Code word activity

I've always thought interactive text reconstruction activities (eg were really useful for spelling improvement, but they're not easy to do on paper. A good alternative is a code words exercise, in which you see some letters in the text and have to guess others to reconstruct it. Doing the puzzle really makes you think about spelling, as well as meaning and grammar - a full workout really!

And for learners who find writing difficult, this can make a great model for their own writing.

Here's one I made. This is a guided one: there are hints to help learners solve the puzzle and think about spelling. Feel free to print it out and use it. The second page is the key. If it's too difficult learners could read the full text first or the teacher could read it out.

This is the first one of these I've ever made, so feedback welcomed. Especially if there are any mistakes!!
Code Word Nouri


  1. The primary motivation for my Custom Hangman game ( was to provide a fun alternative way for kids to learn weekly spelling lists. Now I'm now trying to get a few tests on that theory. Would love to get your feedback on the idea.

  2. Roger, I took a look at your Hangman game. Nicely done! Personally I'm not into giving kids (or anyone else) weekly spelling lists, especially if they are seemingly random. However, I know it happens a lot and then the kids have to learn them. I think there are 'richer' ways for them to learn these spellings than via Hangman - more memorable ones - but on the other hand if it helps to consolidate the learning and maybe even has an addictive quality, then that certainly does no harm at all. As with all learning, it's probably good for some and less good for others. That may be a more honest answer than you wanted but you asked!

    It would be great if you could make an IPhone app for Look, See, Cover, Write and Check - something like this: . Let me know if you do!

    Good luck with the Hangman anyway!

  3. I use secret messages to learn numbers too...
    Also ask the students to write their own messages and codes!

    Message secret

    e = quatorze
    m = quarante-trois
    é = quinze
    t = douze
    b = cinquante-six
    r = quatre-vingt
    s = dix-sept
    a = soixante-douze
    o = soixante dix-neuf
    c = cinquante-huit
    p = quarante
    d = dix-neuf
    u = seize
    i = vingt-huit
    f = onze
    l = treize
    n = quatre-vingt-quinze





  4. Nice one, Alice. I found I approached this (as a student with very rusty French) in a different way - sequentially. But I was always predicting the next letters which helps with spelling as well as those French numbers which have always driven me crazy!

  5. Code Word looks interesting - maybe most useful if learners prepared them for each other. (I suspect we always learn more from creating exercises than from completing them.) I could see me using them in tandem with other activities grouped around a theme. I already have an adult easy-read in mind that would fit nicely with your sheet: I expect to offer them to an in-home learner next Friday. :)

    My favourite computerized word games are those - like many hangman games - that allow users to enter their own word lists.

    A learner and I are also enjoying a scrambled phrase game. I forget the name, though it's freeware. It provides a choice of three letters for each letter in a phrase like "a stitch in time saves nine". It focuses close attention on the mechanics of spelling and grammar, though it does require too much background knowledge for it to be ESL friendly.