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Gem collectors

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By Kay Clifford— Early Years Leader and adult tutor

This fun game will develop understanding of the different ways of pronouncing the graphemes ow, ie, ea, ch, g, c.

Gem Collectors image

Before playing

  • Point out to the children that the important graphemes are those letters in each word that are picked out in red on the game board.
  • Explain that the aim of the game is to fill up your gem bag with eight words that all have the same graphemes. They do this by landing on and collecting gems that are scattered around the area.


You will need a dice, a pencil for each player and copies of the activity sheet below.

Previous learning

The children should be able to read words containing adjacent consonants and know how to pronounce the graphemes introduced in Phases 2, 3 and 4 of Letters and Sounds.

Playing the game

  • Decide which superhero you will be. Check which gems you are collecting (look in your gem bag).
  • Decide who will start by rolling the dice. The player with the highest number goes first.
  • Player 1 rolls the dice and moves that number of spaces (gems) in any direction with the aim of landing on one of his/her gems.
  • When the player lands on one of their own gems, they write the word in their gem bag on their copy of the activity sheet below.
  • Play passes to the next player who repeats the above.
  • The winner is the first player to collect all 8 of their gems.

Key learning outcomes:

Year 1

To recognise/use alternative ways of pronouncing the graphemes already taught (eg, grapheme ‘g’ in ‘get’ and ‘gem’; grapheme ‘ow’ in ‘how’ and ‘show’).

Year 2

To read and spell less common alternative graphemes.

Extending the game

Encourage the children to think up more words to add to the collection of gems in their bag. They could:

Score 1 point for thinking of words which include the common way of writing the phoneme;

Score 2 points for thinking of words which contain the alternative spelling.

The person who scores the most is the winner.