Grade: Elementary

Teachers.Net Lesson Plans

#54. FIRST AID for phonics

Reading/Writing, level: Elementary
Posted by Candy Carlile, EdD (DR
University Reading Clinic, US
Activity Time: 30 minutes
Concepts Taught: phonics

Why Learn Phonics?

Reading is by definition a sound-symbol process. If you do not know the sounds of the language, the symbols will make no sense.

"But I Never Learned Phonics and I Can Read."

You probably were not directly taught phonics, but you did learn the sounds of the language. Like many others, you were able to internalize on your own the sound-symbol associations needed to learn to read.

What Do You Mean by Direct Teaching of Phonics?

About 75% of the children in every classroom will learn to read, regardless of the method used (basal readers, whole language,worksheets, etc.). The other 25% must be directly taught basic reading skills or they will not learn to read. This is why large group, literature based instruction which is currently used in many classrooms is failing these children.

"But I heard only auditory learners can learn phonics."

Simply NOT True!




1. Focus the child's attention on a flash card with /ow/ on the front. Tell him this letter combination can have two different sounds. Knowing them will enable him to try each sound in an unknown word until it makes sense. 2. Then show two flashcards; one having /ow/=


,and one having/ow/=


. These key words will help him recall the two sounds. You may use others--whatever works. 3. Place the two cards in front of the child. Then have him read /ow/words from at least 10 flash cards (5 words for each sound). As he reads each word, have him sort it under the appropriate key word card. (ex. the words /towel/ & /powder/go under the key word /wow/.The words /bowler/ & /lowly/ match the key word /slow/.

Note: Do not use pictures on the cards

4. Next, have the child write the key words and sample words from the flashcards into his notebook for reviewing at home. He can also find and add more words.


For practice reading words with the sounds taught, use a hands-on activity. This is truly the gluethat makes new learning stick.(A worksheet won't do it.)(See ideas below for examples of hands-on phonics activities.)


After practice, it's essential for the child to read words in context (sentences, poem,etc.) for the new learning to transfer. Don't have him make up sentences. At this point, all energy should be focused on reading,not writing.



-The cards can be teacher or child made, using words having /ow/ sounds. The game can be played with the teacher or in a small group following teaching.

Scavenger Word Hunt

-Activity done by having the child cut /ow/ words from newspapers or old magazines.

Baseball Card Browse

-The child finds and copies as many /ow/ words as possible a stack of sports cards. This is an excellent center activity for children to do following teaching.

Concentration Game

-/ow/ words can be written on index cards and the person finding the most "pairs" is the winner. Be sure to include words having both sounds for /ow/.


Don't limit word choices to basic sight words. Include some multisyllable words as well; words you are sure the child does not know from memory. This way, he will have to use his newly learned phonics for decoding.Submitted by: Dr. Candy Carlile, EdDprofessor/editor of Reading Camp NewsletterTo join our Reading Network, and receive a hands-on reading newsletter, e-mail request to DR CARLILE