Shark Race is a simple way to check your student’s phonetic reading ability.

ESL Games can be difficult to use when you are trying to gauge the ability of new students. A Shark Race is an extremely simple game played on our Phonetic Alphabet Boards that let’s you check the level of a student’s reading ability while still having fun.

The Details About Shark Race:

  • Start by downloading as many A3 sized Phonetic Alphabet Boards as you need.
  • You will also need a few different animal toys and a set of dice.
  • Shark Race is an ESL Game that’s ideal for about 3-4 people.
  • A game can last between 5 and 15 minutes.

This game teaches and reviews the Phonetic Alphabet.  As students progress around the board make sure they are enunciating the appropriate phenome twice and then saying the target word.  E.g. "ah ah apple".


Here's How To Play Shark Race

  1. Pre-teach the phonetic alphabet (ideally, this should be an ongoing activity that’s taught every lesson).
    ESL Game #51 - Phonetic Alphabet - Phonetic Alphabet Boards
  2. Have you students pick a toy animal to use as their playing pieces.
  3. Tell your EFL students that you are the shark. It’s your job to catch the student’s animals. It’s their job to get all the way from A to Z before you can catch them.
  4. Pick which Phonetic Alphabet Board you want to use. *This is a great time to add a little extra English by talking about shapes and letters.
  5. Let each student roll the die twice so that they can get a bit of a head start before the shark starts hunting.
  6. Students have to say the “sound” of each letter as well as the accompanying image as they pass it. E.g. If a student rolls a 3 they have to say the sounds that correspond to the next three spots on the board, e.x. “ah-ah-Apple, b-b-Belly, c-c-Caterpillar.”
  7. If you catch the one of the students by landing on the same letter they’re on they have to substitute their animal for another shark and join you in your hunt. This ensures they’re still participating and learning. If you don’t have multiple sharks you can tell them that they are a zombie or ghost and let them continue to use the same animal.
  8. The race continues until the hunters catch all of the animals or a player reaches Z.
  9. The first player to reach Z wins.
  10. If the game was too fast race back to A.
ESL Games - - Phonetic Alphabet Boards-circle

Phonetic Alphabet - Circle

ESL Games - - Phonetic Alphabet Boards

Phonetic Alphabet - W

- Phonetic Alphabet Boards

Phonetic Alphabet - Heart

Shark Race features our LEEP letters printed on large A3 sized paper.  We advise you to print the pages and laminate them before playing.

  • ​It turns the alphabet into a board game.
  • It's great a great way to gauge the reading ability of your students.
  • It's fun!