Short A vs Long A Game | -am words and -ame words | Free Printable

Short A vs Long A

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Teach Short A vs Long A using a fun game. This game consists of a free printable and children put together letters to form either “-am” or “-ame” words.

Every good teacher must take a little time to evaluate what is working and what is not. They must sit back and examine the ins and out of their day, and the learning taking place.

Are the routines working? Did the centers add to the learning or just provide downtime? How does this teaching style rate with the students in your class this year?

In a recent evaluation of my son’s kindergarten year, I knew I needed to get rid of my scattered approach to our Word Study time.

Word study is a little new to me. Most of my teaching career has been in upper elementary where we focus on developing comprehension and vocabulary, not studying phonics.

Short A vs Long A game on a wooden table with dice and playing pieces.

Short A and Long A Words

There was one year spent in lower grades, but that was the year I had the twins. Needless to say, I was incredibly huge and uncomfortable.

That uncomfortableness turned into sleep deprivation and walking around in an exhausted fog. That was a year of survival, not a year to figure out how to do a word study.

Since scanning Pinterest for a fun activity wasn’t working as well as I wanted, I decided I needed a little help. I ordered a book called Systematic Word Study.

I figured I could give it a try and if it works I’d have a great place to begin for next year. If it didn’t, I’d still have time to find something that would work for us next year.

I have to say that we really enjoyed the first week. The lessons only took about 15 minutes! Sometimes we leave it at that, and other times it allows me to pull in other activities to enhance what we are working on.


The week starts off by building words. The letters are provided for you as well as a list of words that the letters can make.

This is always a fun activity and since it requires no prep, it was a great start to the week.

DAY 2 and 3

I loved the dictation and sentence builder activities on days 2 and 3. We were really able to focus on capital letters and periods.

N has been inconsistent with this in his writing, but this activity allowed us to discuss and interact with proper nouns and the beginning of sentences.

He enjoyed searching for the capital letters and then explaining why that letter was a capital. I’ve noticed that the sentence lessons do change halfway through the book, which is probably a good thing.

It is great for now, but it would get boring if we continued to do it.


The fourth lesson is a rhyming lesson. We changed this a little bit and ended up making -am and -ame words, focusing on short a vs long a.

Short A vs Long A word pieces with a little boy pointing towards the "m".


Day 5 is a fun day of studying words. You get to give out clues and the students search through the words provided to find the correct word. I loved the questions.

“Look for a word that rhymes with frame.”

“What word means opposite?”

“What word fits in this sentence?”

“What word starts or ends with the “M” sound?”

Short A vs Long A Game

Short A vs Long A game on a wooden table with dice and game pieces.

We celebrated the end of the first week with a fun game.

Words with Long A Games: What you need

Using my learning cubes, I created dice that had the ending sounds -am and -ame on them and printed them off on colored paper. The other three dice had beginning sounds.

My kiddos would roll the colored die and then one of the other. If what they rolled made a real word, they got to roll a number die and move up on the game board.

Prep Work

To begin, cut out the cards with “am” and “ame” on them and place them in one learning cube. Decide if you want to work on just CVC words or CCVC words, or if you want to mix it up.

Place the consonants that you want to use in the other learning cube.

The next step is to cut out the direction cards, grab some game markers, and a die and you are ready to go.

Short A vs Long A: How to Play

Start by having the first player roll two learning cubes. Put the letter together and have the children say the word they created.

If they created a real word, they may roll the die and move up that many spaces. If they land on a colored circle, their turn is over. If they land on a monster, they get to pull a direction card.

The player does whatever the card says to do and their turn is over. The next player repeats what player one did. This continues until a player gets to end.

They are the winner and the game is over.

How Short A vs Long A went for us.

The game was designed for my  five-year-old, but of course my four- year- old wanted to play. Even my two-year-old hung around for a few minutes. My four-year-old is awesome at sight

My four-year-old is awesome at sight words but has struggled in putting words together after he sounds them out. We are working through other words, and he has really struggled with the -ig lesson.

He knows what b sounds like and he knows what -ig sounds like, but putting it together to say big has been difficult. Maybe our hard work has paid off, or maybe playing a game where I had absolutely no expectations for him worked.

Maybe our hard work has paid off, or maybe playing a game where I had absolutely no expectations for him worked. Either way, he was doing really well figuring out the -am words on his own.

It surprised me when he figured out Sam without any help. I had planned on just letting him play and modeling how to sound out words, but he was able to do some on his own! YEA!!

My five-year-old had a blast and did very well in remembering that “am”  words have a short a, while “ame” words have a long a sound.

Overall, it was a successful week of word study, and one I hope to recreate weekly. Yea!

For the Long A sound, I have another activity in another post.

Long A Words vs Short A Words Game Printable

Below is the free long A words vs short A words game printable. You can download this printable by clicking on the download button, then saving it to your device and printing it.

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