Take a look inside 4 images
Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe Interactive Game
Pros: Different question types test children's phonics knowledge in multiple ways.
Cons: The lack of narration makes it difficult for early readers to play the game, and there's no solo gameplay option.
Bottom Line: Kids can build their phonics knowledge -- if they can read the questions.
In a whole-class setting, a teacher vs. students game could work: Display the game for the whole class to see, and children can answer questions together or take turns. Teachers may also divide the class into two groups and have them play against each another, with group members using their combined knowledge to answer the questions. In a class of beginning or struggling readers, students will need support from an adult or an advanced reader to read the questions. In fact, teachers could intentionally pair stronger readers with weaker readers and have them work together as a team. After introducing the game, teachers may also want to incorporate it as part of a stations activity, where students play a game or two of tic-tac-toe as they rotate through a series of phonics-based stations.
The concept of Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe is simple: It's just like regular tic-tac-toe, but to earn an X or O, students need to correctly answer a phonics question. The first player or team chooses whether to be X or O, and then selects a question from the grid. Multiple-choice questions cover different topics, such as identifying the last two letters in a word, filling in the missing sound, choosing words that contain a specific sound, and counting the number of syllables in a word. Unless teachers are moderating the game, students must read the instructions and answers themselves, because there's no narration for the questions or the answer choices. The first player or team to get three Xs or Os in a row by correctly answering questions wins the game.
Students practicing the basic phonics skills covered in Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe will likely have beginning reading skills. The app offers multiple ways for kids to learn common letter sounds and letter combinations and presents the material through simple and accessible gameplay. However, to play, kids must read those letter sounds, combinations, and even the instructions, on their own. As a result, a lot of the learning potential is lost, especially if early readers want to play on their own. By simply adding a narrator to read the questions or pronounce the letter sounds, a significantly higher number of students -- at different reading levels -- could access and build their phonics skills by playing the game.
Some students will enjoy the element of competition and find it to be motivating. However, other students may prefer to play the game by themselves first in order to build confidence in their skills and improve their familiarity with the game. Adding in a single-player mode or the option to play against the computer could improve the way students experience the game.