BAH 3: sample materials

Below, is a brief description of the sample materials from Blending a Hand 3 which can be found on this web site. A complete set of Gridlock cards, as well as other samples, are provided for your benefit. Blending a Hand 3 can be ordered from

Gridlock Cards

A beginner-level phonics illustrated card-game that involves reading / spelling regularly decodable words. The cards come in four sets and are divided into two levels.

In the first two sets, the emphasis is on rime-based word families. For example, the card that practices the rime "ell" shows the word and picture "bell" on the face-side and, on the back side, the words and pictures "fell, spell, yell, well, hell, bell". The second two sets emphasis single and double-letter phonemes. The card for "spoon", for example, shows the word and picture "spoon" on one side and, on the other side, the words and pictures "baboon, food, lagoon, zoo, bedroom, spoon". Each set consists of 28 cards. Print out each set with the keywords on the front and the corresponding word-family/phoneme-groups on the back; then, laminate and cut into four (A4 card; 10x14 cm cards).

Gridlock Cards samples (complete set)



Gridlock: (2 or more players, singly or in groups) lay 25 cards with the keyword side face up in a 5x5 grid (unused cards placed to side). A student chooses a card to read by rolling 2 dice to select "card-coordinates" (e .g., a roll of 3 & 4 refers to the the 3rd card in the 4th row, or the 3rd card in the 4th column; 6s are wild), if both cards have already been taken then play passes to the next person or group, the same student then reads the keyword of that card, turns over and reads all the words on the back, then places a colored counter or chip on the read card. The game can be scored, if you like, as you would a large Tic Tac Toe game; e.g., give 0 points for one chip, 1 point for every two in a line, 3 points for every three in a line, 5 points for every four in a line and 7 points for every five in a line, alternatively give 1 point for each chip; I don't score the game unless asked to by the students.

Track race: (2 or more players, singly or in groups) lay all 28 cards in a circuit with the keywords face up. A student rolls one die, moves his/her counter forward, reads the keyword and then rolls the second die, and then the teacher or fellow-player reads aloud the correspondingly numbered word from the back of the same card and asks the student write the word on the board (e.g., if student lands on the "house" keyword card and then throws a 4, he/she would then be asked to spell the word "cloud"). The first player or team to race around the circle one or more times can then dictate words for the other team/s. The whole class can then check the spelling.

The first game can be teacher controlled and the teacher asks the students to spell the words. In subsequent games, the students play with minimal assistance from the teacher and they dictate words to each other.


"Switchit" is a new card game similar to the UNO type game "Switch", which was produced by the British company, Learning Development Aids. The main difference between the two games is that all the words in "Switchit" are phonically regular, strictly controlled and divided into levels, making it highly suitable for young learners in an EFL situation; "Switch" on the other hand, has many phonically irregular words and the difficulty level of the vocabulary is not controlled, making it unsuitable for young learners in Japan.

Here is a brief description of the game: Switchit is a six level card game, level 1 has a vocabulary of 234 words, 130 words are taken from Coloring Worksheets level 1, which includes all the vocabulary from the first 10 units of Finding Out book 1 by David Paul, the other 104 words include 26 "monster" names, nonwords which challenge students to use their reading abilities to decode the words. Level 1 game is split into four packs, based upon initial sounds, pack 1 has the initial sounds a b m h f and r, there are nine of each sound and each one is individually color-coded. All of the words can be read by students who have studied the single alphabet sounds and done some blending work. For example the /a/ vocabulary is: ant, album, anthill, abacus, asparagus, anggon, anvil, Aztec and Africa. There are also 7 Switchit cards in each pack which allow the player to change the sound or color of the card to be played. A backing card, a rules card and title cards have also been made.

Each of the other five levels has a vocabulary of 144 words per level, many of the words are found in the Finding Out series. The total vocabulary of Switchit is over 1000 words.

Switchit samples (complete Level 1 Pack 1)

L1 Switchit card 1
Switchit backs


Picture Posters

My level 1 Picture Posters (Alphabet Posters) are printed in full color using a bookman font. They have seven vocabulary items each, including all the vocabulary from Finding Out 1, units 1 through 10, and the 'anchor words' from the textbook. For example, the 'Aa' vocabulary is: abacus, ant, anthill, album, asparagus (all from the Coloring Worksheets), Africa and apple (the anchor word).

If possible, have a permanent display of your posters in the classroom. The students can use these to improve their vocabulary and spelling. To prevent copying, I have chosen a font size that is difficult to read from their seats and I don't allow the learners to take their pencils with them when they go to check a spelling. I have printed out my own posters to a B5 size, this seems just right for my classroom as they can see many of the pictures from the writing area but the font is difficult for them to see without getting up and going to the poster. A popular game you can play with these posters is 'Word Rush'. There are a number of variations but in this version, you lay your alphabet cards or double sound cards face up on the table. The student chooses a card, finds the poster, reads and remembers as many words as possible. Then he takes the card to the teacher (sometimes a student), recites as many words as possible and receives a chip or point for each word before proceeding to the next card.

There are 7 levels of Picture Posters, level 2 has all the vocabulary from Finding Out 1 units 11 through 15 and level 3 will also be particularly useful for use with Finding Out 2. Each level, from 2 to 7, has 16 posters to a level which cover almost every phoneme/spelling pattern that you could wish to teach. These picture posters also for the beginnings of word lists with words grouped by phoneme/spelling pattern, which can help you when designing your own teaching materials and activities.

Picture Posters samples


Anchor Posters

For every Picture Poster there is an Anchor Poster, matching the anchor words found in Finding Out, these can be placed alongside your Picture Posters in your classroom. Each poster has a phoneme/spelling (grapheme) pattern with an anchor picture below it. Each grapheme is coloured red with a black outline and is done in a large font and each picture is readily seen from a distance. This means that when a child asks me "How do you spell (goat)?", then I usually just say "oa boat" and the child looks up quickly finds the poster and gets back to his or her writing.

Once your students get used to using the posters, then they will find them invaluable during writing activities. It's like having a giant colourful picture dictionary all around you.

Anchor Posters samples



If you have any questions or comments about these worksheets, games and materials then please don't hesitate to contact me. Also, if you find any errors in the worksheets then please let me know.
David Lisgo

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