The Best Free Online Action Verb Games

Best online action verbs games

Action Verbs are great fun to teach to all ages of English learners, especially younger learners. Although there are hundreds of way to teach them to both native and second language students. One of these ways is by using online action verb games.

These can be useful both in the classroom and the home and are great to add an element of interactivity into your lessons. We teach these in Kindergarten and Grade 1 in both native and ESL / Second language classrooms all over the world.

One of the most effective ways of teaching action verbs if unable to use physical activities is to use some practice and consolidation online action verb games. All of these are free to play and they are suitable for both younger and older students.

Using multi pronged teaching methods helps to motivate and engage multiple learning styles. We have a selection of hard resources to print through this article as well. From physical games to worksheets and tasks. you can find these where ever you see a link.

If you are looking for Worksheets or activities for adjectives or anything English related we have hundreds for free and in the shop n the site. Just follow the links for details.

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

Online Action Verb Games Games

The following online Action Verb games are reviewed and linked to below. To access them you can click the title, the picture or the button to take you to the game and the hosting site! Hope they are useful and happy teaching!

All of these have been tested by teachers and are working. None are Flash (or if they are are, they are still working!)

  • Kid Heroes Verbs – Room Recess
  • Action Verb Match – ESL Games Plus
  • Monkey Action Verbs – ESL Games Plus
  • Picture the Verb – Turtle Diary
  • Space Verbs – ESL Games Plus
  • Action Verb Board Game – Freddiesville
  • Action Verbs Sound Match – British Council
  • Balloon Verbs – Soft schools
  • Ice Cream Action Verbs – ABCya

Kid Heroes Verbs – Room Recess.

THe BEst Online Action Verb Games

This game is awesome. It is a proper students friendly game, with an outcome and engaging gameplay. Credit to Room Recess for another great game. It is not solely a Verbs game and actually has options for nouns, verbs or a combination of the two.

Although not strictly an action verb game, most of the the verbs are Action words. This games focus is on tenses and use of irregular verbs. Although this may be tricky for absolute beginners or lower level ESL for all others it should be a great teaching and practice resource.

It is quite addictive and i got to round 22 before I died, so if you have some students who are really good at English see if they can beat that! However it took me a couple of goes till I realized you can upgrade your characters between each round as well

The game play has more to it than normal point and press game for classrooms so i will explain a little here.

  • Students have to find the correct word tense to complete the sentence
  • If they do so they can choose from three characters to fight the incoming monster. These are an Archer, Warrior and a healer.
  • They drag and drop the character onto the line and answer another question, it is actually trickier than it sounds but there is enough time to answer maybe 8 or so questions
  • So how they place and how they choose their characters does actually matter
  • Should they defeat the monster then they can progress to the next level


  • Great gameplay, definitely will have students askign to play again
  • Uses Tenses for verbs so can be used for more than just verb recognition
  • Has verb use in context, not just single words
  • Multi levelled so can be used for longer than a 5 minute quick consolidation.

Action Verb Match – ESL Games Plus

Best action verb games

A simple picture matching game from ESL games Plus, who have three on this list. It is just pictures and no sound so is a reading and matching task for students that needs them to remember where pictures are.

Thee type of games are a basic extension of a PowerPoint game, but if you have whiteboards or other interactive media then you can use this as a front of class activity and get the whole class involved.

The words on this list are all action verbs, so it can be paired with other activities or work, like the activities and task we have in our articles and on our worksheets. (links included)


  • Simple and easy to use
  • Suitable to use as a whole class activity
  • Replayable and could use as end of lesson activity to clam class down.
  • Lots of other games on this site

Monkey Action Verbs – ESL Games Plus

Best online action verb games

This sentence construction and Action Verb game, again from ESL Games Plus uses both nouns and verbs to encourage the student to make complete sentences.

It is a little more complex that the ESL Plus game above so would be suited for levels above beginner. However with scafollding and support could also be used to introduce simple sentence structure.

It is good to see games that show the verb is use rather than just recognition of the word ”as a verb” although there are some of those on the lists as well.


  • Uses Verbs in context, which is a nice touch
  • Mainly Action Verbs in the game
  • No Spoken words so is a reading exercise solely
  • Simple enough for whole class teaching

Picture the Verb – Turtle Diary

Turtle Diary used to have a huge amount of games but it is having some trouble with the compatibility of flash and browsers. These are the list of all their verb games, but they are only a couple that work. One of which is this game we highlight here.

It is super simple, including the platform game next to it. All students have to do is choose the correct sentence that describes the picture. That’s it, if they are correct the small character then walks and climbs up the levels to the end.

With this pretty limited gameplay it is realistically suitable for only very low levels and maybe kindergarten children. If you need an introduction to verbs then this will work for a quick interactive action verb game.


  • Very short and simple game
  • Suitable for introduction to verbs
  • Good site but Flash games need updating
  • Aimed at K123 Levels of English.

Note about Turtle Diary.

It is worth bookmarking this site. They have (had) loads of really good games hosted there. However the January 2021 Adobe Flash issue has made a lot unplayable. They are working through them but understandably it will take some time. The two i have linked to above both work and are examples of what they can do when they get round to update their games.

Hopefully, for teachers everywhere, they can do this fairly quickly. You can see there were over 15 adjective games just on this one site!, so its worth checking back to see how they are getting on.

Space Verbs – ESL Games Plus

One of the newer style games from ESL Games Plus. It is another picture to word matching exercise but this includes spoken versions as well so it can be used for listening practice as well as reading.

THe aim is to collect all the bones in space ( why not) and help the Sapcedog. Students do this by answering the questions and choosing the correct action verb.

Although the game play is fairly straightforward the visuals of this online action verb game are pretty good and will keep children entertained during the lesson. This is the third online verb game from ESL games Plus.

  • Very well made Graphics. Looks the part
  • Uses verbs in sentences to add context
  • Long enough to be useful and short enough to be a good part of a lesson
  • Can be used as a full lesson resource and plenty of opportunity for follow up activities

Action Verb Board Game – Freddiesville

best online action verbs games

This actually looks like a ESL games resource but is hosted on another website. This online action verb game is a roll the dice board game style. Students roll the dice and have to answer the question / fill in the missing word to progress.

Although billed as an Action Verb game it actually seems to be more of a vocabulary recognition game for some of the play through. However, teachers could use the sentence structures to spot the verb, or to ask the students to spot the difference between the verbs and nouns.


  • A video game hosted on YouTube
  • Good for encouraging writing as well as verbal answers
  • Can play as a whole class and even make it the main part of a lesson.
  • Only really good to use one time

Action Verbs Sound Match – British Council

Although this online action verb game is another match the word with the picture game. It is from the british council, so it comes with a little extra teachign sauce.

THis one has the option of beingboth a listening exercise or a reading exercise. On each of the matching words there is a speaker whcih when pressed will read the word out for students.

We much prefer this extra level of detail in the games as it offers more flexibility and more use for teachers to get the most out of the resources on offer.

Other than than this is a typical matching game for students.

  • Simple and effective
  • Has spoken and reading options
  • Quite quick to play through
  • Good for a quick check of understanding

Balloon Verbs – Soft schools

BEst Action Verbs Games

As promised here is a spot the verb online game. This is from Soft Schools. It asks students to pop as many balloons as they can that have verbs ( in various tense forms)

That’s all there is to it really It keeps a running score of those correct, incorrect and any missed verbs. As a consolidation exercise this will be quite useful, but it would be better suited to classrooms rather than a send home game for lockdowns or similar.

  • Super quick and super simple
  • Better suited for Classrooms than homes
  • not much replay value
  • Easy for younger learners to grasp

Ice Cream Action Verbs – ABCya

BEst free online Action Verbs

THis is a nice little game to finish on. ABC ya have a paywall surround some of their content so its ncie to find this high quality free action verbs online game on there.

Students ahve to spot the verb in the sentence and click on it. If they are correct then their monkey gets the scoop of acecream. If they are incorrect then the monster gets it. The aim is to get to 10 scoops beore the monster!

it is a nice and simple, nice and effective and a nice and free online action verbs game. .

Students must read the sentence and then tick the word that is an adjective. Nothing more to it than that. It works, its easy to teach and its free. Not a lot more we can ask for!


  • Simple and quick game
  • Asks students to identify the verbs in the sentence
  • From a great English online games provider.
  • Well made and can serve as both a long or short activity.

Final Thoughts.

Action verbs (and of course verbs) are a mainstay of all languages. So fairly obviously they are introduced very early on with songs, action games and formal lessons. All of which we have on the site. However technology marches forward and some (certainly not all) of these games and tasks translate pretty well onto the computer.

Students automatically prick up their ears when teachers start using technology in the classroom. So using Free Online Action Verb games as part of your teacher toolkit should always attract attention and encourage encouragement.

Although they will never replace physical activities for the teaching of action verbs (which in our opinion is the best way to introduce verbs at least in present tense to both older and younger learners) However they will appeal to students and can be used to solidify what other teaching methods have introduced.

