World Cup Spelling - noticing vowels

Often vowels (a,e,i,o,u) cause more spelling problems than consonants, especially for English language learners. This may be partly because we tend to notice them less. It’s easier to read:
_ f__tb_ll t__m h__s _l_v_n pl_y_rs
A _oo__a__ _ea_ _a_ e_e_e_ __a_e__ .

So by paying careful attention to vowels in words, spelling may improve. Here’s an activity to help. It’s based on the 2010 World Cup, but could be used at any time.

1. Look at these football scores – do you think they are likely?
Brazil 2-5 South Africa
Argentina 4–3 Greece
USA 2–4 Algeria
2. Why do you think they have been given those scores? (Hint: vowels).
3. Think of two other matches that could be played in the World Cup. What are the ‘scores’ (from the number of vowels in the country names)?
4. Print off the worksheet below. Look at Part A only, not Part B. Write in the ‘scores’ in Part A. Do as many as you want.
5. Decide how likely you think each score is in the real World Cup. Highlight the ones that you predict might be true. When the World Cup gets going, see how many you got right.
6. But before that, look at the spelling of the countries. Learn the spelling of any you don’t know. If there are a lot you don’t know, just choose the most important ones to learn. Concentrate on the vowels. Use Look Say Cover Write and Check to learn the spellings (See )
7. Now look at Part B but don’t look at Part A (or any notes you made while learning the spellings). Don’t cheat!! Identify the countries and fill in the vowels.
8. Check your answers in Part A.
9. Enjoy the World Cup!

World Cup Spelling


  1. Really nice activity - I have to confess I had to read it three times before I got the scores - even with the words "hint-vowels" in place!

  2. Great spelling practice! Might enlarge part B and post it in the bulleting board...
    Thanks, Johanna!

  3. Karenne, thanks. I wonder if it is too unclear. I was trying not to give too much away. I'll see if anyone else has the same comment (or if it's just you! ;-P ).

    Vicky, glad you like it. Interesting idea to put it on bulletin board. Personally I'd rather use both parts (especially with weak spellers) because Part A teaches and Part B tests. (I like to give students a chance to learn before they're tested on something) But I guess if it's just for fun and not particularly aimed at weak spellers, that's great.

  4. Not sure why "USA" gets "0". Was expecting "2" - or am I reading that wrong? In any case, it seems clear now that "Chad" has no chance against "Papua New Guinea".

    Thanks for yet another fun tool. :)

  5. Oh Wendell - thanks for spotting that! I've changed it now. No wonder Karenne was confused! Now you know why Chad isn't in the World Cup, and Papua New Guinea can't have caught on to the secret of success yet!

  6. Really nice activity which has been included on Bell's website as part of the World Cup celebrations together with other football language games and quizzes