How to Play

Button Spelling Posters 

These can be used for direct teaching and display around the classroom or at home. It is worth talking through the visual mnemonics when the children see them for the first time. Here are a few hints on how you might do this. 

  • Ask the child to spell the word before showing them the image. They may already be able to spell it, in which case move on to another word. If they can't, listen carefully and see where they pause or make mistakes to help you identify the difficult letters. 
  • Alternatively, wait until they spell the word wrong in their writing and use this opportunity to introduce the mnemonic.
  • Ask the child to talk through the picture - what can they see? What does it look like? Why are these letters highlighted in red? Which letters do they struggle to remember? Which bit sticks in their mind? 
  • Spell the word together a few times, then take the card away and ask them to spell it again without looking at the mnemonic. 
  • Keep the session fairly short (a few minutes) and repeat soon - perhaps later in the day, or the next day. Do this a few times and gradually stretch out the time between sessions - twice a week, once a week - as the correct spelling becomes more secure. 
  • Only cover a few words at a time. Teaching homophones together (there, they're and their, hear and here, peace and piece, stationary and stationery) is particularly effective.

Button Spelling Card Game 

Button Spelling is a card game for two players. You can play with one deck (30 cards) or two decks (60 cards) or just a subset if you want to focus on particular words.

The card game can be used in conjunction with the posters, or on its own. The game is a fun way to practise what a child has learnt through using the posters. However, if they have never seen the visual mnemonics before, it might be worth spending a little time talking through the images as described above. (But even if you don't, they soon understand how it works). 

Shuffle the cards and place them face down in between you. The first player takes a card and reads out the word at the top, and the clue (?) if there is one. The second player has to spell the word. They can write it down too if that helps. 

If they spell the word correctly first time, they win the card. If they spell it incorrectly, the card goes to the bottom of the pile. Players keep taking turns until all cards have been won. Difficult cards can come up several times until one player can get the spelling right - this is an integral feature of the game, as it provides extra practice for both players on the trickiest words. 

Once all cards have been won, players count up their scores, according to the colour on the top of the card: red cards 1 point, orange cards 2 points, yellow cards 3 points, green cards 4 points, blue cards 5 points, purple cards 6 points. 

A few hints to ensure successful games:

  • The game works best with players of similar ability levels, so try to match children for ability if you can. If not, the more (or less) able player becomes bored (or discouraged).
  • If this is impossible, for example when older and younger siblings play together, encourage the older/more able to child to support the younger/less able, and celebrate their success, not just beat them. 
  • You can change the scoring system in favour of the younger/less able child (eg they score double for each card they win) so they are able to compete on a par with the older/more able child. 
  • Alternatively, you can pick a subset of cards for each player to work on, and put them in two piles. Each player only gets asked to spell the words on their cards, and the player who gets the highest number of spellings correct first time is the winner. In this way, a 6-year-old can play with a 12-year-old. 

If you have any further questions, suggestions or feedback, please email hello @ - we'd love to hear from you.