Guess the Secret Code

Rachel Owens

Rationale: Blending means smoothly joining phonemes to come up with a pronunciation close enough to a word to access the word. I want the students to demonstrate understanding of letter-sound relationships like blending sounds to form words (AL COS 1.4).

Materials: paper, pen, note cards, board, markers, hat, desks, students


1. Introduce students to phoneme blending. Explain what blending means: joining sounds of a word to form a word.

2. Tell the students they will be playing a game called Secret Code where they will be divided into two groups. The teacher will say a word in her secret code and the first group to guess the word correctly will get a point. The team with the most points after two rounds will be the winner.

3. The teacher will choose 12-15 words to use for the first round, and 12-15 to use for the second round.

4. The teacher can explain the difference between the first and second rounds. “The first round I will put words on paper, and pull one at a time out. I will read the word in my secret code, and whoever raises their hand first and answers correctly will receive a point. The second round I will do the same, but the words will be split into two parts. I will say the first part and then the second part, and whoever raises their hand and guesses the words correctly wins a point. The points will be doubled in the second round. The team with the most points at the end of both rounds will win!”

5. “I will now divide you into your two equal groups.”

6. The teacher will begin the game with the first round.

Example words to choose from: bike, ball, kite, moon, nose, pig, tub, fox, witch, lock, vine, ring, house, jet, zest, head, soap, chain.

7. When that round is over, the teacher will add up all the points and then begin the second round. She will have new words to use for this round, and the points will be doubled.

8. After finishing the game, the teacher will total all the points and find the winner. If there is a tie, a tie breaker will be available (Have another word selected maybe one they have never heard, or a multi-syllable word).

9. When completely done with the game, ask students if they know the reason for playing the game, or if they remember what blending is. “Class in using my secret code you had to do what (blend) to figure out the word?” Make sure they understand the concept of blending the sounds of a word. Also, the teacher could introduce onset and rime to the students in an elementary level if she felt the need to. The teacher will assess the students understanding during the game by having different students answer the questions and hear them blending words. Also, she will check for understanding by asking questions at the end of the game, making sure the students have a good grip on blending phonemes.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding: Why and How. New Jersey, Pearson Education, Inc, 2005, p. 79.

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