the complete Sentence
  • BBC Bitesize: Small Town Heros
  • Roy The Zebra: Sentences that make sense
  • TopMarks: Trapped Sentences
  • Turtle Diary: Mad Sentences
  • Turtle Diary: Match the Phrase
  • Turtle Diary: Simple Sentences

Sentence Scramble Online GameMaking English Fun

Sentence Building online games

Yes we are going to be guilty of putting our two sentence games up here at the top, it is our site after all! However they are both actually pretty good for classroom use as well. This is actually our oldest game and has over 60000 Active downloads at the time of writing on the Apps stores so it does something right!

The sentence games are fairly simple, students have to press the words they want to swap and try to get the sentence in the correct order. We have three versions in this game, a picture version, a timed mode and a hint mode.

  • 3 versions of this scramble game
  • Starts with simple three word sentences and moves to six word sentences
  • Timed to add a little competition to the game.
  • Playable full screen on whiteboards and Computers

Sentence Bridge Builder – Making English Fun

This is one of our newer English learning games, hence the cute animals we put in it! This online sentence game is also free to play ( just click the link on the picture or below. It has two leveled games. The first missing word is the easier of the two and asks students to slide in the missing word to complete the sentence. We have made this so realistically there is one answer in each selection. The second ask students to rearrange the words to form the sentence. In both games it gets harder after 10 correct answers.

  • 2 Sentence construction games
  • Increases in difficultly as the game progresses
  • Free to play (forever)
  • Great for home computers and whiteboard / projectors in classrooms

Sentence Builder Proper NounsEducation.com

I had to put this game in for three main reasons.

  1. It is a free game ( we tried four times and it let us play without signing in!) which for education.com is a big deal
  2. It starts with the words ”the night is long, and full of terrors” and introduces Floyd Snow who wants to build a wall!
  3. It is good to teach Pronoun capitalization in a sentence structure.

This English sentence building game, and there are couple of other online sentence building games on the site that are quite good as well This is a is simple game and only 5 questions long. However the Game of Thrones and Wall references ae at least funny for teachers, hopefully the age group it is aimed at have no idea what it is talking about!

The Quest for Complete Sentences – Education.com

This sentence game, called Floyd Ranger, is loosely based on Indiana Jones, and with their new games Education.com is really upping their game ( excuse the pun) It is a little more complex so would be suited to older classrooms and students as it asked students to recognize the difference between full and fragments of sentences and categorize them.

It also has a complete the sentence level inside the game as well, with four options to chose from.

  • It is very engaging and very well made sentence structure game
  • Covers more complex language and sentence structures
  • Is free ( on education.com!)
  • Its game play is good for team games in classrooms.

Small Town Superheroes

The BBC have a tendency to make great English learning games, and this is no exception. It is actually a whole town of English learning games that lend themselves to both classroom and individual use. This game starts in a town so we will have to look for the sentences game ( its up the page and next to Ernie’s section ( you will see what I mean) However all other phonics and English games are really good here s well and you can get a good amount of lessons from this site.

The sentences game here is a rearrange the sentence game that put the character in a park and asks them to put the rules of the pack in the correct order.

  • Loads of other games on this site as well as sentences
  • Aimed at younger learners
  • Great graphics and story
  • Only 6 questions on this level

Sentences – Roy the Zebra

Roy the Zebra and his English games have been around for a good many years now. There games are pretty basic by todays standards but fulfil a need if you are in a classroom. This one is more focused on comprehension and error checking. it gives a choice of sentences to the students and they have to decide which one is the correct one to progress. A simple sentence game, and if this what you are looking for, effective as well.

  • Simple and effective
  • Looks at comprehension and attention to detail
  • Other games on the site as well
  • Quite a short game, not really much replay value.

Trapped Sentences – TopMarks

I really like this sentence game, it is very well made very engaging and very easy to play. It is on the Top Marks site but has Bite Size on it so I am not sure if it used to be a BBC game or not. It is beautifully illustrated especially the introductions. The game starts off with an animations explaining you have to answer the questions to get out of the tower.

This sentence game is split into two sections a spot the correct sentence game and a sentence building game. Definitely take the time to look at this one it is great in your classroom. It is easy to work out how to play and suites a home computer or a whiteboard.

  • Beautifully designed sentence game
  • 2 sentence games inside
  • A little short on questions
  • A sure hit in the classroom.

NOTE: the following three games from turtle Diary are all hosted on FLASH. This became obsolete in December 2020 so although it works now ( January 2020) it may or may not become unstable in the future.

Mad Sentences – Turtle Diary

Not so much of a sentence game as an potential exercise for class or home. It has five columns with 3 pictures and options in each. It is a little like Mad Libs so the result can be a little weird or funny. It could be used as a reading exercise and played with the class with each students choosing a tile and then having to read it once completed.

As a writing exercise you could then have them either write the sentences down or play it in pairs and write then down. It would also be possible to use this as a matching oral exercise and have students find the correct picture as other students say them.

Match the PhraseTurtle Diary

This is a sentence matching game. It also tests comprehension as they have to read the options and try to work out which ones are likely to go together. It is more suited to older or higher level students as it is not a simple exercise.

However it is useful and effective at introducing and practicing more complex longer sentences and can be used individually or in groups.

  • This is a Flash game so be aware it may have problems later on some browsers.
  • More suited for higher levels as sentences are quite complex
  • Can be used in class or at home
  • There are many more games on Turtle Diary as well (Flash though)

Simple Sentences – Turtle Diary

A great sentence game for younger learners that asks them to put the simple sentences in the correct order. it has a few levels so could be used at home or as a team game in the classroom. A good way to show how sentences are formed and constructed for beginners of English.

  • Sentences start simple
  • Nice and professional looking
  • Is on Flash so might be unstable in some browsers
  • Large enough to play at home as well.


Sentence games, and any other, are a useful tool in a classroom. They can motivate students and encourage participation in lessons. Although they shouldn’t be the sole method of instruction they will add to your teachers toolkit. We have researched a whole list of online games, and made some here in house as well. We have those listed both at the top and below if you need some ideas for CVC, Vowels, Digraphs and Syllables.

