Reading & Literacy Video

Phonics & Wordle: How Two Teachers Are Using the Viral Word Game

By Sarah Schwartz & Emma Patti Harris — February 08, 2022 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Wordle, the viral online guess-the-word game, has become a social media phenomenon and a source of fierce competition among its devotees. But in some classrooms, it’s also a teaching tool.

The game, purchased recently by The New York Times, requires players to guess a five-letter word in six tries.

Wordle gives clues as players try new words: It highlights letters green if they’re in the right position, yellow if they’re in the word but in the wrong position, and gray if they’re not in the word at all.

Lots of players post on social media their green and yellow boxes—visual scorecards which demonstrate how players got to the correct answer and how many tries it took. As these images flood feeds, some reading teachers and reading researchers have entered the discussion, explaining how educators can use the game to grow students’ phonics skills.

“The more that I’ve played with my students, the better I’ve gotten, the better they’ve gotten,” said Maureen Elliott, a 4th grade teacher in the West Irondequoit school district in New York.

“You can pick up on patterns of words or phonemes and graphemes that match together to make certain words, and you use more skills than you think you do when you first start,” Elliott said.

Education Week spoke with two teachers about how they’re using Wordle in the classroom and what their students are taking away from the game.

Read Next

Wordle FCG
Shutterstock
Student Well-Being Opinion What Educators Can Learn From Wordle's Success
Thomas R. Guskey, February 8, 2022
4 min read
A wordle showing the final word as TEACH
Gina Tomko/Education Week

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Nation's Second-Largest School System Plans to 'Embrace' the Science of Reading
Los Angeles Superintendent Alberto Carvalho's remarks also echo New York leaders' promises to support an early-reading overhaul.
3 min read
Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school district, comments on an external cyberattack on the LAUSD information systems during the Labor Day weekend, at a news conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. Despite the ransomware attack, schools in the nation's second-largest district opened as usual Tuesday morning.
Alberto Carvalho, who leads the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school district, speaks at a news conference in Los Angeles on Sept. 6, 2022.
Damian Dovarganes/AP
Reading & Literacy As Revised Lucy Calkins Curriculum Launches, Educators Debate If Changes Are Sufficient
Researchers and educators who have reviewed excerpts offer mixed reviews on their potential to shift classroom instruction.
8 min read
Letters and a magnifying glass.
busracavus/iStock/Getty