Hopefully the nine or so we have introduced above will help you in your classrooms or teaching environments. We also have other top lists of other English Topics and Phonics above if you need them. Just click here to go back to the top of the page and find them.

The more diverse and alternative approaches you can take with education, especially in todays technological world, the more chances you have for both maintaining students interest and for making sure the information sticks!

Online games are certainly one way to help achieve that aim

Do English Teachers Actually Read Essays?

There is nearly no way to answer this question definitively as it will depend on the individual teacher. While there will always be teachers at one end of the spectrum or the other, teachers will read essays as they see fit. Most teachers do at least look over most essays.

Although the majority of teachers do read through their students work, there will be definite variation on how detailed this evaluation is. What aspects a teacher focusses on will depend on the subject, however students should aim to produce their best work and not just hope it receives a cursory glance.

What Do Professors Look for When Reading Papers?

The purpose of the essay has a lot to do with what the instructor is seeking. For instance, if the purpose is to practice a new skill, such as subject-verb agreement, the professor may be looking for improvements in sentence structure rather than content.

However, if the same teacher is seeking content such as a report on the fall of Ancient Rome or the life of Adolph Hitler and the point is your research and analyzation skills, then they may absolutely be checking for every single part of the required essay.

Does It Depend On the Subject If Teachers Read Papers

Your English or writing instructor is more likely to read all parts of an essay than others might be. The English instructor is often looking for citation style, writing skills, and research skills.

However, the psychology instructor might be more focused on content than whether or not you misplaced a comma. However, this does not mean that the psychology instructor does not care about grammar or structure and a science teacher may look for your grasp of key concepts rather than the grammar or language use.

However, even if English is not your first language, you should always make as much effort as possible. Often a percentage of grades and marks are reserved for style and presentation and language will be part of this.

What About Plagiarism?

If they aren’t reading my entire paper, can they really tell if I plagiarized? Plagiarism comes in many forms. Sometimes, papers contain more source information than analysis and interpretation. How can a teacher determine what you have learned about a topic if none of the information comes from your mind? Overuse of source material is a red flag.

Likewise, source material that is poorly paraphrased or summarized is also a red flag. In an English course, your teacher is looking for the skills you have gained. Paraphrasing is more than changing word by word. You need to use your own words, not a thesaurus. Students who use a thesaurus often choose odd words to replace other words.

If you have no in-text citations but do have a Works Cited or Reference page, this is also a red-flag. These flags are obvious when grading. I have often sent papers back to students to ensure that they use in-text and citation pages because I need to know what statements are facts and what is analysis. I can quickly scan for parenthetical citations.

Most of these things are easy to catch just by glancing. Teachers sometimes do a quick scan before reading the paper. It’s easier just to scan and then read papers that are not off-topic or plagiarized.

Why Will Teachers Pay More Attention To Some Work More Than Others.

The key here is to remember who is reading your work. Your teacher will have likely done this hundreds of times. Where some papers may not need to be gone through with a fine tooth comb, others will have alarm bells ringing with experienced teachers.

Its not just red flags that will make a teacher take deeper looks into students work of course! When work is exceptional it will be noticed and teachers will go through it in more detail to look for examples to show the class and to hold up as good practice for other teachers!

How Do I Know If My Teacher Will Read My Essay?

The short answer is that you do not know which teachers will or will not read my essay. Since most teachers at least partially read your essay, you will want to do as good of a job on your essays as possible.

Some teachers may appear to be lax or lazy, but that does not mean that they do not have a purpose in assigning things. Often, teachers assign essays to demonstrate skills learned throughout the semester, term, or year. You, too, should want to ensure that you have learned these skills. Your next class may depend on them.

Why Should I Do a Good Job?

You might think that if teachers don’t read closely, you shouldn’t do a good job. However, many of these skills are not about learning for a classroom. Good communication and writing skills are crucial in the real world as well.

You may see poor writing skills on social media, but poorly written business documents, applications, or letters give people poor impressions. Even when applying to places like Burger King for an after-school job, you should write clearly and carefully.

Misspelled business names and poorly written explanations in applications can prevent you from getting a job. Once you seek higher-level positions (management in retail or fast food) or professional positions, the stakes get higher.

Likewise, if your teacher this year doesn’t read essays, that doesn’t mean the next one will not. If you don’t practice the skills, you will not get better at them. Next year, semester, or term, you will not be prepared to do the work expected by the next teacher.

No teacher wants to hear, “but my last teacher didn’t…” Do your best on all assignments because you are practicing skills.

Finally, you never know when a teacher will suddenly leave or take a leave of absence. If you are in the middle of the essay, you may suddenly get an instructor who is a stickler for these papers. You will need to be prepared to perform at the higher standard.

Key Features of a Great Essay

The essay is a common form of academic writing. A great essay must have an introduction, body and conclusion.

  • The introduction should grab the attention of the reader with a compelling statement that links to the rest of the paper.
    The body paragraph should include specific information about your topic and contain at least three points that support your thesis statement.
  • The first point should be related to your thesis statement while subsequent points can expand on this or present new ideas not mentioned in previous paragraphs.
  • The final sentence of each paragraph should make a strong concluding point for readers who may have skimmed over some parts of the document during their reading process.
  • A good conclusion will summarize everything you’ve said in previous paragraphs and offer one final thought about how what you’re saying relates

Final Thoughts

Most teachers do read the papers they assign their students. No teacher wants to go through the process of designing a detailed assignment and then just ignoring it. Many essays require a long process of writing, editing, and rewriting.

Teachers get invested in the success of their students and want to see that work pay off. If you are a high school student, these skills can help you write a spectacular college entry essay or scholarship essay. As a college student, these essays are designed to prepare you for critical thinking and researching information for yourself.

They also assist you in creating stellar application materials when you are ready to graduate. No matter what level your education is, good communication skills are vital. Do a great job and assume your teacher is reading.

The Best Free Online Adjective Games

Best free Online Adjective games

Adjectives are a great English subject to teach to all levels of English learners. Although there are many ways to teach these using Online adjective games both in the classroom and the home is great to add an element of interactivity into the lesson. We teach these in Kindergarten and Grade 1 in both native and ESL / Second language classrooms all over the world.

One of the most effective ways of teaching in groups is to use some of the excellent practice and consolidation online adjective games that there are on the internet. The majority of these are free to play. They are available for both younger and older students.

Using multi pronged teaching methods helps to motivate and engage multiple learning styles. We have a selection of hard resources to print through this article as well. From physical games to worksheets and tasks. you can find these where ever you see a link.

However this is mainly concerning online adjective games so here are our top 8 online adjective games that we use on in our classrooms. These are all free and importantly not flash ( which has been discontinued.) Bookmark us if you often use online games in your classrooms as these will be added to on a regular basis.

If you are looking for Worksheets or activities for adjectives or anything English related we have hundreds for free and in the shop n the site. Just follow the links for details.

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

Online Adjective Games

The following onlineAdjective games are reviewed and linked to below. To access them you can click the title, the picture or the button to take you to the game and the hosting site! Hope they are useful and happy teaching!

All of these have been tested by teachers and are working. None are Flash (or if they are are, they are still working!)

  • Adjective Race 2 Versions: Turtle Diary
  • Fastest Adjective Game: MES English
  • Spider Adjectives – Shepard Software
  • Book Adjectives – Scootle.Edu
  • Baking Adjectives – ESL Games Plus
  • Grammar Gorillas – Fun Brain
  • Adjective Drag – Big Brown Bear
  • Adjective Quizzes – Learning Apps
  • Order of Adjectives: English Club

Adjective Race – Turtle Diary

This is a lovely well animated online adjective game which tests students listening, reading and grammar skills. There are actually two similar games on this site. Students have to race aroudn the track pressing the correct word to highlight the adjective.

In the first game its within a sentence and in the second game it is stand alone. We have linked to both online adjective games on the buttons below.

Both games work well and take about a minute to play through and it is timed so if you wanted to enter and element of competition in your classroom you have the option. It has a mix of adjectives so could be suitable for all levels of English.

It is not Flash so it works in browsers, though lots of games on that site are ( they are working on that – see the note below). Great for the middle and end of lessons as a little bit of constructive fun.


  • Lots of questions so the game has some meat to it
  • Allows an element of timed competition to the activity
  • Is well made and has two options – adjective in sentences and adjectives on their own.
  • Has good replay value so good for home and classrooms.

Note about Turtle Diary.

It is worth bookmarking this site. They have (had) loads of really good games hosted there. However the January 2021 Adobe Flash issue has made a lot unplayable. They are working through them but understandably it will take some time. The two i have linked to above both work and are examples of what they can do when they get round to update their games.

Hopefully, for teachers everywhere, they can do this fairly quickly. You can see there were over 15 adjective games just on this one site!, so its worth checking back to see how they are getting on.

Fastest Adjective Game: MES English

I love the idea of this online adjectives game. It is an online version of snap the card game ( well kind of) It takes a little time to get the hang of but is both simple and quite a cool idea.