What To Do When Phonics Doesn’t Work

What To Do When Phonics Doesn’t Work

Phonics is the method of associating the sounds of letters, and groups of letters, with the symbols or words that they make. While phonics is a tried and true method of learning to read, every child learns differently, which means that phonics does not work well for every student. So what do you do if phonics does not work?

Methods such as whole language instruction, balanced literacy, and Native Instruction are alternatives to phonics and may prove successful for many children who struggle with phonics systems. Allowing the students to learn words in context by using pictures, motivation and expression all can improve literacy.

If students are having difficulties learning to read and write using phonics systems, they are not alone. Many students struggle to learn how to read and write using phonics.

There are alternative methods available that have been proven to work for many children who do not respond well to phonics.

So let’s take a look at why phonics is such a popular teaching strategy, why it may not be the right method for every student, as well as some alternatives to the phonics methods.

Why Is Teaching Phonics So Popular?

Phonics is a popular learning strategy for teaching children to read and write largely because it incorporates a wide variety of methods and learning styles that have been proven to help many learners from different backgrounds and languages.

Phonics is a very straight-forward method of learning, as it associates letters, letter groups, and shapes within words with specific sounds that constitute spoken words and syllables. We have hundreds of resources on phonics in your resources section here.

Phonics is an effective learning method for most students, as it causes them to take their time and internalize words, sounds, and syllables before even speaking the full word out loud. The time that it takes to sound out a word using phonics gives the student time to process and remember the sounds and words that they are verbalizing.

However even if using a phonics methods of instruction it is important to remember that there are many ways to teach the same material and students are not all the same, learning styles motivations can all differ. Tailoring your lessons to fit these styles will be way more beneficial to both the students and the outcomes!

Why Would Phonics Not Work?

Phonics is a method that requires every student who uses it to learn in a similar way. (styles and presentation aside) Phonics works very well for many students and should not be discounted from the possible learning strategies for any pupil, but there are reasons why phonics does not work well or does not work at all for other students.

Some of these reasons include:

  • The student has a dominant learning style that is not conducive to learning to read using phonics strategies.
  • The student has not been exposed to much literature or reading opportunities before entering school.
  • The student has some form of Dyslexia, mild or serious that prevents them from progressing using the phonics strategies.

Dominant Learning Styles That are Non-Conducive To Phonics

The three main learning styles that are not conducive to learning to read using phonics are auditory, visual, and physical learning styles.

  • If a student is more adept as an auditory learner, they may struggle to identify the shapes of letters or letter groups in order to associate them with specific sounds or words. Sounding the words out using phonics may seem like the right approach for an auditory learner, but the broken-up sounds may not help these students progress well.
  • Visual learners do not respond well to auditory or tactile cues, and for this reason, phonics may not work well for them. These students require visual aids and cues to associate with letters, sounds, and words.
  • Physical or kinesthetic learners may struggle with phonics because of the lack of physical stimulation and physical shapes. Their motivation may suffer as a result.

Inexperience With Reading

If a student has not had much exposure to reading before entering a phonics-based syllabus, they may have difficulty piecing together the various sounds and verbalizations that phonics employs. The actual concept may be difficult for them and it would be very important to spend time going through pre reading skills with them prior to phonics.

Of course be sure they are at the correct developmental age to actually start phonics instruction as well. We have more on this in our what age to teach phonics post here.

Students With Dyslexia

Students with Dyslexia are certainly able to learn to read, but phonics may not be the best strategy for them in the beginning stages.

Someone who has Dyslexia will not make shape, letter, or word associations in the same way as a person who does not have Dyslexia. This means that an alternative approach must be taken to help these students learn to read and write well.

These students require a whole language instruction method to help them progress, learning to read words as a whole, as opposed to the normal practice of breaking them up into parts and then repeating them to solidify the identification of the words.

Phonics strategies will not work for a student with Dyslexia in the beginning stages of learning to read but may become helpful as the student progresses. Always seek help from speech and language therapist if you suspect or have students with dyslexia in your lessons, they will have multiple tips and resources for you to help make learning more successful. There is a lot more information here on learning strategies and dyslexia.

How Do We Teach Without Phonics?

Alternative methods for English learning are critical for the educational development of many children. To teach without using phonics, the first step is to identify the reason why the student is not responding or progressing well with the phonics-based learning systems.

Identifying these underlying reasons will allow you to find the right methods and take the necessary steps to help the student progress.

Next, familiarize yourself with some of the alternative methods and strategies, such as whole language instruction, balanced approach and native / natural instruction as well as other appropriate strategies based on the requirements of your students.

Whole language instruction

  • Methods such as whole language instruction encourage the student to learn entire words, memorize them, and repeat them. This method relies heavily on a student’s grasp of context, sentence structure, and their ability to absorb and retain information.
  • Whole Language seeks out topics of interest for the students and takes focus away form sounds , or individual word tuition and looks to the sentence to decode meaning.
  • There is limited importance on accurate spelling, and more importance on allowing the children to express themselves as they want.
  • If the student learns very well from context, then the whole language instruction method is the way to help them learn. It is not so much of method as a philosophy.

Balanced Approach

This is increasingly hard to pin down into a definitive explanation. As the Reading hub states it can mean multiple things to different teachers however in essence. It aims to offer elements of different approaches. So it is likely a teacher following this balanced approach will be using elements of whole language methods and phonics instruction. It would be difficult to argue against combining the best of all styles, but care should be taken to not just add confusion to the mix if the methods contradict earn other.

Multiple Intelligence / Learning Styles Adaptations

As we mentioned Learning Styles play a large part in how students react and relate to materials and methods. As far as possible we should be trying to hit as many of these styles as we can over the course of our teaching. The more we can the more engaged all of our students will be.

