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Unlocking Literacy Fun: Games with Decodable Words


You already understand that laying the foundation for literacy is crucial for students’ success. Sometimes it feels challenging to help them build those skills. Decodable words are one super powerful skill you can (and should!) be adding to your literacy lesson plans! Keep reading to remember why decodable words are so important and how to use them in fun ways for your early reader. Hint— it’s all about the games with decodable words!

What are Decodable Words?

Here’s a quick refresh– decodable words follow consistent phonetic patterns. Because of their predictable structures, they are easier for early readers to sound out. 


Decodable words usually include simple letter-sound combinations so students can begin to apply their knowledge of phonics and begin to read independently.


  • Cat
  • Hop
  • Spin
  • Wish
  • Team

Why is It Important to Practice Decodable Words?

Research supports that children learn to read by decoding. 

Readers improve their segmenting, blending, decoding, word recognition, and fluency as they practice decodable words in sentences and text. 

By practicing these words in sentences and text, early readers can practice sounding out words using phonetic skills instead of only guessing what the words are from pictures or other clues in the text.

As they successfully use these strategies, students also build reading independence. Self-confidence rises too!

There is so much value in repeated exposure to decodable words in sentences and text. When building reading fluency abilities, practice and repetition are key to mastery!

How to Use Decodable Words in Instruction

Incorporating decodable words into learning doesn’t need to cause you stress! Choose ready-to-use resources and easy games to play with your students to make learning and practicing decodable words fun and memorable.

This Decodable Word Card Set includes 640 decodable word cards WITH sentences. Assessment checklists and practice lists for home practice are also included to truly make teaching a breeze for you!

All word cards and lists are aligned with the Science of Reading approach to teaching.

Card sets for the following phonetic patterns are included:

  • Short vowels with CVC patterns
  • Open syllables
  • Consonant blends
  • Digraphs
  • Long vowels with CVCe pattern
  • Vowel teams
  • Diphthongs
  • R controlled vowels


Easily differentiate learning for different leveled readers by using the cards with picture support.

For extra motivation, print these cards on different colors of bright cardstock paper. It will become a fun challenge for students to move on to the next color level!

Adding Decodable Words to Game

Adding decodable words to games is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Choose word cards from the Decodable Word Card Set that best meets the needs of your students. 
  2. Add the cards in a bag or basket with the themed game cards you have also chosen. 
  3. Students take turns picking a card and reading it.

Children get to read the word in isolation, read it in text, and practice decoding every time they get a card! 

Get your own FREE set of game cards to try these fun games as soon as today! 

This free set includes the following game card sets:

  • Apples
  • Scarecrows
  • Halloween
  • Turkeys
  • Gingerbread
  • Snowmen
  • Valentines
  • Leprechauns
  • Spring
  • Bunnies
  • Ocean Fun


With all of these options, you’ll be ready to play games with decodable words ALL YEAR LONG!

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More Games with Decodable Words

There are other fun game possibilities to consider too! Think about your students’ interests as you create even more fun ways to practice decodable words with your students.

Add decodable words to themed sensory bins like this Fall Harvesting Word Game.

Also, try this editable Grab Those Gumballs game for small groups or literacy centers in your classroom. 

*You can also play any of these games with these sight word cards with decodable sentences.

More Ways to Use Decodable Word Cards

Not only are the Decodable Word Cards perfect for easy games, but they’re great to use when introducing a new phonics skill, for warm-up in small groups, or for home practice!

The included assessment checklists also make evaluating students so simple. 

Check out these other activities to practice decoding words for even more ideas!

By infusing learning with playful activities and games with decodable words, you create an environment where students are eager to participate and excited to learn. Remember, the goal is not just to teach foundational literacy skills but to instill confidence and a love of reading that will last students a lifetime!

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Emily Yerty

I’m a teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

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FREE Word Games for ALL YEAR!

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