Students have to press the hand and listen to the description, and then drag the green hand to the correct picture before the red hand can get there. It is actually a little tricky!

It is a listening game and you have to reasonably quick so if you have a large and noisy classroom then it might not be that easy to run effectively, but with smaller groups, or quieter groups at least it will be a lot of fun.


  • Nice idea for gameplay adding the element of speed
  • Adjectives are mainly of appearance
  • Listening only, not reading or writing in the game (visual and aural learners)
  • MES have similar games across multiple subjects on their site.
  • There is also a selection of other browser games covering adjectives on the site.

Spider Adjectives – Shepard Software

Adjective online game

I was really pleased to find this a year or so ago. It is a really really simple ”find the adjective game” but adding in spiders just keep the class engaged! It works perfectly in our classrooms!

Students have to feed the spider that displays the adjective, there will only be one on each round, and the game lasts about 15 or 16 questions long. A great online adjective game for school and home. Not everything has to be all bells and whistles and we really like the simplicity of this one.


  • Super Simple and super quick to load (school internet is never the fastest)
  • Long enough for a good 10-15 minute activity
  • Free to play, no paywall or similar.
  • Has the gross out factor that will appeal to younger students!

Book Adjectives – Scootle.Edu

Online Adjective games

This is an awesome idea. This shows how to use both nouns and adjectives in context and allows students to add more in depth meaning to texts by changing nouns and adjectives in a pre written story. The story is about a girl encountering a sea monster.

Students, as you can see from the picture above, have to choose from a list of more suitable nouns and adjectives to make the story more scary and detailed. They also as a final task have to choose a more suitable image that illustrates the words.

It is great to see an activity that has more depth than most online English games. This site and activity can be used as a basis for loads of different lessons. There is also the option of printing the book and giving it to the students or maybe keeping it in the classroom as a reading resource.

The also have a great sentence scramble with aminated adjectives as well that’s well worth checking out.

  • Very well made Online adjective resource
  • Covers nouns and adjectives to help learn the difference
  • Students get to practice adjectives in context
  • Can be used as a full lesson resources and plenty of opportunity for follow up activities

Baking Adjectives – ESL Games Plus

Online adjective games

ESL Games as some great games on vocabulary and grammar on their site. This online adjective game covers an English subject the others games on here do not.

This game asks students to spell the adjective after reading the sentence. It does give clues on some of the larger word so it can still be used with beginner English students.

So this will also test their sentence comprehension as well as their knowledge of adjectives. Making it a more balanced game, however the game play is a little slow so you will need more than 5 minutes to lay through this game to the end.


  • A video game hosted on YouTube
  • Good for encouraging writing as well as verbal answers
  • Can play as a whole class and even make it the main part of a lesson.
  • Only really good to use one time

Grammar Gorillas – Fun Brain

online adjective games

This is not so much an online adjective game as a full grammar term game. It asks students to recognize adverbs, adjectives, nouns, pronouns, verbs and more in a series of sentences. There is an easier of the two versions that asks just noun and verb questions, but the main one covers all words classes in English.

This makes it more suitable for intermediate or advanced English learners, at least the second version of the game. It is quite basic and straightforward to use, and although not a solely adjective activity it is useful to test if your children and students are learning the difference between grammar terms and if they can recognize them in sentences.

  • Simple and effective
  • Covers all word types in English including Adjectives
  • Quick and Easy to use
  • Good for a quick check of understanding

Adjective Drag – Big Brown Bear

Online adjective activity

A Quick and Easy consolidation exercise. It covers nouns, verbs and adjectives. It also levels up the words by grade level so it can be used across classes.

It would be a useful few minutes at the end of the lessons or as a quick text for students. There is not much gameplay other than a drag and drop exercise but its does the job and will be useful as a double check for understanding.

  • Super quick and super simple
  • not much replay value
  • Easy for younger learners to grasp

Adjective Quizzes – Learning Apps

We finish this list with a nice and simple quiz, well 20 of them actually! They all follow a simialr pattern.

Students must read the sentence and then tick the word that is an adjective. Nothing more to it than that. It works, its easy to teach and its free. Not a lot more we can ask for!


  • 20 different Adjective quizzes mean lots of questions for large classes.
  • Easy to teach and use
  • Loads of similar type games on the site to access.

Order of Adjectives: English Club

order of adjectives online game

One of the few games we have seen that aims to teach the order of adjectives! Students have to arrange the sentences in the correct order, this is definitely aimed at more advanced students and is more complex.

We have a full teachers note section on the order of adjectives here which will help both your students and you, if you need a little reminder. We also have adjective resources here to download

Final Thoughts

Adjectives in all their forms are a very common site throughout the English language. They are a great addition to even a beginning learners of English vocabulary as they encourage meaning and purpose in sentences. We have included a couple of games more suited to older learners, though we usually find that they are also perfectly happy to jump in on the games for younger learners as well.

Of course there are many ways to teach adjectives, we have worksheets, games and more on the site which are linked to here and above. However a great way to introduce and consolidate adjectives for students is to use online adjectives games in both classrooms and homes.

The more diverse and alternative approaches you can take with education, especially in todays technological world, the more chances you have for both maintaining students interest and for making sure the information sticks! Online games are certainly one way to help achieve that aim

The Best Free Online Syllable Games

One of the more advanced reading skills, after students have mastered sound blending, digraphs and long vowels, is the use of syllables. These are a tricky concept not least because of word stress and syllable stress. However before any student gets to this stage they have to learn what are syllables.

Teaching Syllables using online games is another tool in an English teacher’s toolkit. It adds a more interactive element to lessons and homework. Effective online Syllable games incorporate both syllable recognition and construction exercises allowing students to practice and consolidate these skills.

Learning how to teach syllables will open up a whole world of reading for your students, it allows them to develop skills to tackle longer and more complex vocabulary. They will spend less time trying to decode words and instead start to move from learning to read to reading to learn.

It really is one of my favorite things to teach to see the progress they make in just a few short lessons. How ever there does need to be a little thought in presenting this so students can maximize their use. We have articles covering how to teach syllables on the site and we also have plenty of resources to print, read and use here as well.

This article will focus on one aspect of teaching this tricky but important English skill. We have linked throughout to our printable resources and games, but this article will highlight the best of the Online Syllable games we have found, used and can recommend to other parents and teachers.

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

Online Syllable Games

The following online syllable games are detailed and linked to below. You can click the title, the picture or the button to take you to the game and the hosting site! Hope they are useful and happy teaching!

All of these have been tested by teachers and are working. None are Flash (or if they are are, they are still working!)

  • Vocabulary Spelling City: Silly Bulls Online Game
  • Making English Fun: Word Hop and Pop
  • Abcya: AlphaBats: Online Syllable Game
  • Floyd Danger Syllable Game
  • Room Recess: Bunny Hop Syllables
  • Syllable Quiz / Count the Syllables
  • iPad Saucer Syllables
  • Room Recess: Syllable Slurp

Silly Bulls – Vocabulary Spelling City

This is a lovely well animated online syllable game that asked students to both listen and read word up to four syllables and categorize it in the correct part of the barn. It is a nice touch to have the speech reading these as well, which means it could be sent home and played by students.

It also has topics and choices for teachers to choose from. These range from words with 1 to 5 syllables and you can choose whichever is suitable for your students.


  • Great animation and gameplay for students on their own or in classrooms
  • 5 different levels to choose from
  • Can’t add your own words, or choose beyond these 5 lists.
  • Playable full screen on whiteboards and Computers

Word Hop and Pop – Making English Fun

This is our most popular FREE online phonics Game. It actually has two games, a listening and matching game that covers 8 Phonics subjects. The other game asks students, younger ages are more suited, to match the word with the floating words. Although this a full spectrum phonics game it also has two online syllable games inside it.

This really is a Full English Phonics game in One App! , ABC, Phonics, Blends, Magic E and Sight words. ABC , CVC, Vowel, English Blends, Magic E, Syllables and sight words all wrapped up in one easy to use English Word and phonics game. This is great for playing on your own or on a white board for your class.

The syllables game is one both panda pop and Birdy hop with Birdy hop including the word being spoken and then students having to recognize which word to jump to by both listening and reading the words on the could. We have a Video demo of this here.


  • 8 versions of 2 phonics games.
  • Syllables jumping game and matching games included
  • Free to play (forever)
  • Great for home computers and whiteboard / projectors in classrooms

Alphabats – ABCYA

ABCYA make great games, and although they hide some behind a paywall, this online syllable game we found, and use for free. It is more tricky than the two previous games. This game asks students to look, read and/or listen to a word that has the same number of syllables than the bat on the top branch. Not as easy as it looks!

The game is not that long but achieves its aim. Students get to think about how syllables make words. There is also a collect the fireflies game at the end they have put in just for fun.


  • A different type of count the syllable game asking students to match words by syllable count.
  • Cute graphics
  • Limited game play, will work for a classroom activity more than a play at home one.
  • Not flash, so still works!!