  • For example, encourage visual learners to read everything around them – road signs, labels on toys or packaging, recipes, posters – encourage them to look for things to read in the world around them.
  • Associate colors and pictures with letters and sounds, use visual aids to teach them entire words. Pictures of animals and places are great options for this, teaching the learner a variety of sounds and words quickly in an easy to associate way.
  • Physical learners can benefit from having tactile interactions while learning to read or by having physical objects to use to manipulate or look at to help them associate words and letters.
  • Magnetic letters to spell out words, blocks with letters on them, or simply letting the student draw letters and write words themselves are all great ways to help physical learners progress in reading and writing.

Dyslexia Adaptations

  • Children with Dyslexia will require more attention and specialized learning methods depending on the severity of their condition.
  • Whole language and whole word-learning strategies, along with many repetitions, can be effective methods for helping these students learn how to read well.
  • These students need to learn to make their own associations with the shapes of words and individual letters, so let them go at their own pace, encouraging them to seek out words that they recognize and building upon them with associated words.
  • With these methods, students with Dyslexia have an opportunity to learn to read and write without any long-term hindrances.


I always wondered, though not to much as I don’t really want to see the answer, of where the phrase the are many ways to skin a cat came from. However we can offer an alternative, and much better visually image!, there are many ways to teach a child.

To most teachers this will not be enlightening news, we are constantly trying, tweaking, twisting our teaching methods to fit the students in our classes. What works one year may not work the next. Phonics is new, educationally speaking as 40 years in education can be regarded as recent!!. We have had great success with it, but we have not had 100% success with it, we always have to look to see if our students are coping and understanding and adapt.

If a student does not progress well, or at all, with reading and writing skills using the phonics methods, that does not mean that they will not learn to read or write well or that they are a slow learner; it simply means that they require a different method of learning to succeed.

All children learn differently in some way or another. It is important to identify the learning style of the student before deciding on the right learning method for them. Take the time to understand the learning style of the student, identifying their strengths and requirements, and structure their learning program accordingly. They will progress and they will succeed.









How to Teach CVC Words to Children with activities and games.

CVC Words are your children’s first step into becoming an independent reader. They are the next step on from the initial sounds and the step before digraphs and long vowel sounds. This step is a big one as it means they have started to understand the difference between English sounds and are starting to experiment with putting them together to make units of sounds, and then actual words.

Ensuring that young learners have mastered single Phonetic sounds prior to attempting CVC words will maximize success rates. Using varied activities and approaches will achieve the best results. Games, activities, songs, rhymes and chants as well as online CVC games all engage and motivate students.

Lets take a look at what CVC words are, When students are ready to learn them, why it is important and then we will offer some of the best ways we have found to teach CVC Words both in your homes and your classrooms. We have freebies and premium items all through the post to help.

IF you know all of this you can jump right to the activities by following the link here. There are 10 here and we have plenty more on the site for free and in the shop for a few dollars.

What are CVC words

CVC words are some of the simplest phonetic words in English. We do have smaller words like a, at, in , on, go etc. but for teaching purposes I prefer to give students more options to make words and simple sentences and CVC words can do this. They are simply words that begin with a consonant followed by a short vowel sound and then end with a consonant. They are simple as they always are made like this and contain no other phonics rules. This is why we start with these for emergent readers. We have some examples below to get you started.

Examples of CVC words

Short Vowel ”a” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”e” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”i” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”o” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”u’ CVC Words

When Should You Teach CVC Words to Children

Teaching these first words is not something you can just just into with your children, there are skills to learn and steps to follow first. When, as in what age this should happen you can read about here as there are some important issues to consider first. However before teaching CVC word construction to your children it is important that they are aware of short vowel sounds, and some consonant sounds. The more of these consonant sounds they can learn the better so they can have a greater range of words to construct.

There are phonics systems that work with this aim in mind specifically. Jolly Phonics for example teaching the sounds in a specific order.

Jolly Phonics Phonics Sounds Order.

  • s, a, t, i, p, n
  • c, k r, h, r, m, d
  • g, o, u, l, f, b
  • ai, j, oa, ie, ee, or
  • z, w, ng, v, oo, oo
  • y, x, ch, sh, th, th
  • qu, ou, oi, ue, er, ar

As you can see the first set give students the chance to sound out CVC words, sat, pin, pat, tap, pit, sit, map, sap and more. They can do this from an early stage.

If they are not quite ready to put three sounds together then it is perfectly fine to try using two. We actually have a name for these. They are called onset and rime, or minimal pairs. the onset being the first sound and the rime being the short vowel and the consonant. (be aware a minimal pair is a word that has one sound changed so the list above included longer words as well) If you practice these small words it wont be long till they are ready to take on the larger CVC words.

Why are CVC words important?

Such small words, but never judge anything from its size! These words are the stepping stone for students to be able to decode and construct phonics words. With their simple and repetitive structure they are the perfect opportunity for emergent readers to proactive blending those individual sounds into actual words. Now i know this sounds easy, but it is a huge jump for them and provides real evidence of progress. No longer are they parroting sounds, but now they are applying a skill to a problem and finding a solution. This is awesome and of all things I teach in the classroom the teaching of my students to decode words like this is my favorite. It shows me they are learning and applying skills and not just vocabulary!

Of all things I teach in the classroom the teaching of my students to decode words is my favorite. It shows me they are actually learning and applying Phonics skills!

MArc Ford

Activities to Teach CVC Words

There are hundreds of ways to teach CVC words, and we have resources all over our site to help both teachers and parents. We will highlight some of those here, and point to other resources as well. As there are so many we also have a post of the best ones we use and have found but here we will list two of ours under each section. .

1) CVC Worksheets

The traditional Phonics worksheet, there are certainly more fun ways to teach and test students knowledge of CVC words but sometimes to consolidate knowledge we just need them. We have hundreds, and hundreds of CVC, and other, phonics worksheets on our site. Two that we use the most are the CVC Word Families selection and our coloring worksheets.

CVC Word Families Worksheets
CVC Worksheet

We actually have these worksheets in two sets of five for both CVC words and for Digraphs. They have five activities on each worksheet to help with recognition and with blending. You can see them here for free download of for a dollar on the shop if you want to change them a little.

