This activity is an update on an old spelling-game classic—Hangman. This update uses a flower instead of a person. Draw 8-10 petals on the flower stem with a pencil or dry erase marker if using a laminated sheet or page protector. Put the target spelling words in a cup or a bag. Have your student randomly draw one word and “take a picture” of it in their mind. They can look at the word until they feel they have a good enough picture. Then the card gets put away and regular Hangman rules apply. Write a line for each letter of the word and identify the number of vowels (to help with guessing). Cross off each letter as you guess it. If you guess incorrectly, erase a petal from the flower.
Flower-Power Spelling is an excellent activity to add to your literacy intervention toolbox. This activity works on an overlooked property of literacy skills—the development of mental orthographic images (MOIs). MOIs are the visual representations we store that lead to automatic and fluent word recognition and spelling. Focusing on making a picture and recalling the spelling during this game builds this skill. Use language such as “picture”, “see”, and “visualize” the word as you play to engage this visual component of reading and spelling. This activity also targets orthographic knowledge as the student uses what they know about long vowel patterns to make educated guesses when it’s their turn to figure out which word is being spelled.