Floyd Danger – make some lovely games, and although there is a sign in requirement for the two on this page you can play for free a couple of times so if you are doing it for your class it should be ok.

This online syllable game is similar to a sentence game they have on their site, the students has to run and collect coins until they get to a wall. on the wall there are 3 words. They have to cut the words into their syllables. This is a nice touch as it actually gets students thinking about the sounds in each syllable. This will help with both spelling and reading.

Sometimes it is difficult to help students understand how to make a syllable ( always a vowel sound inside) and this is one that can help to teach that concept.

  • It is very engaging and very well made syllable game
  • If you want to play more than a couple of times it will require a subscription
  • Great visuals for students
  • Its game play is good for team games in classrooms.
  • It gets students thinking about how to make a syllable.

Bunny Syllables – Room Recess

This game is a little basic looking but works well. It is designed in the same was as an old platform game like Mario Bros or similar. The student simply has to hop around and collect the eggs that match the number of syllables in the displayed word.

It has multiple levels and you can choose if you want 1-2 syllables or 1-4 which extends the age ranges or ability levels this can be used for with out the students being aware they may be playing something different to others in the class.


  • Loads of other games on this site as well as sentences
  • Aimed at younger learners
  • Real, though basic, gameplay
  • plenty of content in the game. will last a good few play throughs.

Count the Syllables –

I managed to play this 6 times with out the usual message from asking me to become a paid member, i stopped then! It reads the words out to practice listening as well readingskills and is presented in a quiz format.

This asks students to count the syllables in the words and press the correct number. It is nice and simple and would be great for a quick 5 minutes at the end of class to consolidate a syllables lesson. It is not to jazzy as to distract and allows the class to practice the syllables rules they have learnt.

  • Simple and effective
  • Great for consolidation
  • Can play at least 6 times for free ( I tried this!)
  • Has a mixture of large and small multi syllable words.

Saucer Syllables – iPad

This online syllable game is pretty basic, and from a few years ago ( by the looks of it at least) however it is only the second one in the list that actually has a focus on spelling of syllables.

This makes it quite useful as often students can count syllables pretty quickly but have more difficultly in spotting what actually makes a syllable or how to spell them. It also has larger words which makes it suitable for older or more advanced English students.

  • A little older generation of online syllable game.
  • Has longer words suitable for more advanced learners
  • Not awesome graphics
  • has a focus on spelling syllables which is a great skill to include.

Syllable Slurp – Room Recess

A great online syllable game for classrooms as it keeps on going. It focusses on one and two syllable words. The student has to press one of the four chameleons to catch the fly with with word with the correct number of syllables on it .

I like this one as its colorful and studentfriendly and it also has a speed control for the speed the words fly by. This allows the addition of urgency to the game and you can go crazy and let the words go really fast.


  • Controllable speed for different ability levels
  • Great graphics
  • Keeps going so great to use in a large class
  • Has the option of vowel sounds and nouns and verbs as well.
  • One to two syllable words

Final Thoughts

Syllables are a very rewarding step to both teach and for students to learn. It takes a little perseverance to make sure the concept is fully understood but it is worth the effort. As we said it really does open up a world of reading to students and they will progress so much quicker follwoing this.

Of course there are many ways to teach Syllables, we have worksheets, games and more on the site which are linked to here and above. However a great way to introduce and consolidate syllables to students is to use online syllable games in both classrooms and homes.

The more diverse and alternative approaches you can take with education, especially in todays technological world, the more chances you have for both maintaining students interest and for making sure the information sticks!

The Best Free Online Prepositions Games

Prepositions, in all their forms, add considerable meaning to learners of English and allow them to add more depth and meaning to their sentences. We teach these in Kindergarten and Grade 1 in both native and ESL / Second langauge classrooms all over the world.

One of the most effective ways of teaching in groups is to use some of the excellent practice and consolidation online prepositions games that there are on the internet. The majority of these are free to play. They are available for both younger and older students.

They may not challenge Minecraft or whatever the ”cool” equivalent is now but introduce any online game into the Classroom and you will both be very popular and grab the students motivation and attention.

We have below a list of our top 8 online prepositions games that we use on a regular basis in our classrooms. These are all free and importantly not flash ( which has been discontinued.) Bookmark us if you often use online games in your classrooms as we add to these on a fairly regular basis.

If you are looking for Worksheets or activities for prepositions or anything English related we have hundreds for free and in the shop n the site. Just follow the links for details.

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

Online Preposition Games

The following online prepositions games are reviewed and linked to below. To access them you can click the title, the picture or the button to take you to the game and the hosting site! Hope they are useful and happy teaching!

All of these have been tested by teachers and are working. None are Flash (or if they are are, they are still working!)

  • Dinosaur Prepositions: ESL Games Plus
  • Prepositions Game:
  • Time Click Prepositions: MES Games
  • Prepositions Maze: Turtle Diary
  • Memory Prepositions: Games4ESL
  • Basketball Prepositions: ESL Games Plus
  • Sentence Preposition: British Council
  • Kangaroo Prepositions: ESL Games Plus

Dinosaur Prepositions – ESL Games Plus

This is a lovely well animated online prepositions game which tests students listening, reading and comprehension skills. Students roll the dice to try to get to the end of the level while avoiding the hungry dinosaurs.

Once a dice roll has been completed they have to answer a prepositions question that will be answers with the prepositions for, in, to, from, by, at, on, since, and with. It makes a nice change as the vast majority of Prepositions games are based on prepositions of place.


  • Great animation and gameplay for students on their own or in classrooms
  • The element of chance is included to make it more authentic
  • Uses Dinosaurs in the classroom! An easy win for teachers
  • Uses prepositions of time

Prepositions Game –

The features of this online prepositions game make it our favorite to use in classrooms. It instructions the students to move items into the correct place in the room with spoken and written instructions. As the items are generally house hold items it also encourages vocabulary comprehension as well.

This is a big in depth game, all focusing on prepositions of place. It goes into 9 rooms, or places including, living room, bathroom, classroom, kitchen, shops, bedrooms and more. So the Vocabulary is fairly detailed.

This is great for both beginning and intermediate students! If you make a mistake it also offers a visual clue.


  • 9 different rooms to explore and games to play
  • Teaches and practices vocabulary as well as prepositions of place.
  • Free to play which for a game of this size is excellent
  • Great for home computers and whiteboard / projectors in classrooms. Plenty of content included.

Time Click Prepositions – MES Games

MES Games have a good sized collection of games and activities on their English site. They follow a similar pattern and are quite basic. However they are all effective and in classroom environments it is often better to not have to much distraction in a game.

This game allows you or the students to choose a time limit to try to match all the spoken instructions for these prepositions of place questions. It is a useful matching exercise that with a few minutes at the end of a lesson allows you to consolidate students learning.


  • Covers prepositions of place
  • allows you to choose the time, which for big classes is useful
  • Just uses spoken instructions so good for listening exercises
  • Not flash, so still works!!

Prepositions Maze – Turtle Diary

We feel this game may be suited better to home play rather than classrooms, at least large classrooms. The game is a keyboard controlled game where students have to navigate their scorpion to the beetle that is a preposition. This takes some doing! They can not run into the other beetles or they lose a life.

It is actually quite tricky, and more time could be spent teaching how to control the scorpion rather than practicing preposition recognition. However it is one of the few that asks students to recognize the difference between a preposition and other words.

  • Very well made game
  • better for single / learning station rather than classroom. ( at least my classrooms!)
  • Teaches the difference between prepositions and other word classes
  • Is not flash (which some games on Turtle diary are – although they are going through and updating)

Memory Prepositions – Games4ESL

Something a little different here. This is a YouTube Game, which means it will need to be controlled by the teacher. Basically students have a set time to look and try to memorize a picture. Then the video asks a question and the students have to try to remember where that particular item was.

Its not the most interactive but when we tried it is was pretty successful and we even had students trying to write down where things are to help them with the questions. It is definitely worth trying as something different!


  • A video game hosted on YouTube
  • Good for encouraging writing as well as verbal answers
  • Can play as a whole class and even make it the main part of a lesson.
  • Only really good to use one time

Basketball Prepositions – ESL Games Plus

Another online prepositions game from ESL Games Plus. This site has some great games for classroom use. Unlike the dinosaur game above this is a set of questions that students have to get right to be able to take a shot at a basketball.

The preposition questions are present verbally, in written form and with a picture clue to help all manner of different learning styles. It would work great as a end of lesson consolidation activity and this is how we use it in our classrooms.

  • Simple and effective
  • Great for consolidation
  • Other vocabulary and Grammar games on the site as well.
  • Good to see three ways of presenting the question to cater for learner diversity.

Sentence Preposition – British Council

This is less of an online prepositions game and more of a online task really. However its is a sentence construction task that asks students to put the preposition in the correct place in a sentence ( along with all the other words).

Although the sentences are not that tricky it is still probably better for more advanced learners who are aware of some ideas around sentence construction. It covers prepositions of place, but not in the basic way that the other games do.