CVC and Short Vowel coloring
Free Short Vowel Colouring CVC Phonics worksheets

This is a coloring sheet with a difference. Your children have to find all the CVC words ( by their short vowel sound) and color the correct color. All the animals in the picture have the same short vowel sound in them as you can see. So fox has short /o/ words and cat has short /a/ words. This is great way to start to look at vowel sounds. For the background we have even added words with long vowels if you want to approach those with your children as well. There is a single version of the picture for free, and if you want the big coloring page and the five individual animals so you can work on the sounds individually it is you can click the picture above

2) CVC Printable Board Games

Board games are a great way to allow children to both learn and practice phonics and CVC decoding. It takes the pressure off working in a whole class environment and allows them to interact and practice language with their friends or classmates. We have two examples of our below for you to check out.

Soundopoly Phonics and CVC Words Board Games
Phonics board game

We made this to add some fun into learning. It is based on a monopoly type game where you have to go around the board and gain points ( instead of money) by saying the words when you land on them. We actually have three versions of this and (for the moment) have it editable in the shop as well. The three versions are CVC Words and CCVC words (more on those later) and onset and rimes for learners who are not quite ready to tackle CVC words.

You can get it free by clicking the picture, or check out the paid version if you want to support (and edit the gameboard) here.

Connect Four CVC Words and Board Games
Connect Four Phonics

The CVC Words Connect Four game is one of our most popular games. Perfect for homes and classrooms and it actually has five versions of the game, each covering a different phonics skills, Sounds, Onset and rime, CVC words, Magic E and more. You can play with one students or as a pair. You just have to role a dice, find and say the word and cover it up in your color. First to get four in a row is the winner! Our students love to play this and we keep it as a recess game to play as well.

It is free to download if you click the picture and there is a premium (editable version) in the shop as well.

3) CVC Online Games

Word Hop and Pop

We have this game online for classrooms and computers. It is actually two games in one and covers more than just CVC words. However for listening exercises it is great. children just have to listen to the sound of the word and jump to the correct cloud. They have to race against the other 2 birds to be the winner. We have it on our site and it is free to play 🙂 Just click here or the picture. If you want to take a look we have a video of it here.

CVC Blitz

This is an older game but really popular in kindergarten and grade one. It is three games in one. A matching game to help with vocabulary, a scramble game to help with spelling and a quiz ( turn the volume up though) You can play the CVC word game by clicking here or on the picture. We even have a video to check out here.

4) CVC Word Activities and Resources.

These are our collections to help emergent readers. We have 7 of these but these two are the best suited to teaching and practicing CVC and Short Vowel words and sounds. We have put together the best of our resources in one huge workbook each has over 50 worksheets, games and activities. This is the definitive guide for both parents and classrooms and we are confident it will be a great resource for you and your children on their reading journey.

CVC Phonics Reading Skills – Sounds and CVC Words
Phonics and reading skills Workbook

This Phonics and CVC Workbook offers students the chance to practice using multi intelligence methods and includes  a large selection of CVC activities  to help practice and master blending of simple words and phrases. We have also included the option to color some of these pages to help children and students take ownership of them.

Reading Comprehension Kindergarten to Grade 1 – Short Stories
Kindergarten comprehension readers

Phonics and Topic themed readers designed for younger readers. We include a large selection of CVC readers to help practice and master blending of simple words and phrases. It also moves on to simple topics like parties, space and dinosaurs. We have also included the option to color some of these pages to help children and students take ownership of them.

Though these cost 8.99 each we actually have an ongoing offer of buy one get one for 1 dollar! so you can get both together for 9.99 instead.

Just check here for that!

5) CVC Flash cards

These are easily downloadable, but easier to get worn out, we sue to make our own every year and use them in the class. However there are great and cheap options now, with the added bonus of having little games and activities included in them. These are a selection of ones we recommend and then two that we have in our classroom.

CVC Toolbox

This is actually a game and flashcards. However it is one of the few that actually teaching word blending and allows students to actually get their hands involved in construction words. We have a couple of sets of these in the classroom and they are very popular, including at break time!

Three letter word puzzles.

These are the ones we were talking about above. We used to make these but they get worn out through the course of the year so we invested in some more robust ones. The student has to listen to the word and then try to match the sounds with picture and spell the CVC word correctly. This set actually covers more than just CVC and has words like Bee in it so has a little more longevity than other sets.

6) CVC Classroom Resources (and for home)

CVC Generator and Maker.

This is a great resource for testing and checking your children’s CVC and decoding knowledge, and the best thing is it is free and without adverts. (its ours) we have it online so you can use it on computer in your home or at the front of the class on the white board. It is Super Simple so suitable even for very young learners.

All you do is press the green button and the app goes through and makes a CVC word. We have made sure it can ONLY make CVC words, then the student tried to blend the sounds together to say the word. It has really and nonsense words in there so you can really know if they are using their memory or skills to say the word. We use this in our classrooms all the time, and 500,000 other people around the word use it as well.

CVC Word Bingo
Phonics Bingo

How can we not include a game of bingo! These are free sets of 16 different bingo cards for you to play at home or with your class. Great to test both their listening and reading skills and of course you can have little treats for the winners as well! We actually have four sets of these on the site as well. covering Magic E and Sounds as well. so if you want to move forward or need to go back to sounds we have you covered.

Just need to download here and print.

Final Thoughts

As we mentioned teaching students to use these reading skills is our favorite thing to do in the school year. They show real progress and start to understand that they can actually use their skills rather than rely on a teacher to be the source of information. Its their first step into a wider world and its great to watch them take it. The resources above will help but we have hundreds more on the site so feel free to explore with your children and find activities games and tasks that work for you.

Enjoy the journey!

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

Meta Cognition Activities and Reading Comprehension

Meta cognition Activities

Teaching any reading strategy takes practice, and all offer benefits to students . The metacognition reading comprehension strategy is spectacular at teaching students to use the knowledge and skills from the other six reading comprehension strategies to evaluate and assess their own learning.

Metacognition and evaluating skills can be taught using many traditional classroom activities, mill drills, idea boards, Why, What, Where and time capsule activities are all relatively easily adapted to enable teachers to teach and practice meta cognition and evaluating skills with their students.

