It’s easy come, easy go in this fast paced game for reinforcing word family patterns.


A ready-made short a/long a Capture game is now available on Teachers Pay Teachers under my seller name, On Your Mark.



You take turns picking cards from the deck in the middle of the table. You read the word and place it face up on the table in front of you. If the word follows the same phonetic principle as another player’s face-up card (in this case, it has a short a, or alternatively, a long a), you get to capture his/her word. As the game progresses, words of one kind will accumulate in front of a player, making a delicious haul for potential capture on your turn.

Be sure to have the players read all the captured words on each and every turn. If one is misread, the teacher should correct it; but the player still gets to keep it. If a player forgets to read the cards they’ve captured, they have to return the cards to the previous “owner.” This stipulation as well as the rapid pace at which the cards are “won” and “lost” makes this an exciting game for kids. The winner is the player with the most cards in front of him or her when the deck runs out.

The word cards I’ve made consist of words that are short a closed syllables or vowel-consonant-e long a syllables that have a variety of other features. You will have to choose the words that best suit your purpose. There are many with b’s and d’s if your kids need practice discriminating between those; there are some words with beginning consonant blends, and some with ending blends as well as consonant digraphs. Figure on having each student get five turns if you’re playing with 6 kids, so you’ll need to pick 30 cards. If your group is significantly smaller, each child can have a few more turns. You’ll still want a deck of roughly 30 cards–just be sure each player will get an equal number of turns.


One thing I love about this game is that it’s so adaptable. With older kids you can do adjectives that end in -ful, -less, -ive, and -ous, or “families” of vocabulary words: seeing words like glance, gaze, peer vs. eating words like devour, gorge, etc. Even fourth graders enjoy the fast action and the surprise element of seeing where the cards land at the end of the game.