  • A little older generation of online preposition game.
  • Has longer words suitable for more advanced learners
  • Not awesome graphics
  • has a focus on spelling syllables which is a great skill to include.

Kangaroo Prepositions – ESL Games Plus

The final online prepositions game is from ESL Game Plus again. Although we prefer the other two this one still has merits when teaching prepositions. The game has a kangaroo trying to throw a boomerang at a bird. The reason why this is happening is not that obvious though!

This is more suitable for advanced learners as the sentences you have to complete are actually quite complex. However this is a plus point as there are much less games that address the needs of higher level students than lower level.

There are 10 sentences to complete to complete the game.


  • Long complex Sentences suitable for more advanced English learners
  • Simple game play
  • Many more games on the site

Final Thoughts

Prepositions in all their forms are a very common site throughout the English language. So usually these are addressed from a younger age. We have included a couple of games more suited to older learners, though we usually find that they are also perfectly happy to jump in on the games for younger learners as well.

Of course there are many ways to teach prepositions, we have worksheets, games and more on the site which are linked to here and above. However a great way to introduce and consolidate prepositions for students is to use online preposition games in both classrooms and homes.

The more diverse and alternative approaches you can take with education, especially in todays technological world, the more chances you have for both maintaining students interest and for making sure the information sticks! Online games are certainly one way to help achieve that aim

What are the Digraphs in English (And How To teach Them)

In English it is very difficult to get definitive answers about anything. From how many sounds to how to say different words there is always a point of view. It is the same with Digraphs, ask one teacher and they will say 4 ( and be wrong) ask another and they will say 7 and ask me and i will say 9.

As we have mentioned before English is an adaptable language, it adapts and changes with time, new words are added weekly, and old ones drift into obseurity. Now words may drift out of use, but sounds tend to stick around.

An English digraph consists of a pair of letters that placed together make a single sound or phoneme. In English there are both vowel and consonant digraphs. Examples include /sh/ /ch/ /th/ /ai/ /ee/ /ie/. Vowel digraphs can also be split with a consonant. We often call these split digraphs Magic or Silent E.

So How Many Digraphs Are There In English?

English Vowel Digraphs
Including split digraph
English Consonant Digraph

Different types of Digraph

There are two types of digraph. They are called heterogenous, and homogenous. Heterogeneous are the most common and they consist of two different letters. /sh/, /th/ and /ch/ are examples of these. Homogenous are name of two letters the same, like it /ff/, /ss/ or /ll/. As a rule of thumb homogenous digraphs tend to say the the sound of the letters, and heterogenous create a new sound.

Differences Between Digraphs and Diphthongs

The main difference between digraphs and diphthongs are that digraphs are pairs of letters and diphthongs are sounds. Basically these words have their roots in greek. and spitting them explains their meaning.

”Di” means two in greek, and graph means writing. so digraph means two writings, or in this case two letters like in /sh/ or /ee/

In Diphthong the phthong part of the word ( morpheme) means sound. Therefore Diphthong means two sounds. Like in /oi/

Who knew when you signed up to learn or teach English that you would be getting lessons in Greek as well!! So an easy way to remember is to think of a digraph is made of two letters, and a diphthong is made of two sounds.

These sounds are commonly vowels, that in most use cases require the mouth to be in one position, however diphthongs require a transition form one vowel sound to another. I am going to leave it to you to work out what a trigraph and a triphthong is.

Difference between Consonant Blends and Digraphs

We we have explained what a digraph is above, two letters coming together to make a distinct sound, so how are blends different.

Well where digraphs come together to make one sound, blends come together but you can still hear each distinct sound. You can try this with the /l/ blends. Try saying black, blight, blanch. you can hear both the /b/ sound and the /l/ sound. However in blanch for example, the /ch/ at the end makes its own sound, very different to both the /c/ and /h/ sound its made from.

Can Digraphs Be In The Middle Of Words

Both consonant and vowel digraphs can in any position in a word. However it is more likely that consonant digraphs will appear in any position. Vowel digraphs more commonly appear in the middle or medial position in a word. This rule is not absolute however and exceptions include words like ”aim” These vowels can be taught using our vowels pack, and blends pack and songs like this from Between the Lions.

Are Digraphs Consonants or Vowels

It is possible to have digraphs in both consonant and vowel form. We often introduce consonant digraphs to students first followed by vowel digraphs. The concept of vowel digraphs and long vowel spelling like /ai/, or /oa/ can be hard to understand for beginners of English.

What Are Split Digraphs?

It is possible to have a split vowel digraph, though we often call it by a different name. Vowel digraphs like /oe/ or /ue/ can have a consonant in the middle of them and still say their sound. for example note, and cute. We often call these magic or silent E words.

Magic E is a lot of fun to teach and is a real step forward in helping students start to the learn more complex forms of English Phonics. We have resources for free here and also a lot more in our Long and short vowel Workbooks.

How to Teach Digraphs

Digraphs are a progression from single sounds and CVC words to a more advanced level of phonics where students will learn how letter can come together to make different sounds, or how they come together to provide an alternative spelling of sounds they already know.

Below you will find some tips on how to teach these, and in the section after you will find some of our resources you can download as well.

  • Introduce digraphs naturally with words they are already familiar with, like school, chair or shop.
  • Try to use readers like these on Amazon to practice in class. There are selections on book depository as well.
  • Use many different methods so you can cater for learner diversity and multiple intelligences. we actually have 5 activity in one worksheets aimed at exactly this.
  • Consolidate with games in class or at home. We have some for download bit there are also phonics games on Amazon that i use in class as well.
  • There are plenty of songs, both good and bad on YouTube covering phonics and digraphs.

Teaching Resources for Digraphs.

We have a lot (seriously a lot) of resources to teach phonics and digraphs on this site. Below we will list some examples of our more popular resources both for free and from our in house shop. Hope they are useful!

Digraph Bundles

We have many of these in our shop. There is a specific digraph and blends version which has over 60 pages of worksheets and activities. We also have the complete phonics bundle which has this workbook and 6 others that cover everything from CVC to Syllables.

Blend and digraph workbook
Long and Short Vowels Workbook

Digraph Worksheets

We have a huge selection of worksheets for you to download that are both premium and free. The links below take you to our free resources and these are used in classrooms all over the world.

Digraph Scramble phonics Worksheets
Colour the digraph and blends Phonics worksheets.
FREE Digraph word families Worksheet

Digraph Games

A great way to consolidate phonics learning is with games and activities in class. We have our selection of games with lesson ideas below. these are all free to download and use so enjoy!!!

Connect Four Phonics

Digraph Apps and Online Games

We have some of these on the site and a link to our favorite from another site as well. Using games in the classroom is essential to create a multi pronged approach to teaching digraphs and phonics as a whole. We also have a whole post devoted to some of the best online games to teach digraphs on the site as well

Final Thoughts

Digraphs are just one, albeit and important part of teaching phonics. Although the exact number of digraphs is difficult to pin down, they play an important part in language. Trying to teach these concepts in a fun and engaging way will help students to practice and learn.

As we have mentioned it is advisable to teach the consonant digraphs first as vowels can be a little tricky for beginners, however the concept is the same and once they have mastered consonant digraphs then moving on to vowel digraphs will be much more straightforward.

When Is the Letter Y a Consonant? (and Other Tricky English Letters)

The English alphabet is unique. It contains many letters and sounds. As a matter of fact, it contains far more sounds than letters. There are two types of letters in the English alphabet—consonants and vowels. Vowels are a, e, i, o, and u, while the consonants are all the other letters, except y. Y as a consonant is not so straightforward.

You may have noticed that y wasn’t listed as either. That’s because it’s not strictly either one. Y is one of those letters that can only be classified by what it is doing. Sometimes, it behaves like a consonant, and other times, it behaves like a vowel.

Y can be a consonant predominantly when it is found at the beginning or onset of a word or syllable. Words such as /yes/, /yellow/, /lawyer/ and /kayak/, all have a semi vowel or hard /y/ sound. In other medial or ending word positions it is likely to make a long or short vowel sound as in /cry/ or /bicycle/.

The Sound of Y

The easiest way to tell if /y/ is a consonant or vowel is to test its behavior. When a /y/ is behaving like a consonant, then it will be a consonant, but when it is behaving as a vowel, it will be a vowel. Though there is a little more to it than that.

You may be wondering how it can behave like a consonant or vowel. It is one letter. How can it be both? You can download free /y/ worksheets here.

Consonant Y

When y is a consonant, it sounds like /yuh/ as in yellow. This is called having a hard /y/ sound or a semi vowel. It is not a true consonant, neither is it a true vowel. Words like yep, yellow, yarn, yard, yak, your, and yoga all have that semi vowel /y/sound.

Typically, the hard /y/ sound comes at the beginning of a word or syllable, though there may be exceptions. /Y/ starting words or syllables are more commonly consonant /ys/.