It is important to know what meta cognition is and I always prefer my definitions In the simplest terms!

Meta cognition is thinking about thinking.


Ok it might need a little more explanation that that, we have a (large article) here on the 7 reading comprehension strategies here that goes deeper if you need, and if you want the theory behind this here are a good selection of books covering reading comprehension strategies here. However Meta cognition in a teaching context is our attempt to give our students the skills they need to evaluate their work, their thinking and their learning. If we can give them the self awareness to know what works for them, wheat they can do to improve and progress we have have instilled in them skills for life long learning. Now that is something worth pursuing! We have a reading strategies workbook in our shop if you are looking for some printable resources on all seven reading strategies.

Now Meta Cognition tends to draw elements of the other six reading comprehension strategies into its sphere and so designing specific activities to teach, introduce and assess it can be slightly problematic. We have listed five below that we have used in classrooms, and linked to more in case this selection doesn’t work for you. Which ever you use, these strategies are the tip of the sword in skills teaching and if you are here considering how to give them to your students you are already winning as a teacher!

Four Activities to Teach Metacognition

1) Think, Pair, Share Activities for Meta Cognition

Think pair share is a collaborative discussion strategy that can with work with primary to university age students.

  • Teachers pose a question and asks the students to think about it for a few minutes.
  • Then you pair, or small group the students so they can discuss their thoughts with each other and you can monitor / keep on track
  • Then return to a whole class activity and ask the class to share any ideas or information they learnt from themselves and their classmates.
  • You can of course allow students to write down their and their partners thoughts as well.

Using it for Meta Cognition in English Teaching

We are an English teaching website so indulge me when I use an example form English lessons. I have used this after completing the reading of a book or chapter. ( of any level). I am in control of the questions so i can steer in any direction I like. It can be questions on motivation, how the reading relates to their lives, what would they do, what was the chapter about, where there any parts they didn’t understand, what can they do to help them understand.

and you can start to see that any and all reading strategies can be practiced with this activity. They get the chance to think first, then share with a friend / partner before risk taking and sharing with the whole class. This is a good way to introduce complex topics in particular as it allows them to take the time to get their thoughts in order before presenting them.

2) Thought Time Capsule / Write a letter to yourself

There are a few versions of this activity. the examples I have seen focus on writing a letter to future students about what they should think about if embarking on the course. We do it a slightly different way. We use a time capsule (a large empty water bottle!) and ask students at the beginning of the year to write a letter to themselves at the end of the year, term, semester, This letter should include questions they have, what they want and what they think they will learn. The pop it in an envelope and put it in the bottle, which we can then seal up and put somewhere. (I wouldn’t bury it though!) Then a year after they can ”receive their letter” and answer their own questions with the knowledge they now have.

Classroom Time Capsule

How to do

  • At the start of the year have your students write about what they think they will learn, what will be difficult, what questions would they like to be answered etc.
  • Put all the letters in a large water bottle ( empty!) and seal it up for the end of the year.
  • Now at the end of the year, open up and deliver the letter to the student. (you could mix this up if you wanted as well)
  • Students now have to think about what they learnt, what they felt was important, tips for their past self and reply to the letter. They have the opportunity to reflect and evaluate their own learning and put it into a real purpose.
  • They can offer advice on what strategies worked for them, and it brings to the forefront how that individual student thinks and learns and actually encourages them to put it in writing for the future.

We love doing this, it firmly includes a beginning and end to their learning for the year.

3) Post it Up

Sticky note CHallenge

Also known as the sticky note challenge this activity is nice, simple and resource light. It can be used to encourage students to reflect on their learning, and how they learnt and requires little set up. It is useful to use it after sections of work so they can carry and develop their knowledge and skills from one task to the next.

  • Set up board / walls with headings ( these heading can be anything you like but if Meta Cognition / evaluating I would use the following or similar)
  • What i learnt – what skills did i use – what could i do better and why- what was difficult and why- What would i change and why – What was easy – why.
  • Then give a number of Post It Notes to students, you can do this individually or in groups, and ask them to look at the headings
  • They have to think of at least one for each heading and then stick it on that board.
  • Take a photo / save the board at the end.

This is great for quick and targeted reflection activities. Therefore it is better to do it while the task is still fresh in students minds. It allows them to keep asking themselves these questions through out the year, and makes sure the skills are both being used, and given meaning throughout the year.

4) Meta Cognition in a Primary Classroom.

Although the ideas above can be scaffolded to suit many levels of learners (and we have done) it is more difficult to gauge what level to aim for if working in Primary or Grade School classrooms. One way of doing is is for the teacher to be the model of thinking for the students, and one study in particular demonstrates this very well. I will summarize this ( another reading strategy!) here but STRONGLY recommend you head over and take a look. It includes lesson plans that are easily adaptable for other resources and books.

Fun English LEssons

Interactive Read Aloud Activity For Metacognition.

  • This is a Read Along, story telling that enables students to interact as the story is being told and and as a result they are able to develop thinking and comprehension skills.
  • By being activity involved they can start to process the information with things they already know, things they think will happen and why ( prediction)
  • The teacher can model questions or Think aloud, during the reading, questions about motivation, if it relates to their lives, summaries and visualizations. Doing this will allow students to experience what they can do do expand their own understanding of texts.
  • All reading strategies can be modeled lie this, including Meta Cognition. After finishing the book the teacher can model evaluation techniques, what they learnt from the books, or I didn’t understand that so i better go back and re read etc.

Check out the full lesson and explanation from the University of Indiana here.

Final Thoughts

Reading Strategies and Comprehension Strategies are the skills that you can give your students to enable them to progress on their own with out you. As sad as this may seem, it is every teachers aim, to be able to pass on not only knowledge but skills on how to use it and how they can acquire and create more. These are higher order thinking skill but not a ”higher year” task and can be introduced from a very early age. The four activities in this article have been used very successfully, and f course averagely successfully – we are teachers after all!, in classrooms all over the world. Help your students learn more about how they think and learn is the greatest gift we can give them as a teachers and sets them up for a word where knowledge is everywhere but the skills to use judge, use and analyze it are sorely lacking.

