So, what to do? How can we help learners spell vowel sounds accurately? Here is just one activity from my book which helps learners to notice and practise vowel digraphs.
I hope you find it useful. Feedback always appreciated.
Three in a Row Vowels
Materials needed: Pencils. For each group of four learners: One game board — enlarged to A3 if possible; two different coloured sets of cards, also enlarged to A3 and cut - these are available on The Spelling Blog downloads page.
1. Learners work in groups of four (or up to six if necessary). Each group has two teams. Give each group two different coloured sets of vowel pattern cards — one for each of their teams. Also give them one game board. The cards are shuffled and placed in a pile, face down, in front of each team.
2. One team turns up the first card. They make a word containing that vowel or pattern that matches one of the categories on the game board. They write the word in pencil under the pattern and place the card on the game board on top of the relevant category.
3. The next team turns up one of their cards and does the same. The game continues until one team gets three cards in a row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally. So as well as trying to make a row of three, learners need to stop the opposing team from winning a row.
4. To play again, learners need to rub out the words they have written on the cards.
Variations: Boards and cards can be laminated for reuse. Then learners write their words with a non-permanent pen (e.g. overhead projector pen) and these can be washed off after the game.
You may want to set a time limit for the creation of each word.
At the end of the game, everyone writes personalised sentences for the words they used to help them remember the spellings within a sentence.
For an easier version of this game, each team spreads out all their cards in front of them and they can choose the pattern they use to make a relevant word.
You could use this idea to make your own game with different spelling patterns or different topics.