Vowel Y

The other way you can use a /y/ as a vowel. In this case, the /y/ often sounds like a vowel. Sometimes, it sounds like an ee sound like in misty. However, it can also make a short i sound such as hymnal or a long i sound such as in guy or pigsty.

if you are looking for how to teach Y as a vowel you can check this post and the included free resources.

Finally, it can be used with another letter to emphasize that letter sound. In this case, it is a digraph. Common digraphs are ay and ey. Ay digraphs may be found in words like stay or day, and the ey might be found in lovey or honey.

There are many more ways that the y might be used as a vowel, but these are the most common. One signal that the /y/ is behaving as a vowel is if there are no other vowels in the word. In the English language, a word typically requires at least one vowel.

Take the word rhythm. The /y/ is behaving as a short i. Likewise, if it is in the middle or end of a syllable, it is nearly always a vowel.

It Isn’t the ONLY One

While y is the only letter that behaves as both a vowel and a consonant, it is not the only letter that serves multiple purposes or has multiple sounds. You may recall that vowels always have multiple sounds.


Long vowels

Long vowels tend to say their names. If you hear a sound that mimics the name of that letter, it is a long vowel sound—the a in later, or first e in even.

We have a long and short vowel workbook here with over 50 activities, inluding /y/ sounds.

Short Vowels

When the vowel sound isn’t the name of the letter, it is sometimes called a short vowel. However, these are specific sounds. The a in apple, e in ever, i in hit, o in often, and u in umpire are all short sounds. However, there are other vowel sounds besides long and short. If you want a great free Short vowel worksheet check here.

Other Vowels

These vowel sounds do not fit in the previous categories. Words like put, room, hog, coin, and crown all have vowel sounds that do not follow the long or short pattern. We call these vowel diagraphs or diphthongs. We have loads of resources in our 7 Workbook Bundles for all of these, including Y. You can also check out our free resources here as well.


Copycat C

C is another unique letter. It has more than one sound, but no sound all its own. The c can make an s sound like in cereal or a k sound like in cookie. Words may also contain both a k and s sound, such as circle.

Some educators consider the c to also have a silent sound when used in words like sock or pick. However, this is also a digraph that combines to make the k sound.

D Doing Double Duty

Sometimes the d sound is distinct, like the two ds in this sentence. However, in words like soldier, it makes more of a j sound.

Good ol’ G.

The letter g is both a copycat and has its own sound. Green, grass, and grow all have a similar g sound. However, giraffe, general, and gender all sound like they might start with j.

Polite P

P and other unvoiced letters often have a hard or soft sound. The soft unvoiced p sounds like a puff of air. However, in hop and pop, the p tends to pop a little more. While it isn’t a true second sound, it does require careful pronunciation and listening.

Sly S

The s sound is often mentally connected with snake or soap. We sometimes forget that the s can also have a z sound, such as in fries or exercise.

Xtra X

X is an interesting letter. Like y, it often needs something else to create the proper sound. Few words start with x, but when they do, they often have a z sound like in xylophone. More commonly, it is found in words beginning with a vowel, such as extra or ax. In extra, you hear the x letter for the sound, but in ax, it sounds more like ks.

Why Do Double Duty?

Why do these letters pull double or triple duty when making sounds? Most of this is related to the origin of words. English, though it takes much of its words from Latin or Greek origins, often borrows from other languages. Sometimes those languages have different rules for different letters.

Similarly, some English words and phrases are very old. While some spellings or usages changed, some words retain their original spelling. An extension of that is that American English spellings and British English spellings are often different.

When they are, it often utilizes the different sounds a word might make. Realize and realize are two spellings for the same word. At some time, someone decided that writing it with an s or z made more sense. The other spelling was preserved. Generally, the American English spellings are altered from the original.

Shhhh Silent Letters

Just as letters have more than one sound, some letters hang out in words with no sound. A word ending in e often has a long vowel in the final syllable, but the e sound remains unheard. Knife, clay, and honor also have silent letters, one of which is our friend, the y.

Final Thoughts

Y has a critical job to do in the English language. Sometimes that means that it needs to be a consonant and bring a harder sound. Other times, it needs to go undercover as a vowel and make a vowel sound.

Who knows why exactly the y started this undercover work, but it can sometimes strengthen and emphasize a vowel sound in a word. Take the word ma, for example. Without a y, it is mah. However, by adding the y, we get a new word with a new meaning—may. It lengthens the sound of the a. E is often credited with doing this in words, but y can be just as important.

Teaching Y sounds and their rules are a more advanced aspect of phonics teaching, we have resources here that will help. It is easier to teach the rules when it is a vowel sounds and as mentioned above check this post on Y as a vowel to learn those rules as well.

How to Teach a Child to Read Long Words (tips and Ideas)

how to teach a child to read long words

Teaching a child to read shouldn’t be a controversial subject, but it is. There have been debates on how to teach children to read since the invention of the written word. Long words can be challenging for young readers. Experienced readers often struggle with long or complex words as well. Sometimes, it is difficult to learn to read unfamiliar words.

An effective strategy to teach children to read long words in English is to teach a variety of reading skills. Segmentation of words, phonics, awareness of prefixes and suffixes will assist children to deconstruct and re construct more complex words into manageable chunks, allowing easier comprehension.

The Short Version Of Teaching Long Words!

Yes we are writing a short version on teaching Long words. Though we recommend you read through at least some the the points below as well if you are not that experienced or knowledgeable.

This section is a list with links to some resources that teach students in stages. Some will be suitable for your children or students, others will be a step below or above we leave that up to you to decide! However if you are in a rush jump on in.

Step One: Well if you are really in a rush then jump on this page and give me 25 dollars or so!. Its a set of 7 workbooks, 373 pages of phonics, English, and comprehension passages that cover everything from Sounds, CVC, Phonics, Syllables and Comprehension.

Step Two: If you don’t want to do that (its cool) then start here. If your students can’t yet blend letters together check out these exercises and practice Pages. They cover CVC words. I use this as the first step in learning that sounds blend together to make words

Step Three: Once a firm grasp of CVC and word blending has been taught then introducing digraphs, ,addition vowels and blends would occur. The links to example resources are in the words. However we also have a better order of phonics mega article here.

Step Four: I always move on to vowels, and a selection of vowel spelling rules at this point. Magic E, Diphthongs, vowel digraphs etc. This is for a specific purpose. I want them to start to recognize vowels easily.

Step 5: Syllable Recognition and activities: Next we look at putting some of these skills together. Syllables are a great skill to learn for the emerging reader. The ability to take apart and then put together words to make it easier to read and say is a step towards a much wider vocabulary.

The reasons why I want to concentrate on vowels, well every syllable has a vowel sound in it. Ask the students to find that, and they can start to find the syllables in words.

Now for the other factors to take into account!

Word Parts

Look for roots, prefixes, and suffixes. When students first start learning longer words, many of them are compound words or have roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Students often know what the parts of words mean and can break them into words they understand and learn the definition or pronunciation from there.

Teacher Tip: Become familiar with the prefixes and suffixes of English.

Word and Letter Patterns

Double letters, words that end in “e,” vowel pairs, consonant pairs (digraphs), and other patterns can help children read the word they are struggling to understand. Often, they already know the word; they are just unfamiliar with it in written form.

For instance, a word such as chicken may be unfamiliar in written language. Students know what a chicken is, but early readers often think it’s spelled the same way those cows do—chikin.

However, having them break the word into ch i ck e n can help them see blends and letters. “En” would also be blended to sound like en or uhn rather than een or ehn. They know the ch sound, i, ck, and en as well.

Teacher tip: There are hundred of phonics activities and worksheets here for you to help teach your children sounds and blends.


Break words down into syllables. Not all long words can be broken into roots, prefixes, and suffixes that make sense. For instance, challenging words for older readers such as facetious have the suffix tious, but face tious makes no sense to students.

Breaking it into fah / see / shus can be more accessible. You may have to help them break the word into syllables, but phonemic awareness should help them with the word’s pronunciation. Since a word like facetious is spelled differently than students may realize, once they sound it out using syllables, they may understand it more thoroughly.

Teacher tip: We have syllables resources here for free.

Stressed Syllables

Stressing syllables is a new concept for students when they begin the syllabic study. They will quickly grasp the syllable concept in many cases, but stressed syllables are exaggerated during this portion of the lesson. Learning those prefixes and suffixes can help integrate stressed sound concepts to students as well.

Types of Syllables

Syllabic breakdown is one of the most common ways to teach longer words since they cannot always be broken into clean prefixes, suffixes, and roots. After all, the word precious appears to be a prefix and suffix with no root to a new reader. There are five types of syllables students might encounter.

