What's Gnu?

by Kathryn

How to use the What's Gnu Game for developing early reading and vocabulary skills.
Number of Players: Up to 6
Ages: 5+
Target: Teaches early word recognition and word building skills. Useful for identifying rhyming words and patterns.

I was really happy to find What's Gnu? As a spelling game that I can use with younger children and those who are just starting to get the idea of phonics.

Did you ever play some of the more advanced spelling games like Scrabble or Boggle with your kids and they only came up with 3 letter words? If so, then this game is at a level they can succeed at.

There are 2 levels of play and like all word games, this is going to need to be played with an adult alongside for encouragement.

At the beginners level, the word card provides 2 out of 3 letters and players must use the “letter getter” provided to find the one missing letter to make a 3 letter word.

To make it harder, just flip over the cards and you will find only 1 letter is provided. Kids then need to find 2 letters needed to complete the word.

If I had a complaint about this game it would be that the letters are written in upper case. It depends on how your school district teaches but these days most would begin with lower case letter recognition.

In order to play, you need your child to be familiar with letters in both upper and lower case and to be getting the idea in how to blend them together to make words.

Using the What’s Gnu? Game in Speech Therapy

Phonics and Spelling

Like so many of my games in my kit bag, I’m unlikely to play this game straight out of the box unless I know the kids I am working with are going to get it right off.

I would be more inclined to use the cards and tiles (and of course the ever popular “letter getter”) to make up my own version of the game. I carefully select letters and sounds that I know my kids will be able to blend. Usually these are ones that have been covered in class in recent weeks and we use them to recap.

Generally children will be able to identify the beginning sound of a word first so I select cards that have the last 2 letters provided and we search for the first sound.

If they need help I will prompt “Ok so we have ap, which of these could be the beginning sound for this word?” I will then start to “ponder” on them myself out loud – giving thinking time for the child “h – ap? No, that doesn’t make a word, let me see..."

If they are ready for this game, then they will be able to jump in and find the correct combination within a few seconds.

Once they can confidently make words with my help like this, then I move them onto the beginning level of the game and then eventually onto playing against another child.

This game is basic but really hits the spot for a fun game for early readers and spellers or those needing some extra help.

Now you know all there is to know about the game – you are ready to play. Have fun!
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Top Talking Tips...

Sing Nursery Rhymes and Action Songs

Traditional songs and rhymes have hand actions that let your child join in and take a turn, even before they can sing the words.

This helps to work on listening, attention, imitation and turntaking, all important skills for Speech and Language development!