Sample phonics lessons

​This section includes sample phonics lessons. The lesson sequences are examples and are not intended to cover all aspects of phonics.  There are numerous ways of teaching phonics through short introductions and activities such as word walls, individualised sound letter books, and analysing graphemes in new vocabulary.

Phonics lesson: Single letters and their common sounds

Lesson overview

This lesson is an illustration of how a teacher may support a small group of students with learning individual letters/ graphemes and their common sounds/ phonemes. Depending on the students and their learning needs, the lesson focus may be narrowed (to one letter/grapheme and its common sound/ phoneme) or increased (to several letters/graphemes and their common sounds/phonemes). Appropriate metalanguage should be introduced to students prior to the lesson.

The lesson in this instance focuses on the graphemes ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’ and the common sound/phoneme each letter makes. The teacher works with a small group of students who would benefit from repetition and overlearning of these letters.

The short intervention lesson would take the place of a guided reading session and include:

  • initial letter/sound work
  • a shared reading of a text containing the identified letters/graphemes and sounds/ phonemes
  • a follow up activity to reinforce the new or revised learning.

In addition:

  • Data collected via the F-2 English Online Interview (Victorian Government schools) or through the Letter Identification Task (Clay, 1993; 2013), or DATE – Early Literacy in English Tool: Alphabet Letters would inform planning for teaching and learning.
  • A text is chosen to support the focus for shared reading.

Resources required for this lesson include:

  • a set of flashcards with the single lower-case letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’ recorded for each student
  • a shared reading text containing the initial lower-case letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’ such as Sally’s new shoes by Beverley Randell, Jenny Giles and Annette Smith, published by Cengage.
  • small whiteboards and markers for each student.

Victorian curriculum links

English, Reading and Viewing, Language: Expressing and developing ideas

Foundation: Recognise that texts are made up of words and groups of words that make meaning (VCELA144)

English, Reading and Viewing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Foundation: Recognise all upper- and lower-case letters and the most common sound that each letter represents (VCELA146)

English, Writing, Literacy: Creating texts

Foundation: Understand that sounds in English are represented by upper- and lower-case letters that can be written using learned letter formation patterns for each case (VCELY162)

Learning intention

We are learning to recognise the lower-case letters r, h and j and the common sound each letter makes.

Success criteria

I can name the lower-case letter ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’.

I can make the common sound for ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’.

Lesson sequence

  1. Introduce the learning intention and ensure students know the focus of the lesson is about naming and making the common sound for the graphemes ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’.
  2. Introduce the flashcards with the lower-case letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’ written on them. Name each letter and ask students to repeat the name after each one. Make the common sound for each letter and ask students to repeat the sound.
  3. Turn the letters over so they are covered and play a game of tic-tac-toe with students. When students turn a letter over they must name it and make the common sound. The game may be repeated for multiple exposures (See High Impact Teaching Strategies - Multiple exposures).
  4. Introduce the shared reading text but ensure all students have their own copy also. Provide a nutshell statement of the text. For example, if using Sally’s new shoes by Beverley Randell, Jenny Giles and Annette Smith say, “This story is about a girl called Sally who gets some new shoes. She loves her new shoes and goes almost everywhere in them. Do you think she will wear her new shoes when she goes swimming at the pool?”Students discuss their predictions and give reasons for them.
  5. Read the title and the first page to students modelling concepts of print such as left to right, return sweep and top to bottom. Encourage students to finger track the text as they are following the reading.
  6. This text was chosen because it contained the action verbs ‘run’, ‘hop’ and ‘jump’. On the pages where these words are found, pause the reading, for example:
    • Read “I’m going to …”. Look, I can see a word that starts with one of the letters we are learning today. What letter can you see? What sound does it make? I am going to read on to the end of the sentence. What action could Sally do that starts with /r/ that could go there and make sense?
    • Students suggest action verbs that start with /r/. Cross check with the printed word. More supports may have to be put in place. For example, ‘running’ starts with the /r/ sound but if we put ‘running’ into this sentence, can we say it that way in English? What could we say that sounds right? Let’s check the word (articulate the word slowly so students can hear the individual phonemes in run).
  7. Repeat the process with the other pages and letters. This text was also chosen because it has a repeated structure. As the students recognise the repeated structure, encourage them to join in with the reading.
  8. At the conclusion of reading the text, ask students to revisit their initial predictions. Discuss and check for meaning.
  9. Give students an individual set of lower-case letter flashcards and ask them to go back into the text and find the letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’. Accept initial, medial or final letter examples.
  10. Ask students to use their whiteboard to record the words they have found which contain the letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’:
    • work at the point of need with each individual student. As students are writing, ask them to identify the letter and the common sound it makes.
    • reinforce correct letter formation, starting points and grip.
  11. Return to the success criteria. Can students name the letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’? Can they make the common sound/phoneme for each?

