Anagram Magic

article by Lisa Dekeling , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning intention:

I am learning to draw on appropriate strategies so that I can spell familiar and unfamiliar words correctly.


Success criteria:

  • I can use spelling conventions for derivational suffixes.
  • I can apply infrequently occurring graphemes when spelling base words and adding suffixes.
  • I can use spelling conventions to spell unfamiliar words.


Before reading the article, write the word SOLIDER on the board. Give students two minutes to find as many small words in solider as they can, using only the letters available. Tell students they should be able to find more than twenty at least. Students write down their answers in their books. At the end of the two minutes, go through answers. For a list of more than a hundred words found in soldier, refer to Byrdseed’s Puzzle: Words Within Words.


Write the word THING on the board. Ask students if they can find a word that uses all the letters from thing to make a new word. Depending on what is more relevant to your classroom, one of the following hints can be given:

  • It will use a trigraph OR
  • It has the phoneme /igh/

Answer: Night.

Ask students if anyone knows what it’s called when we use all the letters to make a new word. Read Anagram Magic as a class and discuss what students thought of the text.


Sort students into groups of four or five and give them the following puzzles to solve:

  1. INTEGRAL has five anagrams. Can you find them all? Hint 1 – three words have a suffix that gives you present continuous tense. Hint 2 – the hardest one ends in the suffix ‘ier’.

(Answers: altering, alerting, triangle, relating, tanglier)


  1. What are two anagrams of the word EDUCATION? Hint – both use the derivational suffix ‘tion’.

(Answers: cautioned, auctioned)


  1. Find anagrams of the following words that have a common theme: TANG, SUNG, SWANG, MOSHING

(Answers: gnat, gnus, gnaws, gnomish – they all start with the infrequent grapheme gn)


  1. What is the relevant anagram for the phrase GREAT ART?

(Answer: anagram)


  1. What is an anagram of SPANDEX? Hint - it is an adjective for this stretchy material.

(Answer: Expands)


Extension: Students write their own words or phrases and have a partner find the anagram (Note – anagrams must use all the letters of the word/phrase).