an engaging pronunciation game to practise the confusing sounds


You will need a list of ten one-syllable words.

Choose or make a set of short words containing the target sounds (long and short vowels) or the consonants that the class has problems with.

  • Pet   Pat   Put  Pit   Pete  Pot  Part  Port  Pond  Post
  • Fat  Fed  Fit  Foot  Feet  Feed  Flat  Flute  Fade  Felt 

Draw the table with the numbers 0 to 9 on the board and underneath each number write one of the words.




  1. Drill the words with the class until the students can recognise and reproduce the different sounds.
  2. Tell the class that their task is to decode the message using the table on the board. Start with the short messages, like your favourite number or birthday. Give them the word that represents the digit (e.g. Thick  = 3, or Thing Sin  of April= 26 April, etc.). The learners should write or say the number or the date.
  3. Now, ask the students to decode their partner’s codes.
  4. Once they have  practiced with short numbers, you can make it a bit more challenging by asking them to decode your telephone number. (e.g. Thick-Thin-Thick Thing-Seen Thank-Sink). Learners should write 303-27-95.  Repeat the sequence once or twice and then ask the class what they think your number is. Point out any mistakes and do more drilling practice if needed.


  1. Now, ask students to make up their own seven-digit telephone numbers and then write it down along with its respective word.
  2. Students dictate their numbers to their partner(s) using the symbolic words and the partners transcribe. Students then compare their number strings and identify where any errors were made.
  3. Have students change partners and repeat the activity as many times as necessary.


The activity can be used to practise reading the words with the sounds that the class has a particular problem with.

Live      Leave   Leaf     Life       Live [ai]    Love   Laugh    Loaf   Lav   Lave

adapted from