Progressive Tic-Tac-Toe

Here’s a board game that helps you slay spelling demons.


To master the correct spelling of frequently misspelled words.


Minimum: 2

Maximum: Any number, divided into pairs of players

Best: 2 to 20


10 to 15 minutes


Game board. A 3 x 3 grid with some of the squares randomly printed in three different colors.



Words lists. Two pages of frequently misspelled words. Each page contains 32 words.

Counters. Two stacks of counters of different colors, six of each. These could be poker chips of two different colors or stacks of coins of two different denominations.


Get ready for the game. Place the game board in the middle of the table. Ask each player to choose a stack of counters.

Give the list of spelling words. Give different lists of spelling words to each of the two players. Ask them to hold the list so the other player cannot see the words.

Start the game. The younger player goes first. This player reads any of the spelling words from his list. The other player immediately spells the word.

Give feedback. The first player announces if the word is spelled correctly or incorrectly. If correct, the other player places one of her counters on any empty square on the game board. If incorrect, the first player spells the word correctly, using the list. The other player does not place her counter anywhere on the board. 

Play the next round. The second player repeats the process by reading a spelling word from his list. The other player spells it. The first player gives appropriate feedback.

Continue the game. The game continues with the players taking turns reading new spelling words from the list. During the subsequent rounds, if a player has already occupied a square, he has to spell two words correctly to occupy the second square. The other person reads two words from the same list, one word at a time.

Make progressive demands. During later rounds, a player has to correctly spell as many words as the number of spaces he is currently occupying plus one more in order to occupy the next square. For example, he has to correctly spell three words to occupy the third square, four words to occupy the fourth square, and so on.

Conclude the game. The game ends when one player occupies three squares in a straight line – horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. This player wins the game. Alternatively, a player wins if he occupies three squares of the same color. If all the squares on the game board are occupied without anyone occupying three squares in a straight line (or of the same color), then the player who occupies the most squares is the winner.

Repeat the game. Ask the participants to exchange the page that they have been referring to. Play the next game as before but with the new page.


Frequently Misspelled Words – Page 1

  1. Traveler
  2. Coolly
  3. Unparalleled
  4. Nickel
  5. Glamorous
  6. Frenetic
  7. Monkeys
  8. Pseudonym
  9. Triplicate
  10. Resuscitate
  11. Genealogy
  12. Pavilion
  13. Dysfunctional
  14. Abbreviate
  15. Grammar
  16. Judgment
  17. Acceptable
  18. Accidentally
  19. Accommodate
  20. Acquire
  21. Acquit
  22. Amateur
  23. Apparent
  24. Argument
  25. Atheist
  26. Believe
  27. Bellwether
  28. Calendar
  29. Category
  30. Cemetery
  31. Changeable
  32. Collectible


Frequently Misspelled Words – Page 2

  1. Column
  2. Committed
  3. Conscience
  4. Conscientious
  5. Conscious
  6. Consensus
  7. Daiquiri
  8. Definitely
  9. Discipline
  10. Drunkenness
  11. Dumbbell
  12. Embarrass
  13. Equipment
  14. Exhilarate
  15. Exceed
  16. Existence
  17. Experience
  18. Fiery
  19. Foreign
  20. Gauge
  21. Grateful
  22. Guarantee
  23. Harass
  24. Height
  25. Hierarchy
  26. Humorous
  27. Ignorance
  28. Immediate
  29. Independent
  30. Indispensable
  31. Inoculate
  32. Intelligence