Word Sorts with Mystery Words: Fun Phonics Practice for Students!

Inspired by Tim Rasinski’s work with “word ladders” and “making and writing words”, Mystery Word Sorts are a word play activity in which students use a limited amount of letters to make both short and long words--eventually trying to discover the thematic “mystery word.”

Back to School Mystery Word Sorts for Phonics Instruction, decoding words making words spelling patterns for kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

Directions for Use

  1. Choose a word sort from the packet--Back to School Sort.

  2. Photocopy for each student.

  3. Have students cut out letters on the bottom.

  4. Students sort letters and record words in columns, based on the length of each word.

  5. Students record Mystery Word on the top line, when discovered. This is the word, which contains ALL of the letters in the set.

  6. Optional: Have students use the free CVC Sorting graphic organizer or other Phonics Sheets, to isolate specific phonological patterns.

Word Sorts to find long and short vowel words: use phonics and spelling patterns to decode and write words based on a longer, scrambled thematic Mystery Word. Reading, writing, phonics, review, introduction, practice or remediation