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Let's Play a Game...Vowel Sound Match-Up Adventure: Navigating Dyslexia with Engaging Phonics Games

By Julia Simmons-Director of Operations at FunCation Academy

When my son was attending public school, his struggles with reading went unnoticed. He seemed to fly under the radar, and it wasn't until I decided to pull him out that the extent of his difficulties became apparent. Reading posed a significant challenge for him; he couldn't recognize sounds, struggled with sight words, and showed signs of dyslexia. Determined to help him overcome these obstacles, I turned to a three-step method outlined in my blog post titled "Empowering Homeschool Instructors: A Step-by-Step Guide to Boosting Reading Skills." This method emphasized the use of phonics, vocabulary building, and short rhyming poems. Through consistent application of these techniques, my son's reading ability began to grow, and he transformed into a confident reader.

One of the creative ways we incorporated phonics into our daily routine was through engaging games that broke up the monotony of traditional lessons. These games not only made the learning process enjoyable but also played a crucial role in enhancing his reading skills. By addressing the challenges head-on and employing a comprehensive approach, my son not only conquered his reading difficulties but also developed a newfound love for learning. The journey, though challenging, ultimately led to his success, showcasing the power of personalized, focused instruction in the realm of education.

Vowel Sound Match-Up Adventure Game

Materials Needed:

  • Index cards or small pieces of paper

  • Marker

  • Timer (optional)

  • Small container or bag

Game Instructions:


Match words with their corresponding short vowel sounds.


  • Write words on one set of index cards (or pieces of paper) that represent each short vowel sound. For example:

  • Short "a" words: cat, bat, hat, mat, bag, wag, tag, sat, rat, flag

  • Short "e" words: pen, hen, ten, bed, red, leg, beg, pet, net, vet

  • Short "i" words: pig, big, dig, wig, fig, sit, kit, lid, lip, rip

  • Short "o" words: dog, log, jog, hog, frog, hot, pot, dot, lot, cot

  • Short "u" words: bug, rug, mug, hug, jug, bun, sun, fun, run, cup

  • Write the corresponding short vowel sounds on another set of index cards. *I have included a set of printable game cards below.

Vowel Match Up Cards
Download PDF • 123KB


  • Mix up both sets of index cards and place them face down.

  • Each player takes turns flipping over one word card and one short vowel sound card.

  • If the word matches the short vowel sound, the player keeps the pair.

  • If the word and sound don't match, the player flips them back over, and it's the next player's turn.

  • Continue taking turns until all matches are made.


  • Memory Match: Place all cards face down and have players take turns flipping over two cards at a time to find matching pairs.

  • Speed Round: Use a timer to add excitement. Players need to make as many matches as possible within a set time.


After the game, discuss with students and reinforce the correct short vowel sounds for each word. Encourage them to say the word and its corresponding short vowel sound as they make matches.

This game is not only educational but also interactive, making the learning process enjoyable for students. Adjust the difficulty level based on the student's grade and proficiency in phonics.

Are you looking for more fun lesson and activity ideas to support your student's educational journey?

Exact Path includes extensive and creative lesson ideas to help homeschool instructors support their learners.


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