Scrabble letters

These activities all use letters from the classic game of Scrabble.

Jo Budden

It requires a bit of preparation to prepare the scrabble letters but they can be used with all ages and levels so it may well be a good investment of your time.

You need to prepare five sets of scrabble letters (download these below). Imagine the bag of letters you get in a real Scrabble set. You always get more of the most common letters and not so many of the least common. Bear this in mind when preparing your sets. You could either do them by hand or on the computer. I keep my sets in envelopes as they are easy to transport from class to class. It’s a good idea to copy the letters onto different coloured card for each set. If students are working close to each other it makes it easy to separate them at the end and for tasks when you need more letters you can mix two sets together.

Once you have made your sets there are hundreds of things you can do with them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Spelling tests
    Divide the class into teams and give each team a set of Scrabble letters. Get them to spread out the letters on the table so they’re all facing up. Then give clues for words you want to test them on, e.g. ‘the day before Wednesday’ (students spell out TUESDAY on the table by selecting the scrabble letters) or ‘What’s this in English?’ and point to things in the classroom or draw it on the board, etc. Once students get the idea, ask one of them to lead the game and give the clues instead of you.
  • Tenses
    If students are learning the past simple tense, give them the sets of letters and you say the infinitive and they spell out the past simple forms using the letters. E.g. You say ‘go’ and students make ‘went’.
  • Crosswords
    Put students in groups and give each group one set of scrabble letters. Ask them to see how many words they can make with their set connecting them up like a crossword.
  • Race
    How many words can they make in two minutes? In groups students use a set of letters to see how many different words they can make. The winning group makes the most / longest words.

Until you see students in action with the Scrabble letters you may think there’s little point in going to the trouble of making the sets of letters. However, energetic young learners who are constantly fiddling find the sets of letters fascinating. A game of scrabble letters, which is effectively a spelling test, can last for ages and students are always reluctant to stop playing. The more you use the letters, the more uses you’ll find for them.

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