  • Closed Syllable: This type of syllable ends in a consonant. The vowel sound is often short, though that isn’t always true.
  • Open Syllables: As you might expect, this type of syllable ends in a vowel, and the vowel sound in the word is often long.
  • R-Controlled Vowels and Syllables: This type of syllable is when an r follows a vowel and affects the sound of the vowel. (Car, fur, word).
  • Vowel Team Syllables: As you might guess, this syllable has a combination of vowels—oo, ou, oi, ai, and other groups are vowel teams.
  • Vowel Silent “E” Vowel Rule and Syllables: These syllables usually have a long vowel sound, and the e occurs at the end of the word.
  • Consonant “Le” Vowel rules and Syllables: This type of syllable has a word that ends with a consonant before the le. Wobble, Kindle, and whittle all have this pattern.

Teacher Tip: To teach Segmenting, Phonics and Syllable use check out our bundle of workbooks, you can click the picture below or the link above to check it out.

Use the Text to Read Long Words

One of the most important parts of reading comprehension is using the text to learn new vocabulary. Students read the words in a sentence to try to figure out the meaning of new words. The context of the rest of the text might help the student decode the meaning.

They can also think about what types of words might fit there or what the word might mean. They can then think about words they know that start with that letter or group of letters that means the same thing. Keep in mind; this particular strategy must be used in concert with other strategies. One cannot always discern the meaning or word from context.

Teacher Tip: Make sure you have text at an appropriate level for your students and children. We have levelled texts in our shop in bundles. check them out here.

Nonsense Words

Some experts suggest learning nonsense words or syllables. This technique can help solidify some of those phonics concepts, and it will help students begin to put things together they may not have expected. These nonsense words can prepare students for blends they were not aware were often used.

Teacher tips: To practice this as CVC words ( to start) we have an online CVC generator that will create both real and nonsense words. Also, although not nonsense, Children and students love to try to say Dinosaur names which are HUGE! and difficult. They ( well some of them) are great to teach both syllables and segmenting.

Why do English Words have so many meanings

Teach Dictionary Skills to Read Long words

One skill many students lack is dictionary usage. They know the dictionary has words, but they do not know how to read and understand the text in the dictionary. Spend some class time learning to look up words. Parts of speech matter for comprehension, sometimes. Similar sounding words are different parts of speech and have different meanings.

Likewise, some words have many definitions. “Run” for instance, has over 100 distinct definitions. Some of those definitions are slang uses, and others are just less widely understood. A run in a pair of pantyhose and a run in the park certainly aren’t the same thing. A run at the bank is a terrible thing, or at least it was in 1930. Students should know how to find appropriate definitions, not just pick the first one.

Teacher Tips: assign a lesson to show them that a dictionary is more than just a definition book. It can offer pronunciation guides / alternative meanings and much more. You can find online and paper dictionaries on the links.

Guessing and Read Long Words

Guessing can sometimes work. If your student has tried every strategy he or she knows, encourage them to guess. The worst thing that happens is they get it wrong. Teach your children that wrong isn’t bad. It’s just an opportunity to try again.

Scientists are wrong every day and have to change their tactics or thinking. Guessing a word right or wrong will not destroy your life or education. Keep trying. Learn through error is a very effective teaching technique!

Impart the Knowledge

Teach your students that when all else fails, it is okay to ask for help. They should be dependent on themselves in the beginning, but you can choose to help them after trying several strategies. I don’t like the word can’t.

My students have to use another word, but they can request help. They can say, “I am having trouble. I have tried a, b, and c, but I am unsure of the answer. Will you help me?” They can do it, but they need an assist to learn it.

We are there to teach students to manage for themselves but now and then we just have to give them the information and let them work from there.

Final Thoughts

Your students have to employ many strategies to learn. Continue using phonics skills well after second or third grade. Students in high school and college can continue using these strategies. Challenges are not meant to break a student down, though.

Guide them through the strategies, and for incredibly difficult words, help them out. You should encourage the use of strategies first, but your students shouldn’t work beyond the point of frustration. If you follow some of the resources and ideas above then teaching children to read long words can even be fun!

Taking a break can also help. When students have been working for extended sessions, they tend to get more frustrated and less benefit. Move around, even for the big kids, as it helps brain development and learning.

Enjoy teaching this aspect and remember once those decoding skills are ingrained, your students have a whole larger world of English reading to explore!

Why Do English Words Have So Many Meanings


Every language has words with multiple meanings or multiple words that mean similar things, but some English words seem to take this to the extreme.

English is derived from multiple older Languages (like Latin, Anglo Saxon and Norse) It is a constantly developing language. Historically England and its language has been added to in both number and meanings of vocabulary by immigration, colonization and the adoption of English as a lingua Franca.

Take the word run, for example. This word has hundreds of meanings. cites 148 meanings, but NPR notes over 600. Some meanings are slang or only used in specific contexts, but others are common in everyday language.

Idioms, multiple meanings, and slang can make learning English seem nearly impossible. So, how did we wind up with more than 100 ways to use run and other similar words? As for why these words have so many meanings, there is no simple answer. So lets look at the complicated one!

Fluidity of Language

The reason that Latin is a dead language is that it stopped moving and changing. The reason English gets a new word in the dictionary every year is that language adapts. Some words are invented, and others are changed. Words like buzzword, googling, and email are all words that have been added to the dictionary over the last decade or so.

These words didn’t exist thirty years ago. Email and googling are extensions of technology. However, sometimes the words just gain new meaning. Usage and acceptability often change the meanings of words.

Sometimes a new meaning is attached to an existing word. The word does not lose its original meaning, it just adopts the new one in addition to the traditional usage. A word like ”bad” or ”wicked” when I was young suddenly changed to mean the opposite of this traditional use.

Me as a (thinking i was cool) teenager. ”Last night was a wicked night out”

Friend answering ”yeah the nightclub was soooo bad!”

Parent listening in ‘‘Why do they keep going to these terrible places…”

Slang often finds it way into everyday language, lets look at other aspects in more detail below.

Usage of Slang in English Word meanings

Often words change because slang does. Dope, bad, far-out, rad, gig, cool, dig, fly, wicked, word, sweet, dough, and hot have all had slang and conventional meanings. They have been reappropriated by the generations to mean different things. This has caused more traditional words to then develop multiple meanings in English.

Likewise, when things are used negatively toward a people or group, they will sometimes reappropriate these words for their own. This is often done to minimize the sting of terrible words. Slang can have positive and negative effects on language usage.

English Steals Words From Other Languages

Historically English through immigration and colonization has become to be used as the worlds lingual franca ( used by the most second language speakers globally) It is not the worlds most spoken language, that is Mandarin, but it is the worlds largest second language.

This means that English is being used between friends of different languages, in business between countries, in classrooms to teach children to enter the globalized world. Its being used, changed and adapted all over every single minute. We have a rather lengthy article on the globalization of English here.

Now some of these adaptions come and go, but some stay, for multiple reasons. One example of a foreign word, from German actually, that English has co opted for use is schadenfreude. this is clearly a Germanic word. you can see the quote below for its meaning.

There is not an English word for this so the word has been absorbed into the English Language. Slowly at the moment. As it is used it will change as English speakers subtly change its pronunciation. It may even change spelling to make it easier to read for English users. It would not be surprising to see it turn into ”shadenfroid” or similar at some point.

How Many Words For Snow??

English is a thief. It claims to borrow from other languages but rarely does it give anything back. English takes from other languages to make a word its own. At times, this can be beneficial. There is no reason to have fifty words meaning snow.

However, Inuit tribes often need to describe several types of snow or snow landscapes to make their point known. While the belief they have fifty words for snow is maybe an exaggeration, what is not an exaggeration is that sometimes English writers will use a word from another language because it does not translate well. There is no English equivalent, so we use the German, French, or Inuit.

Additionally, sometimes we just don’t have a word yet, and we don’t see any reason to reinvent the wheel. English lexicons grow due to the adoption of a word from another culture or nation. We sometimes also create words from “mistaken” or “misspoken” words.

Origins Of Multiple Meanings in English Words

Sometimes we adopt these in our own homes, and sometimes they catch on as new words. One of these words is the slang “conversate” which is often used to mean converse. This word had no meaning before it became a new word. It is still considered non-standard, but it stemmed from people not knowing what the verb form of conversation might be.

This happens a lot. Smite is one of those words that people cannot seem to conjugate in English. Maui makes a joke about this in Moana from Disney, but countless people try to figure out the same conjugation daily.

You may be thinking that if we are inventing new words for these things, they aren’t multi-meaning words. However, what can happen is that we use what we best can. An example of this is the singular they. For centuries, “they” has been used in the singular to minimize word usage.

However, it is non-standard usage of the word. Now that the LGBTQ community is getting its voice heard, nonbinary and gender-fluid people need a pronoun. Zhe/ ze has been suggested but never really catches on. However, “they” seems to be the pronoun of choice.

The general meaning has been retained as a gender-neutral pronoun, but now it has moved from plural to singular, giving it a slightly different meaning. People reassign word meanings to fit what they can’t find the right word to describe.

Another origin-related issue with meaning is that when English borrows from one language, the root for a word may mean one thing. If it borrows from another language, a word spelled (and maybe even pronounced) similarly has a whole new meaning. Over time, these words often fuse into one spelling and pronunciation with multiple meanings.