Further Reading and Sources

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

How to Make English Lessons More Fun

Fun English lessons

Countless studies have shown. that children, and for that matter adults, learn more effectively when they are enjoying themselves. This is true across every subject and English is no different. It is also perhaps the most cross-curricular lessons we could learn! Although not mentioned as much teachers also perform better when they are having fun as well. There is nothign but a little creatively stopping us all making our lessons more enjoyable for ourselves and our students. So ditch the flash cards and lets spend 20 minutes making our next lesson both more enjoyable and more effective for both our students and ourselves!.

Making English lessons enjoyable for students is beneficial on a number of levels. It can be achieved by introducing new and dynamic activities, considering their interests when planning, addressing multiple intelligences and learning styles and differentiating both the instruction and assessment methods.

We have links to games and activities you can try through out the article so look out for them, but lets look at some of the theory behind this as well.

Consider Your Students Interests

Fun English LEssons

Students learn better by connecting their interests to classes. If you are teaching English as a second language, do not alienate students who are from different cultures. Connect the lessons to their native tongue. If you are teaching native English speakers, you want the work to be authentic. Making up sentences and having students diagram them is not as effective as having them create the sentences themselves. Let students think about the topics that are of interest to them so that they can analyze their sentences and responses rather than someone else’s.

Pick topics that are relevant to them, from Dinosaurs to K-POP and incorporate it into lessons activities. Utilizing projects and project work allows them to take ownership of their own work and not merely reproduce a text book task. Motivation goes along way to improving work quality with young learners and by giving them the freedom to express their language on topics they enjoy you will get more than the typical ”write and email to a fictional cousin in Canada” task that has been done for years and years.

Follow the little and often approach and if you are the homeroom or classroom teacher why not run daily writing activities but short and sweet. We put and example in the table below which could be used as personal writing or even reproduced, privacy allowing, as a huge A week in our class display piece for your class.

Monday MusingsTuesday TalksWaffle WednesdayThursdays ThoughtsFriday Chat
On Monday, write about anything you have been wondering about. Write a short paragraph exploring their thoughts, wonderings, and expectations. This might be something academic they are having trouble with, or it might be something they have just been thinking about doing.Write about a conversation they have had in the past week. What made the conversation unique or special? How might you have handled it differently? Students can use conversations from class or their personal lives.Report on something wonderful that has happened in the past week. This will make the students have to think about positive things as well as the way they phrase things.On Thursdays, consider the things you are thankful for having or experiencing. This will make students think about their personal lives and what they are thankful for having. This might be something in the classroom, home, or for older students, work.On Thursdays, consider the things you are thankful for having or experiencing. This will make students think about their personal lives and what they are thankful for having. This might be something in the classroom, home, or for older students, work.

Using Movement And Dance In An English Classroom.

English Fun Lessons

Some students are kinesthetic learners. If you try to make them sit and listen for long periods, they will not retain the information. Movement can help students retain information more thoroughly. Sometimes, movement can increase heart rate and oxygen intake. This can help some students make better cognitive connections and of course its FUN.

There are hundreds, and I mean Hundreds of songs for classrooms and plenty of these are more than suitable for English lessons. From the polished and professional like GoNoodle to the Glorified PowerPoints and 1970s party songs, but no less effective, songs and movement are a great way to inject a little fun into classrooms.

There are also plenty of action and movement games you can use, the Action Alphabet is a great way to get children moving and teach phonics for example, but moving is not just for kindergarten and games like mill drills and speaking activities are great for adding a little movement into classrooms. We have a free download and article on Speaking games that has many MANY free games and activities that include movement. Check it out.

Let Students Talk to Each Other.

Student interaction can do more to teach English than merely lecturing and regurgitating information. One of the first things they teach teachers is to watch our Teacher Talk. ( we can go on and on and on!) Working with peers can be beneficial to students. One of the best ways for children to learn to speak is by speaking to children at or above their level. Consider a child who requires speech therapy. While he or she spends time with the therapist outside or in the classroom, the strongest students are taught how to interact with their peers.

Again we have activities on this on the link in the section above, but some of the better activities are our logic game ( make sure you understand it first! and our directions games.) Which involve the whole class walking about and talking to each other to fulfil a shared aim. However the yes no game (number 8 in the pack above) is my absolute favorite for both fun, thinking and effectiveness. If you try only one try that one.


EDtech in English

Introduce technology to help students with written English. You might choose to let your students read articles on websites like CNN, the BBC, or local news sources. You might also introduce social media that can be used only in the classroom. Edmodo, Bloomz, Class Dojo, and other platforms are often used for classroom communication. Educational technology can be invaluable for helping students learn English, and it takes the monotony out of the traditional English classroom.

And in case you thought we forgot, yes there are games, English is one area that seems to be doing reasonably well with the number of games out there. Again we have a large number of articles on online games, we mainly choose the free ones, that help both teach English and of course use fun to do so. We even make our own free online English Games which are hosted on the site and on Apple and Android.

The suggestions on those pages should make any lesson more fun!


Games in classroom

Play games in the classroom. You can use word games and other “logical” English class games, but you can also get creative. Twenty Questions is a great game to let students think about the words and phrases that they use to ask questions and what those responses are to ask more questions. Another game could involve rolling dice to create a story. There are actually sets of these on Amazon that we use called Rory’s story cubes. If using numbered dice, make a different part of speech correlate to a different number. Ask students to create a sentence using at least three parts of speech from the roll of the dice. It must be a complete sentence, so they may need to add more parts of speech to create it.

We have games here too, printable and downloadable if you need. They can be played alone or in teams. You can re purpose classic board games to teach English as well. We cover that here and these are some of the ones we use at home and in classrooms

Final Thoughts

Get creative. Let students work with each other, use their interests, and play games to develop their English skills. Learning by worksheets and rote memorization does not allow students the opportunity to explore the use of language. The more they have authentic practice and experiences, the more the lessons will be retained. Let your students have authentic experiences more than teacher created ones.

