Phonics Kriss-Kross

Solve these simple word puzzles as a way to practice phonics-based reading while also getting started with the logical thinking and pattern matching skills needed to enjoy both computing and maths.


They are suitable for Year 1, or anyone older learning to read and write.

Kriss-kross puzzles combine a love of words with a love of logic. Given a list of words of different lengths, you must fit them all in to the grid.

These puzzles are all based on words with the same sounds, so you can get to know the different ways of spelling those sounds, practice reading them and practice writing them. Its far more fun than just reading and writing word lists!

Learn about:

  • logical thinking
  • pattern matching
  • computational thinking

Also for younger children practice and explore:

  • numeracy
  • counting
  • writing letters
  • reading
  • phonics
  • spelling

Teach as part of:

  • computing
  • maths
  • english

Kriss-kross are a fun way to practice phonics at the same time as counting and starting logical thinking with children just learning to read. Talk them through the steps of what to look for – which word to start with (one where there is nothing more of that length, then point them to a word you know a letter of and so on). Have them read the word before and after filling it in.

With more 1-1 time, get them to pick their own words for a particular sound, choose or draw pictures to illustrate them and then turn them into a Kriss-Kross with them on squared paper (to make them easy to do, avoid using the common letters as crossing points for words).


Phonics Kriss-Kross Booklet

All our phonics kriss-kross are collected in a single booklet. Or you can download individual sheets (see Puzzle Sheets below).

How to solve themHowToSolveKrissKross Title Page

Here are slides giving a first introduction to logical thinking (and so problem solving) using Kriss-Kross.

Here are Kriss-Kross puzzle sheets and solutions that you can download.

Starting Strategies

  • If there is only one word of any length left then find the blank word in the grid of that length and the word goes there.
  • If you know a clue for a word (some of its letters) in the grid then count how many letters long it is and compare the unused words of that length with the pattern of known letters. If only one matches you have found where it goes. Otherwise you need more information so try another word in the grid.
  • Always cross off the letters from the word list as you fit them in the grid

Phonics Strategies

  • Read the words as you find their place and after writing them.

Teaching Strategies

  • Pair students up to work on them together – each with their own sheet but comparing notes as they fill them in together.
  • Encourage your pupils to say the words aloud as they write them in.

Puzzle Sheets

Here are Kriss-Kross puzzle sheets and solutions that you can download.

a Kriss-Krosskriss-kross10-a

ay, ai, a_e Kriss-Krosskriss-kross5-ay

ee, ea Kriss-Krosskriss-kross6-ee

oo, ue, ew Kriss-Kross


er, ir, ur Kriss-Kross


oy, oi Kriss-Kross


y, i_e, igh Kriss-Kross


ow, oa, o_e Kriss-Kross


ou (mouse) Kriss-Kross

ow, ou (cow out) Kriss-Kross


For Kriss-Kross on a range of other topics go to our general Kriss-Kross Page.

Images from pixabay