Going further

See High Impact Teaching Strategies - Multiple exposures

  • Give each student the set of three lower-case flashcards with r, h and j written on them. With a partner they can play memory or ‘go fish’.
  • Students sort magnetic letters to identify ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’, lower and upper-case.• Students play sound/letter bingo with the targeted letters.
  • Students play games such as ‘I spy with my little eye something starting with the letter….’, I spy with my little eye something ending with the sound….’.
  • As students enter or leave the classroom they use a password (i.e. a word that starts with the letter…., a word that starts with the sound…., a word that ends with the letter…., a word that ends with the sound….).
  • Students place the shared reading text in their book box to revisit during independent reading time.
  • Students find examples of words that contain the letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’ in texts around the room. Record in their reading response book.
  • Give students a further set of upper-case letters ‘R’, ‘H’ and ‘J’. Match to the lower-case letters.
  • Students find examples of ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’ in magazines. Cut out and display.
  • Students use an iPad to photograph the letters ‘Rr’, ‘Hh’ and ‘Jj’ from around the room. Print and makes copies for students to place in their reading book box.
  • Students make their own personal dictionary. Focus on the letters ‘r’, ‘h’ and ‘j’. Students draw pictures of words that will help them remember the common sound for each of these letters. Store personal dictionary in student book box so it can be accessed during independent reading or writing.

References

Clay, M. (1993). An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement. Birkenhead, Auckland: Heinemann Education.

Clay, M. (2013). An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement (3rd Ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Phonics lesson: Consonant digraphs

Lesson overview

This lesson is an illustration of how a teacher may support a small group of students learning about consonant digraphs. Depending on the students and their learning needs, the lesson focus may be narrowed (to one digraph and its relating sound/phoneme) or increased (to several digraphs and their relating sounds/ phonemes). Appropriate metalanguage should be introduced to students prior to the lesson.

This lesson in this instance focuses on the digraph ‘sh’ and the relating sound/phoneme it makes in the initial, medial and final position in a word. It involves the teacher working with a small group of students who would benefit from repetition and overlearning of this digraph. The lesson takes place through a guided reading session and would include:

  • explicit teaching of the digraph. Explain the meaning of ‘digraph’ – the prefix ‘di’ = two, the root word ‘graph’ = letter, so ‘two letters which make one sound/phoneme’
  • independent reading of a text containing the identified digraph
  • a follow up activity to reinforce the new or revised learning.

In addition:

  • student running records will inform the classroom teacher of decoding competencies including which consonant digraphs are known/unknown
  • a text is chosen to support the focus for guided reading.

Resources required for this lesson include:

  • a guided reading text containing the targeted digraph(s) such as Father Bear goes fishing by Beverley Randell, published by Cengage
  • words written on cards from the text containing the focus consonant digraph ‘sh’ to include words with examples of the consonant digraph in the initial, medial and final position
  • small whiteboards and magnetic letters

Victorian curriculum links

English, Reading and Viewing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Level 1: Recognise short vowels, common long vowels and consonant digraphs, and consonant blends (VCELA181)

English, Speaking and Listening, Phonics and Word Knowledge

Level 1: Manipulate phonemes by addition, deletion and substitution of initial, medial and final phonemes to generate new words (VCELA204)

Learning intention

We are learning that the diagraph ‘sh’ is made up of two letters that make one sound /sh/.

Success criteria

I can find an example of a word that contains the ‘sh’ digraph.

I can make the sound for the ‘sh’ digraph.