We are called Making English Fun, and that’s what we do! Check out the rest of the site for many more options.

Recap of the article

  • Try to find and and use your students interests
  • Try to use multiple intelligences and learning styles to motivate as many students as possible
  • Look at varying your teaching, spreading it out over the week.
  • When appropriate consider using movement songs and even dancing.
  • Let students interact with each other, less teacher talk.
  • use both games and technology where it fits in your lessons.


The importance of games in an ESL classroom – Research gate

The effectiveness of games for educational purposes – Sagepub

The effectiveness of using games in English Language for the primary stage – Eric

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

What Age Should You Start Teaching Phonics

Age to teach phonics

With Phonics increasingly being a mainstay of reading instruction it can be difficult to judge when is the best time to start phonics instruction with your children. As each year passes there seems to be more and more tips, tricks, advice and strategies to make sure your child has a head start. Phonics is important, I think so too, but with the rush to give our children an advantage are we in fact doing this opposite?

It is possible to introduce phonics teaching to children between ages 4 and 5. However phonics instruction is more reliant on the developmental stage of children. If a child knows of the names and shapes of English (alphabetic awareness) it is more likely they can process the different phonetic sounds.

However it is important to remember that while there is not a set age where children should be able to learn phonics, there are certainly right and wrong ways to introduce it. In many instances it is not how early you start but instead how effective you teach that will determine how successful you are in teaching phonics to your children. We have resources and workbooks to help you both for free and in our shop.

Kindergarten reading skills

So while there is no straightforward answer for what age children should start learning phonics. Creating a base for developing readers begins with reading to children. Phonics can be taught from the time parents start reading with their children. It may seem counterintuitive, but your child will begin to understand words and sounds from the very beginning. Children listen to songs with rhymes, mimic sounds and words, and learn to emphasize sounds. While this may not scream phonics education to many people, word and sound associations are the beginning of phonological awareness and phonics education.

What Skills Are Needed Before Phonics?

As we have already discussed, phonics is not as effective without phonological awareness. While your young child may not be familiar with letters yet, beginning phonological awareness can start as soon as reading begins. You can begin to emphasize rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration in stories. These skills are essential to phonics. Phonics is essentially a study of sound, so understanding sounds is vital.

These skills can, and mostly are, taught just by being a parent. Speaking, singing, reading with your children reinforces the aspect of language and sound relationships. We have a larger article on how to teach pre reading skills here that covers these skills in more detail. However in summary:

  • Instill a love of reading: read with your children often, show your enthusiasm for it.
  • Use their oral language during reading. Allow your children to retell a story, or predict what happens next.
  • Allow them to control the books, how to hold where to read from etc.
  • Sing songs – these introduce rhyming skills and fun into reading.

Why Start with Prereaders?

Why teach phonics before children even learn to read? It can seem counterproductive to begin teaching phonics to children before they begin to read for themselves, but much of phonics involves understanding sounds, rhyme, and relationships. While your two- or three-year-old may not understand letter sounds yet, he or she can learn to speak and listen for important sounds. Mind Champs notes, “Phonological awareness is learnt through singing, rhyming, and dividing words into individual sounds.”[1]

Teaching phonics does not begin with letter graphemes and their phonological sounds. On the contrary, it begins when children learn to hear and mimic onomatopoeia, rhyme, and alliteration. Children must interact with the sounds of words before being able to interact with the phonics of letter representation.

Phonological awareness is the base for phonetics education. Once children have gained the phonological awareness they need, you can begin teaching them phonics in a formal setting. Parents and teachers can take active roles in teaching phonics to children.

What Phonics to Teach First?

What phonics to teach first?

The first step in teaching phonics, and spelling actually, is teaching children the letter names. Without understanding the letter names, children will not be able to connect sounds and graphemes. Parents and teachers can work with children equally to teach letter names. One of the best places to start may be the child’s own name, as children know the pronunciation of their names and can connect the written letters of their name, as well. They have seen their names written on their cubby in childcare settings, on bookbags, or clothing. This tactic can introduce children to the beginnings of the world of phonics.

As a teacher in Grade 1 I would be happy if my students came in knowing that letters are sounds, and groups of letters can be different sounds, however if that isnt the case I and they are perfectly able to tach and learn this together. I sart with single sounds, move on to putting two together as a minimual pair (at, it, ot, ut, et) and then seeing if we can jump to CVC words.

If this doesn’t work or is two advanced I go back to individual sounds and work from there. One commonly used order of phonics, and the one we use in our online games, is the SATIPN order. Jolly Phonics use this as well. It give the children and students a set of sounds that enables them to make words very early on and therefore gives purpose to their learning as well.

The most important thing to do, however, is to teach phonics holistically. Begin with natural reading to your child or students. Focus on wordplay. As the child gets older, introduce letter shapes and sounds followed by sight words and exceptions to rules.

Keep Teaching Past the Basic Phonics Rules

Often, phonics instruction is limited when it should be expanded. Classrooms often skip phonological awareness and strictly teach phonics as the phonemes and graphemes and their association. However, the best programs not only start with phonological awareness, but they also continue with phonics beyond phonemes and graphemes. Developing an understanding of sight words, word patterns, and exceptions should also be of the highest priority.

What Age Should You Not Teach Phonics?

Despite the article above there is a case to be made with slowing down formal instruction and embracing a whole language approach during early years before drilling down into phonics instruction. I would agree, to an extent with this, I never advocate teaching phonics in isolation or for extended periods of time. Little, often and varied offers a much better approach. Decoding and phonics skills require a pretty high level of cognitive ability that just may not be present yet in younger learners. There should be a recognition that it may work for some students and not for others and the one size fits all approach that Education departments first tell us is wrong and then imposes on schools and teachers is outdated at best.

This shows that educators trying to do too much at an early stage can have the opposite effect of what they’re aiming for.

