The Printable er, ir, ur Game

Up until this point I haven’t spent much time talking about the mechanics of building words.  I promise that I haven’t neglected this very critical part of strengthening reading.


One reason that I’ve waited so long is that when I introduce a skill-building exercise for young learners, I like to start at the very beginning.


In order to start at the beginning of word building, I’d like to teach you some basic yet powerful phonemic awareness exercises.


And, in order to do THAT, I really ought to start creating demonstration videos for you.  Unfortunately, life sort of got in the way of video creation for a time, so today I’ve decided not to wait for the best case scenario.  Today I’m jumping quite a few steps ahead to bring you The er, ir, ur Game.  (UPDATE: That phonemic awareness video is now available!  Learn about it, and why phonemic awareness comes first, here.)


Guessing is actually encouraged in The er, ir, ur Game. So don’t worry about mistakes. The more you play, the fewer you make! For kids grades 2 and above and for those who could use extra practice.

Ah, those pesky little er, ir, ur words.  How are we supposed to know which vowel to use before the r?  We don’t have much in the way of clear cut rules to guide us, so, when all else fails, encourage your child to guess.


Yes, you read that right.  Guessing incorrectly is perfectly acceptable in this word building game.  The more that children play the game, the less guessing they will have to do.  (Note: I normally don’t encourage guessing while reading.  This game is one exception.)


Included in The er, ir, ur Game:
  • Detailed instructions
  • A simple 1-page game board (both full color and black and white versions included)
  • A printable spinner (full color and black and white)

You can print the provided spinner, modify one that you already have, or even use the dice option instead.  Instructions included.

  • A word list to review er, ir, and ur words in advance of the game (and after the game if needed)


I’ve even included a blank game board that you can use once your child masters all of the er, ir, ur words on the current game board.  Simply write your own words in the blank spaces and let the fun begin again!


This is a quick game so it’s ideal for 2 people, either for struggling learners who could use some extra practice or for those in grades 2 and above.   However, feel free to play it with small groups as well.


UPDATE: You can now watch a quick video demonstration of this game.


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