by Vera Conway
The idea of teaching phonics through games was first conceived out of sheer desperation when I met my first un-cooperative pupil. he told me confidently "I do not need to learn to read because I am going to be an actor!" As he was then only seven years old and quite unable to project his mind into the future, no argument of mine could convince him to believe otherwise.
A year later when this boy was diagnosed as being severely dyslexic he was triumphant. He stubbornly closed his mind to everyone's attempts to help him and his behaviour in school gave much cause for concern, but our lessons continued. I spent two hours with him each week and, in spite of himself, he learned to read and write. The almost miracle was achieved by means of games we played together, which he actually enjoyed.
Since then, my phonic games have been played time and time gain with pupils who have a variety of problems as well as those who appear to learn to read and write without experiencing any difficulties. As I saw more and more pupils benefitting from playing games, I wanted to share them with other pupils - both old and young - so that they can experience the joy and laughter that comes with learning to read and spell.
I also hope that parents and teachers of all kinds will become better acquainted with the simple logic of teaching reading and spelling by phonics (sounds).
Vera's games are published in books by hopscotch. But you can now have access to some of Vera's games by visiting Lilibettes Resources where you will find many games with a small price-tag that you can purchase, download and print, either in colour or black and white. They are simple to play and bring much enjoyment to the phonic lesson. Each game comes with instructions.
Joanne taught for many years in a London state primary school, having responsibility for the teaching of reading.