Kids are more than capable of being great readers, but it can be difficult to motivate them. One way parents may find success is by playing games with their kids that build reading skills and vocabulary at the same time! Word Ladder helps kids work on decoding words while also teaching new words through a game-like experience. Playing word ladder has helped my son develop his fluency and made him much better reader in general–I highly recommend giving this game a try for your own kid today!
So, what is a word ladder ? It’s a game where you begin with one word and then create a sequence of words by changing just one letter from the previous word at a time. Each word in the sequence should be a proper english word. For example, if you want to create a word ladder from TEA -> POT , try TEA->PEA->PET->POT. Ladder grams, Word Golf, and Step word are some of the other names for this game.
It’s a great game for building decoding, spelling, phonics and vocabulary skills which are an essential skill for reading. When kids are replacing letters to make a new word they are examining the letter-sound relationship which is important to recognize familiar words quickly and to correctly pronounce the written words. This is an important skill in order to learn how to decode and spell correctly. The kids might think that they are playing a game but in fact they are developing their important reading skills in a fun way.
How to Play Word LaddER GAME
You can have your kids play this game alone or in a pair. I generally like to play it with my kids.
- Give your kids a starting word and an ending word.
- Make sure the starting and ending words must be the same length (FLY and CRY, or SKIP and THAT)
- Each player change one letter at a time, attempting to move from the starting word to the ending word.
- As a rule, they can not change the order of the letters.
- And each intermediate step must be a valid word.
For example, if your starting word is COLD and ending word is WARM, then you can do it as follows
- WARM (change d – m )
- WARD (change c – w )
- CARD (change o – a )
- CORD ( change l – r )
WORD LADDER EXAMPLES
Here, is a list of words to get you started.
I have also created a word ladder pdf file, the word ladder for Kindergarten is free to download below, all other grade levels can be downloaded from my Tpt store. . The files contains word ladder puzzles with solutions for elementary level grades, but they’re the best kind of problem solving- because it’s not just about what words to use and how many letters are in them -it is all about figuring out where that one letter fits!
Simply click the download icon below to download and print this free printable. This worksheet is available for personal use only; no commercial usage of any kind is permitted.
If you share this printable, please link back directly to this post instead of the PDF.
Give this game a try, and I hope you and your children love it. If that’s the case, try some of my other suggestions here – you won’t regret spending quality time together as well as practicing spelling skills.
Here are some of my latest blog posts which might interest you and give you new ways to teach your kids at home. I hope these ideas spark creativity in your homeschooling!
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- The Complete Guide to Math Art, How to Create it and Where to Find the Best Examples
- MINUTE-TO-WIN-IT HALLOWEEN GAMES
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