Jan Dubiel

That’s why, right at the beginning of this article, we mentioned that phonics should really not have a use by date at all but in fact should be a progressions from pre reading and print skills that need to come before it. You can read about those pre reading skills here

Final Thoughts

Phonics instruction begins with phonological awareness. This instruction can begin when you begin reading and interacting with children and words. Singing, rhyming, and alliteration build a strong foundation for phonics. Phonics then extends into preschool and early elementary school, but it does not end there. Phonics skills can be utilized far beyond early reading. There is no magic age to begin teaching phonics, but you should begin fostering phonological awareness as early but at an appropriate time as possible. 

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

What Reading Level Should a Kindergartener Be At?

All though school years literacy and reading levels have great importance placed on them within education. A reading level assess what students are comfortably able to read and comprehend. For parents and teachers to have access to this knowledge allows them to choose, and help students choose, texts and reading material that is suitable for them.

A kindergartner should be at a reading level between 1 and 6. Higher reading levels indicate that they’re near the top of the range, Lower or pre reading levels at this age should not be of major concern as there is both significant time and strategies available for them to improve these levels.

In this article, you’ll also learn the following information about what reading levels and the levels a kindergartner should on average be at:

  • The differing systems that assess reading levels
  • Strategies, tips and advice to help Kindergarteners improve their reading skills
  • reading skills and phonetics they will learn during their kindergarten years
  • Links to level appropriate resources that have been designed by teachers

Kindergarten reading levels may feel like an urgent top-priority item, but it is not quite as big of a deal as it seems. Literacy is vital to children’s learning, but because children develop at different speeds they will also begin to read at different times. Children who have been in preschool or childcare classes are sometimes far ahead of children who spent their first years at home with mom. On the contrary, some stay at home parents know the importance of prereading skills and teach them at home. The parents who do not teach these skills are often unaware of how to develop these skills; they are not ignoring vital education.

Reading Levels Quickly Explained

There are several different measures of reading proficiency. There are dozens of programs that level readers for children. There are four levels, however, that are generally used in the classroom. Your school can tell you how to score the program you are using and how they differ from these programs if they use a different plan.

  • Reading Recovery levels generally go 0-60, .
  • DRA is also a popular program; it is generally scored from A-1 to 80.
  • Lexile scores range from BR, which means beginning reader up to 1360.
  • Flesch Reading Levels
  • PM Benchmark

How Can I Tell What Level My Student Is?

Teachers will assess student reading through a variety of tasks. If you are a homeschooling parent, your curriculum should be able to assist in leveling your child. However, most level 1-3 books have one line on each page, will contain simple sight words or CVC words that are easily decodable and the all the words are relatively simple. If they are not able to read most of these books with little to no help, they may not be ready to advance.

What Reading Skills They Will Learn in Kindergarten

In kindergarten emphasis should, but isn’t necessarily, placed on phonics and initial sounds. While similar to first grade there should be story telling and retelling between students and teachers, it is very useful to start to teach students the sounds of English as well.

According to Education.com, a Kindergartener will, at the end of the year be able to recognize letter sound relationships and even upper and lower case letters. This is the start of phonics instruction, if kindergarteners can have a good grasp of the sounds of English by first grade they will be ahead of the curve. We have plenty of resources to help with this here on the site.

Sight words, which are words that are learnt by sight not phonetically (for the most part) and often comprise of the most frequent words in English. It is best to start with the first 100 or so and then work upwards.

Print recognition and text familiarity will be taught in kindergarten. This means students will learn to distinguish letters from words and the direction that text goes.

Although the focus will be on reading and phonic skills there is also comprehension skills to be addressed. Kindergartners will learn and be able to explain character motivators and start to be able to relate these to their own lives. As they progress they will then go on to reading comprehension skills. These will come much later though.

Comprehension is key to student engagement. If you can open up the adventures and wonder that a good books offers to students they will engage much much faster. Kindergarten is a great place to start this journey.

What are pre reading skills

How Can I Help?

There are many things parents and teachers can do to help individuals improve their guided reading level. For starters, the more a child experiences texts, the better their reading skills will become. Read with your child and spend time letting them tell the story. Phonics falls in and out of fashion, but phonics, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness all support reading and writing skills. When you are concerned about a child’s interaction with the text, explore their phonological awareness and phonics skills. Introduce texts at each level and work closely with your child or class with reading those words. At least thirty minutes of reading time a day is recommended. This time can be spent reading books on their levels, or you can read to them, but you need to ensure that they interact with the text.

Here are some pointers in the right direction to help.

  • Choose some material that your students and children are interested in. Even better if you learn a little about the levels we mentioned above you can creatively guide them to choose their own reading books and allow them to start to develop some autonomy with their readings as well. We have some leveled reading material aimed at young learners here.
  • Offer rewards and praise when suitable. Set aside time to read with your children, and make it engaging and something special. Parent children time is a precious resource and sharing a book together is a great way to spend it.
  • Reading skills can be taught with more than books: Take a look at some alternatives to books, (of course still sue them!)Try card and board games or paper activities as well. We have a selection of these also on the site and in workbooks.

Who Do I Seek for Help?

If you think that your child has a problem with reading development, you can ask for testing with educational professionals. The first thing you should do is request intervention for your child. Work with his or her classroom teacher to find out what they are seeing and if they are comfortable with the progress your child is making. In addition, you can seek testing through other professionals, but you may be responsible for the costs.

Most children will improve their skills over time and catch up


Final Thoughts

Children develop at different rates. This means that their reading level may also develop differently. You do not need to worry too much if your kindergartener is making progress but slightly behind. Most children will improve their skills over time and catch up. If they are significantly behind at the end of second grade, this may be cause for concern. Monitor your child’s progress. If they seem to be slowing down or stagnant, seek help from educational professionals.

Here is a recap of the information:

  • Kindergartners usually are between a 1 to 6 reading level DRA Reading scale.
  • There are multiple different reading leveling systems but all are fairly similar.
  • You can help your children by reading with them and sounding out simple words using phonics
  • Find activities games and resources as well as books to engage and give them a love of reading.
  • Let them choose books that interest them but are of a suitable reading level.

Sources and Further Reading

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children