10 Fun Spelling Games for Your ESL Class
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10 Fun Spelling Games for Your ESL Class

10 Fun Spelling Games for Your ESL Class

Whether you teach elementary ESL or work with adults, spelling will be a part of your curriculum.

When you are looking for a fun way to use or review these spelling words in class, try one of the following games with your students.

Try These 10 Fun Spelling Games with Your ESL Class

  1. 1

    Scrabble Slam

    With no preparation and a small financial investment, Scrabble Slam is a fun way for your students to practice spelling words in English. The game consists of a simple set of playing cards with one letter printed on the front and back of each card. Starting with any four letter word, students add one letter at a time on top of one of the original four letters to create a new word. Modify the rules slightly and take turns going around the table to see if each person can create a new word with each of his turns.

  2. 2

    Free Form Scrabble

    If your students are working with a specific spelling or vocabulary list, challenge them to fit all of their spelling words on a Scrabble game board. Each word must connect with one of the other words, and students only have the letter tiles which came in the game. Students may find it easier as well as more fun if they create their spelling word grid with a partner.

  3. 3

    Unscrambled Eggs

    Another activity you can do with a given set of vocabulary words requires two sets of plastic eggs. For each egg, put the letters to spell a vocabulary word (use letter tiles, plastic letters or whatever you have on hand) and shake to mix. Make one egg for each spelling word for each team. Two teams then race relay style, each person opening one egg and putting the letters in the right order to make a vocabulary word. The first team to unscramble all their eggs is the winner.

  4. 4

    Spelling Pong

    For a fun, rainy day activity, set up a grid of cups on a table in your classroom. Each cup should have a letter written on the bottom of it. Students then take turns bouncing a ping-pong ball into the cups. Whatever cup the ball lands in, the player has that letter to use as he tries to spell a word. Students take turns until each person is able to spell a word from the letters he has collected. Either race to see who can spell a word first, or challenge students to make as many words as possible from the letters they earn. Make sure your students spell words with at least three or four letters as you play.

  5. 5

    Spelling Bee

    A Spelling Bee is a classic spelling game which will help your students spell and review words from their vocabulary lists. Divide your class into two teams and have each team stand along an opposite wall of the classroom. Give one word at a time to each student, alternating teams. If the student spells the word correctly, she goes to the end of the line until her turn comes up again. If she spells the word incorrectly, she sits down. The last team standing wins. This game is a great way to review vocabulary or spelling words before a comprehensive test.

  6. 6

    Find the Vowels

    Make a set of go fish cards using spelling words. For each spelling word, write the word on one card minus the vowels in the word (for example “H—D”). On another card, write the vowels which complete that word (for example, -EA-“). Students play the card game go fish style by matching the spelling word with the vowels it needs to complete the word. You can add cards to the set as you add spelling words throughout the year.

  7. 7

    Invisible Man

    For a team spelling game, draw two stick figures on the board. Each figure should have the same number of parts. The goal is to make your team’s stick man invisible before the other team does. Give each team a word to spell. If they spell it correctly, erase one piece of the stick figure. If they do not spell the word correctly, leave the stick figure unchanged. Then repeat with two new words. The first team to make his man invisible wins!

  8. 8

    Magnetic Letters

    Using a magnetic board and a few sets of magnetic letters (available in most stores), see which player can create the most words in a set amount of time, around five minutes, from his set of letters. After the five minutes is up, check the words and explain any unfamiliar vocabulary. The person with the highest number of words wins the game.

  9. 9

    Word Search

    A word search is a fun way for students to review spelling words. Give each person a sheet of graph paper and have him write the spelling words in the grid before filling in the remaining boxes. Have students exchange their word searches and see who can find all the vocabulary words first.

  10. 10

    Spell Hopscotch

    For an outside spelling game, have students draw a hopscotch board on the playground.

    Give each person a word to spell as she jumps through the boxes. If she spells the word wrong, she must repeat that word on her next turn. The first person to get through the entire board wins.

What are your favorite spelling games?

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