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Fishy Phonemes

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By Kay CliffordEarly Years Leader and adult tutor

A three-level interactive spelling game, with phonemes spelling words related to the weather. Suitable for children working at Phases 4 and 5 of Letters and Sounds.

Fin the fish

Previous learning

The children need to have learned all the phonemes previously, and know the alternative graphemes.

Key learning outcomes:

To segment sounds into their constituent phonemes in order to spell them correctly.

This downloadable interactive game encourages children to use phonemes to spell words related to the topic of the weather. It includes words that have common digraphs and adjacent consonants. Level 1 involves words with three phonemes, Level 2 has words with four phonemes, and Level 3 has words with five phonemes. Children have to select the phonemes they need to spell each word as they appear in random order. Children working at Phases 4 and 5 (Letters and Sounds) should be able to complete this game.

Before playing

  • Brainstorm words relating to the weather. Spell the words using phonics, reminding the children about digraphs and the different ways to represent graphemes.
  • Go to Level 1 and, together, practise reading some of the phonemes which appear on the fish food flakes for the first word. Model how to move Fin so that he can catch the food. Show what happens when you feed him the wrong phonemes.

Playing the game

  • Each player begins on Level 1 and progresses to Level 2, and then Level 3.
  • To start the game, player one has to look at the picture and listen to the word as it is spoken. If they need to hear the word again, they can click on the button with the speaker symbol.
  • Next, the player should sound-talk the word.
  • Then, using the phonemes that are floating across the screen on the fish food flakes, they must spell the weather word. They should use their up and down and right and left arrow (cursor) keys to move Fin so that he catches and eats the phonemes in the correct order.
  • At Level 1, one of the phonemes which appears is a trick phoneme that does not appear in the word. If the children spot it they must not feed it to Fin. If they do, they will see him cough and turn green.
  • When the word is spelled correctly, the next picture and word will automatically appear. If playing in pairs or in a group, the next player now has a go at spelling this word.
  • Children can keep a score of how many words they spelled correctly on each level by recording these words on the activity sheet – one point for each correctly spelled word.
  • When all the Level 1 words have been spelled correctly, players can progress to Level 2. Here they play the game in the same way, but are now spelling words with four phonemes and must watch out for two trick phonemes. On completing that level, they progress to Level 3, where they must spell words with five phonemes and avoid three trick phonemes.
  • When a player has completed all three levels, they have finished the game. If playing in pairs or in a group, the winner is the person who has scored the most points once all the words have been spelled.

Using the activity sheet

  • Children can use this sheet to record the words they have spelled correctly.

Extending the game

  • Ask the children to think of other weather words with three, four or five phonemes then challenge each other to spell them correctly. Make another copy of the activity sheet and write them down in the appropriate columns. Encourage the children to use a dictionary to check their spellings.
  • Working in pairs, each child could draw a picture of a weather scene and challenge their partner to write captions/labels to go with it, spelling the words correctly.