Digraph Dominoes

A domino game designed to supplement my digraph handouts. Many thanks to user vaudeville for their phonics domino game, which I used as a basis for this one.

First, this game is based on this ( submission from another user, and it's a great bet if you're looking for a phonics game that doesn't rely on the digraph materials I've already posted. My dominoes game is definitely harder than the one that I linked, so you should definitely check out the linked one if mine doesn't serve your purposes!

I haven't invented too many rules because as I've said, the game is hard. I mainly want to encourage students to work together to connect the cards. The cards have the digraphs underlined for easier identification, and there are 2 supplementary handouts that will help them to remember which digraphs make the same sounds. The matches do not have to share a color (black can match with white).

The game is best played with 2-3 people or alone. I think it's best for players to start with 5 cards and keep 5 cards in their hand until they have run out of cards in the draw pile.

All this said, feel free to invent your own rules!

The regular phonics dominoes can be printed on standard A4 paper. The large template is for A3 paper and can be used to accomodate students who have impaired vision or need larger dominoes for another reason.

Submitted by awing March 4, 2024 Estimated time: 15-20 minutes
  1. GemTheGaijin March 7, 2024

    This looks great, thanks for sharing! I'm not familiar with digraphs, I'll probably read up before using this, but I'm finding the supplements useful. I do have a question though, and please bear with my set-up.

    I noticed "girl" is listed under the ア digraph, and at first I thought that was strange because to me it's more of an "er" sound. But then I came to オッ and compared "fork" to "work". Similar spelling, different sound. Personally I'd place "work" with "girl", having an "er" sound, but maybe that's just my accent. So my question is this: because there's not a sound similar to "er" in Japanese, are these words pronounced with an ア instead? Like ガール and ワーク? And is that how students are taught to pronounce them?

    Sorry for the essay! Just trying to check I understand the resource. Either way I think I'll be using this in a future lesson :)

  2. Dan753 March 8, 2024


    I only teach 6th year ES and above, so I don't see a lot of the teaching methods for very basic introductions, but the way I've experienced all pronunciation teaching goes from the students listening to me or the recordings say the word, and if they want katakana they have to transcribe it themselves. Like you said, there are several vowel noises (among other things) that are not present in Japanese, and it's best they hear and try to copy the correct sounds, rather than starting by reading a katakana approximation that will result in the wrong sound from the start.

  3. awing March 8, 2024

    I also pronounce "work" more like "girl," so this is a total oversight on my part (I think there's a "wor" trend here as "word" is the same but not "ford"). But, you're right in your guess that students are typically taught to pronounce those words with ア. I've noticed that "er" is exceptionally hard for Japanese students to pronounce, so while I hate teaching with katakana English, I think it's a necessary evil in this case.

    In hindsight, I should not have included "work" or any compound word with it, as it unnecessarily complicates the activity. You can either choose to call attention to this or pretend as if it is pronounced the same as "fork." (I will probably update the material when I have time and upload a corrected version)

  4. GemTheGaijin March 12, 2024

    Thanks for the replies! No worries, it's a great resource ^_^

Sign in or create an account to leave a comment.