Printable cryptograms puzzles on this site are fun to solve and are absolutely free. These puzzles contain an encrypted message that students decode by substituting letters corresponding to the numbers below the blanks. To find letters that correspond to the numbers, students use a key displaying a row of letters and numbers.
To make these printable cryptograms more engaging, I have given them my own twist. At the beginning of the cryptogram, a question is posed that sets the purpose for students to decode the message. The answer to the question is revealed when students have completely decrypted the hidden message.
Additionally, in these printable cryptograms, I have also integrated math and literacy skills so that while students are engaged in decoding the message, they are also practicing math and literacy skills. So how do they practice math skills in this activity? Here is the answer. Instead of having them simply substitute letters corresponding to the numbers under the blanks, I have introduced math operations below the blanks. In order to find the one to one correspondence between a letter and number, they need to have only one number underneath the blank. So when they come across an operation below the blank, they first have to solve it to find a number for which they can find a corresponding letter. To introduce literacy, the encrypted message may take the form of definitions, facts, poems, riddles, or a lesson concept students have recently learned.
Cryptogram puzzles include easy, medium, and hard levels to facilitate differentiation. The easy level contains more of simple substitution and fewer math operations limited to addition and subtraction only. The medium level includes mostly multiplication and some sprinkling of division. The hard level becomes more challenging as there is a lot of division and multiplication involved and less substitution. Below are some samples of these printable cryptograms at the easy, medium, and hard levels. Check out the link below for free cryptogram maker software.