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The Third Letter Game (all grades)


Author: David Hopkins, Maryland


Subject: Any


Objective: Students will demonstrate word knowledge and spelling, as well as quick thinking and social poise.


Materials and Preparation:


  • Board space for writing words and keeping a running score

  • Markers (or chalk) and eraser


The 3rd Letter Game can be set up quickly. Establish a "batting" order ensuring that all students will get a chance to play.


Students earn additional time allotted for the game during class time prior to playing.


Student Grouping: Individuals, small groups or two large groups


The Play: The basic idea is to write a word that begins with the 3rd letter of the preceding word. Students get a point for each letter of their correctly spelled words (i.e. the longer, the better). The teacher writes the first word on the board to get it started. Afterwards, the teacher becomes referee, score- and time-keeper. In order, students come to the board to write their words under the previous word (beginning with its 3rd letter). The action should be fast -- requiring quick thinking. Misspelled words are erased and no points are earned.


Scoring: Students get 1 point for each letter of correctly spelled words. Proper nouns and variations of previously written words are not allowed.


Further Play: Teachers can choose to double the points for words particular to their discipline; for example,"distribution" (math), "explorers" (soc. studies), "equinox" (science), etc.



resume (earns 6 pts)


specialties (11 pts)


economic (8 pts)


origional (misspelled-erased-0 pts)


orderly (7 pts)


etc, etc.


Comments or Variations: I used this activity long ago when I taught German, which allows the construction of long nouns. The kids loved it, but I didn't know why, or how to use it as an incentive.


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