Acronyms and Shortened Words In English

Sometimes, languages begin to shorten words or use acronyms instead of words. NASA isn’t a word, technically. It is an acronym. Likewise, plane is often used in reference to an airplane, but plane can also be the flat surface on which you stand, or even to travel by airplane.

Some of these uses are informal or slang words, and others are assigned meanings. However, one day people decided that “airplane” was just too long, and we should shorten it to plane. Also, textspeak is becoming more common for newly minted words.

Texting and English Language Development

While these are not words, ‘rents, boo, tea, and similar shortened words or phrases begin to look like other words. “Rents” is not referring to the payments people make to live in apartments or houses they do not own; boo is not a scary sound (unless you want to be single), and tea doesn’t specifically refer to the drink made from dried leaves.

What has happened is “parents” has been shortened to ‘rents, boo refers to a significant other, and tea is short for spilling the tea or telling secrets. The last one has more to unpack than just the altered meaning of a word, which we will not do here. The point is that the words have been adopted to mean something different.

There are origins for why these things have been chosen, but the most important takeaway is that they now have a second or third meaning. Tea is an interesting consideration as well.

There are many tea types, and they do not all refer to the tea tree plant leaves being dried then steeped to make a drink any longer. It has taken on many meanings and now has a slang definition too.

Do Other Languages Have Multiple Meanings For Words?

The certainly do, and they also have slang, Appropriated words, and adpated words. I once stood next to a friend in line at a work cafetiera, she is Indian, and the helper behind the counter was Indian as well. So she started to talk to him in Gujarati

It was a long line of words when suddenly ”strawberry” suddenly appeared in there from nowhere. Turns out there is no Gujarati word for strawberry!

Similarly homophones exist in many languages. Here are 25 in French that are tricky and German has them as well! Im here in Hong Kong and the Chinese word for dog (gou) if pronounced incorrectly can be the number 9, and also lead to some embarrassing movements.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons a word or phrase may have multiple meanings. The important thing is to realize that while one word often has multiple meanings, you do not always have to use that word. English has millions of words, and often, there are multiple words that mean the same thing.

For instance, a car might be called an auto, automobile, vehicle, or be more specific such as truck, dually, van, minivan, coupe, sedan, and much more. If you are unsure of one word’s meaning, see if there is another word that fits.

Websites for dictionaries, whether the Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam Webster, or someone else, often offer users a thesaurus option to search for words with similar meanings.

Be careful of your choice, however. Agent, meaning employee of the FBI, is not the same thing as a real estate agent. You cannot substitute broker or investigator for both. Expand your vocabulary and your understanding of a language so that you may be more concise.

Why is English Hard for Russian Speakers? (And Teaching Tips)

Answering why English is hard for anyone lies in the difficulty of English itself. English is an amalgamation of several languages. It has romance, Latin, and Germanic language roots as well as borrows words from other languages. The patterns in English nearly always have exceptions. However, the problem is not just in the borrowing of words or structure. English and Russian also have very different pronunciation rules.

English Vs. Russian Pronunciation

Slavic languages such as Russian can have vastly different tongue and mouth positions when compared to English pronunciations. When you also factor in the dialect of the person teaching English to a native Russian speaker, it can be even more challenging to learn the meaning and syntax of the language.

According to the University of San Diego[1], Russian has fewer vowel sounds and does not utilize the different long and short sounds that English makes. Having a different mouth position for speaking can get confusing when so many English words have similar spellings, sounds, or meanings.

Likewise, International TEFL and TESOL Training notes that Russian often mutes the final sounds of words. However, doing that in English means that you have created a different word. Mad and mat begin to sound the same.

Russia Beyond[2] equates it to not being able to hear English sounds. Rather than not being able to hear them, as Russians’ ears are no different from American or British, we might consider that they don’t know how to hear them rather than they can’t.

Since so many English sounds do not exist in Russian, the similar-sounding phonemes can be challenging to decipher. Native English speakers have spent their whole lives listening for these sounds, so they are more clearly recognized.

However, issues move beyond simple pronunciation. After all, reading and writing are also a part of English language learning. It can, perhaps, be the most challenging.

Popular Dialects

One of the unique aspects of English is that it is spoken in multiple countries worldwide. While there are travelers from other countries maintaining their native languages, English and Mandarin Chinese are two of the most widely spoken languages.

Both of these languages have billions of speakers worldwide. With so many speakers, pronunciation becomes a problem again. Speakers of American Dialects of English versus British English can get confusing.

The use of vowels and ending sounds can be very different for learners of English. Southern American English and Midwestern American English can almost sound like two different languages.

Pronunciation is not just challenging because there is a difference in Russian and English usage of phonemes, but it is nearly impossible to begin to understand speakers of other dialects. 


English Grammar

Every language has its preferred syntax, grammar, and structure. English tends to be more rigid in its syntax and structure. Some grammar rules are less rigid, but in all, English tends to like things the same way each time. Russian, on the other hand, tends to have a more fluid structure.

The meaning and purpose of words change depending on the needs of the speaker or writer. This can be challenging for someone to move between when learning languages. The rules can seem difficult to obey.

Why is English Difficult for Russian Speakers.

This is challenging for many English Language Learners, regardless of their first language. English articles are used to tell specifics. For example, a tree and the tree mean something entirely different.

For speakers of other languages, their articles often remain the same, whether you mean a specific tree or any tree. The context of the conversation will help speakers or readers determine specificity.

English Vs. Russian Alphabet

The Russian and English alphabets are very different. While Russians learning English may become accustomed to seeing the new alphabet, the lettering systems are different, making it challenging to decipher. It is a small challenge that can be overcome, but it may take some readers and writers a while to master.

English Vs. Russian Spelling

Speaking of the alphabet, English spelling is absurd at times. Words that look the same are pronounced differently, yet words that appear different have similar sounds.

Learning to spell in English is nearly impossible for some native English speakers; when beginning with a system that has a different alphabet like Russian, it can be maddening.


Many people learning a second language are still surrounded by people who speak their native language. Practice improves the ability to hear those subtle vowel changes, learn the spelling rules, and decipher similar rules.

However, if we spend our time on our native language, learning a new language becomes excruciatingly difficult.

Slang and Popular Usage

In the 80s and 90s, parents teased their children for using words like bad to mean good. Stupid has also been used to emphasize the intensity of something. “He is stupid smart” is an oxymoron, but it is often used to mean he is brilliant.

Every language has its own weird usages if you consider the meaning of words. However, in English, the dialect can be an issue again. In Australian English dialects, mate often means friend. However, in other dialects, it often means lover or significant other. These distinctions can be challenging when speaking to a variety of native English speakers.

With social media platforms becoming so popular, there are often users from multiple countries in one group or application. Then, if two people are having a conversation from different dialects, misinterpretations, and misunderstandings occur.

Other Notes

Likewise, a popular article from Buzzfeed covered why English is so complicated, and one of the examples they show is a British and American using the word “quite” as an adjective. In American usage, this would mean “very” or incredibly. He’s quite handsome would mean that a person was beautiful. However, British slang usage is that it means very little.

The same sentence becomes he’s not very good-looking. For a person learning the language, that is mind-blowing. For a person who knows the language, it can also be frustrating. Two people can be having vastly different conversations and not know it.

The same is true for idioms. People no longer like to say that someone died. Instead, they say “passed on,” “passed over,” “passed,” “kicked the bucket,” or “she is no longer with us” as though someone has merely left. For someone not familiar with the language, this can be incredibly confusing.

Tips To Help Russian Speakers Learn English.

  • Russian speakers may have issues with certain sounds in English. these include /v/ and /w/, vowels, most of them can cause problems. Russian only has 5 to 6 vowels and English has 20. It is no surprising they may find difficultly We have phonics materials all over this site but if you are teaching young children or middle school then this pack will help loads!
  • P and B can be easily confused so extra practice is likely to be needed and can
  • /th/ sounds also have this issue and can come out sounding like /Z/ (other Slavic languages also have this issue as well.
  • There are differences between Russian and English intonation patterns. We have a pack of speaking lessons that address tone and pronunciation that can help with this. We also have 15 activities listed in this post here, that you can pick and choose to help your Russian students practice English

We convey only 7% of the meaning in words, 38% in paralinguistic means, i.e. intonation, rhythm, pauses, and 55% – facial expressions and gestures.

International Tefl Blog

Final Thoughts

Learning English is challenging for anyone. When beginning with a language like Russian, listeners are not accustomed to the sounds, so trying to become a speaker feels impossible. Likewise, there are so many exceptions to grammar and spellings that it can be difficult to learn to speak clearly.

Many Russian native speakers never learn to speak fluent English because of these challenges. Each language has slang and idioms that make learning even more difficult, but English can have several for one simple phrase.

All is not lost, however. Those interested in speaking the language can submerge themselves in the language and surround themselves with native speakers. Do not worry about perfection at first. The more you listen and speak with others, the better you will become. Even native speakers struggle understanding sometimes. You are not alone.