First Grade Reading Games

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Rhyming Games

Recognizing and reading rhyming words is a big part of the first grade curriculum. First grade reading games are a great way to practice rhyming words.

Students will become involved with something fun like a concentration or memory game. Choose a word family to practice such as “-at”. Divide students into pairs and give each child in the pair a stack of five to seven index cards. Have each student in the class copy “-at” words selected by the teacher from the whiteboard, chalkboard, or Smartboard. For example, words might include cat, sat, mat, hat, etc. Each child should write the same words.

Once each student has written the words on index cards, have each pair combine and shuffle their cards and place them face down in rows to play memory. Students take turns flipping two cards over, reading the words on each card, and seeing if there is a match. When a match is discovered, the student keeps the cards. The student with the most matches wins.

Another fun rhyming game can be done quickly on the whiteboard or chalkboard. Divide students into two teams. Two students come up to the board. The teacher says a word such as “top” and the first student to write the word earns a point for his or her team. Subsequent words should rhyme with the first word - such as mop, hop, stop, etc. The students only need to change the beginning letters to make the correct word.

Sight Word Games

Sight words can be difficult for students to learn because sight words do not follow phonics rules and must be memorized. Sight word Bingo is a fun way to practice these words. Use a Bingo board template or Bingo game card generator (one can be found online at DLTK) to create boards customized with the sight words currently being studied in class.

Pass out Bingo boards and markers. Decide how difficult the game should be by either reading the word aloud without showing it to students or reading it aloud while showing the card with the word to the students. When a student has Bingo, he or she must read the covered words aloud in order to claim a prize and be the winner.

Another sight word game is a version of “I Spy”. This game works especially well if there is a word wall in the classroom that all students can see, but it can be adapted by giving each group of students a copy of a sight word list to use. Divide students into groups of three to four. Have the students take turns giving clues about various sight words. Some ideas for clues include the beginning and ending letter of the word, number of letters in each word, etc. The student doing the guessing would need to find the correct word on the word wall or word list and read it aloud correctly.

First Grade Success!

These games are simple and easy to adapt to a variety of skills that need to be practiced for success in first grade. They also work well for small groups of students as well as whole classrooms. Students will enjoy practicing their reading skills with these first grade reading games.


DLTK Bingo generator at