Another 12 decks of vowel-focussed playing cards

2 Replies

Just in time for our thank-goodness-winter-is-over school holidays, here’s a dozen more vowel-sound-focussed playing card decks, including two freebies, to download and print.

These decks are a little more advanced than the previous ones available here, here and here. They reflect the teaching sequence used in the Phonic Books Talisman 1/Rescue Series and the Sounds-Write program‘s Extended Code section and books, but can be used with other synthetic phonics teaching sequences and programs.

The decks work from sound to print, and focus on the following sound-spelling relationships:

  • /ay/ as in “mistake”, “contain”, “holiday”, “navy”, “obey” and “great”.
  • /ee/ as in “coffee”, “disease”, “secret”, “carry”, “believe”, “protein” and “compete”.
  • /oe/ as in “remote”, “roast”, “follow”, “hero” and “mangoes”.
  • /er/ as in “swerve”, “circle”, “burnt”, “search” and “worth”.
  • /ou/ as in “aloud” and “trowel”, and /oy/ as in “point” and “destroy”.
  • /oo/ as in “smooth”, “rule”, “true”, “fluid”, “jewel” and “group”.
  • /igh/ as in “delight”, “despite”, “crisis”, “apply” and “allies”.
  • /or/ as in “porch”, “before” and “drawn”.
  • /or/ as in “stall”, “chalk”, “brought”, “daughter”, “author” and “warm” (there were so many spellings of this sound they wouldn’t fit in a single deck).
  • /air/ as in “chair”, “declare”, “bear”, “where” and “their”.
  • /ar/ as in “charm”, “past”, “calm”, “heart” and “aunt”.
  • One deck of high-frequency words with a mixture of the above sound-spelling relationships (not available separately, but included to bring this set up to a dozen decks).

The decks can be downloaded individually (starting from the third item here) or as a discounted bundle of 12. We suggest printing the cards on A4 200gsm cardboard, available from major stationery shops, which can be used in most printers/photocopiers.

If you plan to use the cards a lot, we suggest laminating them, though this is not essential if you’d rather not add to the planetary plastic overload. We recommend that children be encouraged to practise their scissor skills by cutting them up, rounding the corners if a more professional look is sought.

All the decks can be used for any card game requiring a standard deck of cards, from very simple games of chance like War to complex strategic ones like Mancala.  See this previous blog post for videos of other suggested games.

We hope these cards give many children many hours of well-targeted, high-intensity repeated reading practice, cleverly disguised as fun. Thanks once again to Caitlin Stephenson for the original idea and design.


2 thoughts on “Another 12 decks of vowel-focussed playing cards

  1. Alistair Forge

    Hi Alison,
    I’m just wondering where you envisage the actual reading/literacy part of the card games taking place? I’ve just watched your how to play spit video, (what a great game!), but the reluctant readers I work with would just ignore the text on the cards, just as they will ignore the graphics on normal playing cards. Am I missing something? How do you see it working?
    – Thanks again.

    1. alison Post author

      Hi Alistair, yes, the kids I work with would rather just play the games and not read the words too, but I make it a condition of playing that everyone must read the word on every card they play. This is easy enough to do in 1:1 and small groups, but I can see how it would be quite a supervision task in a whole class. I used to teach English in Mexico and had some games that could be played without using any English, which of course kids would try to do, so I’d say “if I find anyone playing without (doing the required language practice), a mark will go on the board. Three marks and the game’s over and we’ll do dictation (or whatever they disliked doing)”. Then I just had to work the room and provide feedback and catch out the slackers, and once they’d tested out whether I really was serious about dictation they would mostly comply. Your learners might be made of sterner stuff, in which case these games would only be suitable for use in smaller groups, 1:1 or maybe as home practice? Could you send printed decks home for them to cut up and practice, and use a sample of the words on each deck as their spelling words? All the best, Alison


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *