Words That Start With or Contain the Letter X for Kids

Published July 12, 2018
Girl holding letter X

While some letters of the alphabet give you a plethora of examples for teaching sounds and spelling, X is not one of them. This frustrating little gem rarely is the first letter of a word, but there are a lot of different words with X that you can use in your classroom. Depending on the words and grade level, interactive activities to push the spelling are available.

Words That Start With X for Kids

There are not many words in the English language that start with X. Therefore, finding words students can relate to the letter if you are teaching reading comprehension and letter recognition can be difficult. No matter what elementary grade your students are in, there are a few go to X words that you can use for teaching.

Words That Begin With X for Kindergarten and Elementary Students

The most commonly used words for kindergarten through first grade are:

  • Xylophone
  • X-ray
  • X-ray fish
Toy wood xylophone

Additional Words for Older Kids

Other words that you might use that begin with X, especially in older classes, include:

  • Xenops - a type of bird
  • Xiaosaurus - a type of dinosaur
  • Xiphias - the fish genus that comprises swordfish
Xiaosaurus in the forest

Activities for Words Starting with X

There are different activities that you can do with your elementary learners to help students to learn these words.

  • The most common activity is flashcards. Typically, the letter X and the word are featured on the flash card with the picture.
  • Another fun way to delve into learning words that begin with X is matching. You can either use a matching worksheet or cards with the word and the image. Have students match the word to the picture.
  • Coloring sheets and writing practice also allow students to delve into spelling these words.
  • Printables and worksheets that you can color or fill out are popular choices.
  • If you have more than one kid, you can try fun group games like find the word. To do this, you throw all the words out and have a student find the word that you call out. Mixing your X words in with other words they already know can add an extra challenge.

Words That Contain X for Kids

Since words that start with X are rare, you can also teach kids words that include the letter X. These you can vary based on grade level. The words will get harder as the grade level goes up. These are great for letter X week.

Preschool and Kindergarten Letter X Words

For a younger audience, you are looking for simple words that they might rhyme to help with beginning reading strategies and spelling. In addition to introducing the words, you also look at the sound.

  • Ox
  • Box
  • Fox
  • Fix
  • Mix
  • Wax
  • Axe
  • Six
Red fox sitting on road

Fun Ways to Learn Easy Words

When you are trying to teach the spelling of these words, it can be fun to blend different subjects. For example:

  • In math, you could count and color six different items.
  • For science, watch a video on fox and oxen.
  • For art, complete an art project that uses mixing colors and wax. They could also use paint or wax to spell out the words.
  • For box, bring in a jack-in-the-box and have students spell the word as you wind it.

1st and 2nd Grade X Words

Since you're still dealing with newer readers, you want to use words where the definition is still very visual. While you might still use the two- and three-letter words, you'll start to incorporate longer words as well, like:

  • Flex
  • Axis
  • Texas
  • Next
  • Exercise
  • Boxcar
  • Explore
  • Mexico
Girls flexing muscles

Activities You Can Try

In addition to games and worksheets, you can get creative with exploring the spelling and meaning of these words.

  • Explore the words axis and Texas through geography, like looking at a globe and discovering where Texas is and the axis of the Earth. They can look at Mexico as well.
  • Students could create a boxcar in class.
  • Have students spell the word exercise while completing different movements. This will get their brains engaged and be fun.
  • Show them how to flex while spelling that word.
  • Maybe have them become explorers and explore unknown areas. They could even write names like Explorer Bill.
  • Introduction of next could be part of reading and story sequencing.

3rd and 4th Grade Complex Words

Older students can handle more complex words and activities. Therefore, in these grades, you will see larger words with more complex meanings, such as:

  • Toxin
  • Complex
  • Index
  • Fixture
  • Exterior
  • Extinct
  • Extra
  • Extract
  • Expert
  • Extreme
  • Mixture
  • Prefix
  • Relax
Scientist holding bottle with toxic label

Let's Play

Since kids are becoming solid readers, you can incorporate more reading and dictionary activities into learning these words.

  • Have students write a story using as many of the X words as they can. Illustrating the book can keep them engaged and creative.
  • Blend science and spelling by having them explore extinct and endangered creatures.
  • Play a game where teams spell out as many X words as they can on the whiteboard in 20 seconds.
  • Play Pictionary with the words.

5th Grade and Beyond

At this grade level, you start to look at uncommon words that you might not use in every day speech. You'll also examine the structure of the words like:

  • Explode
  • Vex
  • Perplex
  • Flax
  • Extort
  • Extraordinary
  • Export
  • Extravert
  • Extent
  • Expose
Colorful explosion illustration

Working With the Words

Advanced readers might come across these words within their AR level books. They might learn spelling of these words through activities like:

  • Pair students have them do a dictionary search for the different words.
  • Create word searches based off the X words. Giving a small prize to the one that finishes first offers great incentive.
  • Create a crossword puzzle based off the different words.
  • Have students find the words in their books or in internet articles and create its definition based on the context clues.

The Difficulty of X

Finding words that begin with X for letter week or even just because can be hard. However, there are a plethora of words with the letter X you can incorporate into your activities. Now find your grade level and give a few of these activities a try.

Words That Start With or Contain the Letter X for Kids