Pit Pat Putt – A Pronunciation Game for Practising Vowel Sounds

I found this pronunciation game on The Internet TESL Journal, it’s a great way of drawing attention to, and practising, vowel sounds. Click on the pronunciation tab above for more pronunciation activities..

For this activity, you will need a list of ten one syllable words which differ only in the vowel sound. Here are some examples. Choose a set that includes the sounds that the class or student finds particularly challenging.

  • Pit Pat Put Putt Port Pert Part Pet Pot Pete
  • Cut Court Cute Cat Kit Cot Cart Coat Kite Coot Kurt
  • But Bet Bat Bit Bought Bait Beat Bite Bot Boat But Bert
  • Ten Tan Ton Tune Teen Tone Torn Turn Tin Tyne
  • Men Man Mine Min Moon Mean Moan Mourn Main

Write the numbers 0 to 9 across the board and underneath each number write one of the words.

0        1       2        3…

Bet    Bat    But     Beat…

Drill the words with the class until you are satisfied the students can recognise and reproduce each different word.

Tell the class that you are now going to give them your telephone number.

Read out your number, but instead of giving them the actual number, give them the word that represents the number as you have written it on the board. 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.

Now, ask students to make up their own seven-digit telephone number and then write it down along with the respective words.

For example – 0 Bet, 1 But, 4 Bat, 2 Bite, 5 Beat, 0 Bet, 9 Bert

Students now give their number to their partner using the symbolic words and their partner transcribes what they think is the correct number. Students then compare their numbers and identify where any errors were made.

Have students change partners and repeat the activity as many times as is necessary.

7 thoughts on “Pit Pat Putt – A Pronunciation Game for Practising Vowel Sounds

  1. I’ve tried this with a couple of groups and it works really well. We also extended it to other difficult words such as, leaf, live, leave and life…. and other consonant ends b, t d and p for an intermediate group to cover all the letters in the alphabet. Using song titles as the game…. it worked really well. My song was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious….

  2. This activity was great fun for my students and even for me. My students are at pre-intermediate level and they did quite well.
    A tip from me:
    I added a number above each word and we played a coding game – one student read their phone number in the code (1-pit, 2-pat, 3-put) and the rest of the group tried to decode the number. We did the same with dates and even mathematical problems.

    Thank you very much for your inspiration!

  3. I did this with a CLB level 5/6 class and it was great! It was a great practice of the vowel sounds and it was fun for them. A few sounds were tricky for them, but I am going to follow up with some video resources to help them understand the difference between some of the words. Two common questions were: (1) what is the difference between cot and Kurt (2) what is the difference between and cat and kite. Both in terms of pronunciation. I told them to watch my mouth to help them make the correct sounds, but I know there is more to it. That is why I will follow up with some video explanations.

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