Decoding for superheroes is a fun phonics activity for reception and early KS1/ Primary 1-2 children to not only practice phonics but also to use their knowledge of letters and sounds to decode superhero messages and save the world. A range of different words can be included in the superhero messages depending on the child’s ability or even nonsense words to practice for the KS1 phonics screening test.


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You will need

superhero literacy

The Scenario

An evil villain has captured the Mayor of <insert town name here> and left a series of coded messages. In order to free the mayor, the children will need to use their superhero powers to decode the messages so that the mayor will be freed. 

decoding phonics

This activity can be set up by writing a selection of words onto white paper using the white crayon. Be sure to press down hand with the crayon so that the message can be seen. To spark the children’s imagination, the coded messages could arrive in envelopes with a letter from the evil villain explaining what they will need to do.

The children can use the paints to gradually reveal the message starting from the left and decoding the message by saying the word as it is revealed. For a group or whole class project, a list of words can be written on the board and the children have to read their word to the teacher so that they can cross it off the list. Once all of the messages have been decoded and the words crossed off the list, the remaining words on the board will describe where the mayor has been captured e.g under, railway, bridge.

superhero code

Additional Superhero Literacy Activities

  • Children can practice writing with crayons, making their own secret messages for their friends or teacher to decode.
  • Once the messages have been decoded, the children can write their own letter to the super hero demanding for the mayor to be released.
  • The superhero messages can be used as a story starter, what happened next?
  • Children can write their own descriptions of the villain, what he looks, sounds like and does.

Do you have any fun activities for teaching phonics or any more ideas for superheroes? Follow us on Pinterest for more activity inspiration.
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