Lesson sequence

  1. Explain the learning intention and introduce the term ‘digraph’. Explain its meaning; the prefix ‘di’ = two, the root word ‘graph’ = letter, so ‘two letters which make one sound’.  Ask students if they know of any other digraph examples (e.g. ‘th’, ‘ch’, ‘sh’, ‘ph’, ‘ck’, ‘wh’). Contextualise the learning intention by introducing the guided reading text. For example: “Today we are going to read the text Father Bear goes fishing by Beverley Randell. As we read we will find words in the text that contain the ‘sh’ digraph”.
  2. Front load vocabulary that contain the targeted digraph ‘sh’. Introduce flashcards with words containing ‘sh’. Articulate each word slowly and ask students to locate the /sh/ sound. For example, ask “Where can you hear the /sh/ sound in fishing? Is it at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the word?”( fishing, fish, shouted)   
  3. Before reading the text, students use the cards as a reference to locate the words that contain the ‘sh’ digraph. Discuss, locate the digraph and make the digraph sound.
  4. Before independent reading begins, provide students with a nutshell statement about the text to assist meaning making. For example: “This text is called Father Bear goes fishing. It is about a Father Bear who goes down to the river to fish. At first, he didn’t know where to look for the fish. Then he found some. He got fish for Mother Bear and Baby Bear too.” Let’s turn to page 11. Ask “Can you find the words that say Father Bear? Mother Bear? Baby Bear? They start with capital letters because that is their name.”
  5. Students read the text independently. Listen to individual students read the text and support at their point of need. Ensure that words that contain the ‘sh’ digraph are decoded accurately.
  6. After reading, check for understanding.
  7. To reinforce the new learning about the ‘sh’ digraph ask students to use a whiteboard and magnetic letters to make the word ‘fish’. Model how to segment the sounds in the word ‘fish’ (e.g. f-i-sh). Ask students to segment and locate where they hear and see the ‘sh’ digraph. Remove the initial letters and give students a ‘w’ and an ‘i’ to make a new word that ends in ‘sh’ ('wish’; repeat activity with other letters to make other words → e.g. dish, was’, bush, push, dash, cash)
  8. Make a word that begins with the ‘sh’ digraph (e.g. shop, ship, shut, shed). Ask students to suggest another or give them the letters to make a new word keeping the ‘sh’ in the initial position. Segment word into phonemes (sh-e-d).
  9. Make a word that contains ‘sh’ in the medial position (wishing, washing, pushing). Students copy.
  10. Return to the success criteria. Can students find or make a word that contains the ‘sh’ digraph? Can students make the /sh/ sound? Students self-evaluate.

Going further

See High Impact Teaching Strategies - Multiple exposures

  • Students find examples of the ‘sh’ digraph in their guided reading and independent reading book box. Record in their reading response book.
  • Provide magnetic letters and whiteboards and ask students to work independently to make examples of words that contain the ‘sh’ digraph.
  • Find examples of the ‘sh’ digraph in words in magazines. Cut out and display.
  • Add words containing the ‘sh’ digraph to personal dictionaries and store in the student’s book box for independent reading and writing activities.
  • Provide other examples of guided reading texts that contain targeted digraphs.
  • Students search big books and classroom texts to find word examples that contain the targeted digraph. Students locate, decode and write in their reading response book or classroom anchor charts.
  • Apply the name rule if there is anyone in the class that has the targeted digraph in their name (Shana’s rule = ‘sh’ or Shahjadi’s rule = ‘sh’)

Phonics lesson: Consonant blends

Lesson overview

This lesson is an example of how a teacher may support a small group of students practising words containing consonant blends.

Depending on the students and their learning needs, the lesson focus may be narrowed (to one consonant blend and its sounds/phonemes) or increased (to several consonant blends and their sounds/phonemes). Appropriate metalanguage should be introduced to students prior to the lesson.

This lesson in this instance focuses on the initial consonant blends ‘pl’ and ‘br’ and the relating sounds they make. The teacher works with a small group of students who would benefit from repetition and overlearning of these consonant blends. The lesson takes place through a guided reading session and would include:

  • explicit teaching of the consonant blends
  • independent reading of a text containing the identified consonant blends
  • a follow up activity to reinforce the new or revised learning.

In addition:

  • student running records will inform the classroom teacher of decoding competencies including which consonant blends are known/unknown
  • analysis of student writing samples will also provide the teacher with information on which consonant blends students use accurately and which require explicit teaching
  •  a text is chosen to support the focus for guided reading.

Resources required for this lesson include:

  • a guided reading text containing the targeted consonant blends such as Insect Hunt by Hannah Reed, with photography by Michael Curtain. Published by Eleanor Curtain.
  • words written on flashcards from the text containing the focus consonant blends. • consonant blend word slides for all students.

 

Accessed at: https://www.abcteach.com/documents/wordslide-blends-digraphs-pl-11074

Victorian curriculum links

English, Reading and Viewing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Level 1: Recognise short vowels, common long vowels and consonant digraphs, and consonant blends (VCELA181)

English, Speaking and Listening, Phonics and Word Knowledge

Level 1: Manipulate phonemes by addition, deletion and substitution of initial, medial and final phonemes to generate new words (VCELA204)

Learning intention

We are learning that a consonant blend is made up of two or three consonant sounds blended together but you can still hear the individual sounds.

Success criteria

I can make the sounds for the ‘pl’ consonant blend and find an example of a word that starts with ‘pl’

I can make the sounds for the ‘br’ consonant blend and find an example of a word that starts with ‘br’

Lesson sequence

  1. Explain the learning intention and introduce/revise the term ‘blend’. Explain its meaning Differentiate ‘blend’ from ‘digraph’ (a blend is two or more consonant letters making two or more consonant sounds/phonemes; a digraph is two letters making one sound/phoneme). Ask students if they know of any other consonant blends examples (See below for consonant blend examples). Contextualise the learning intention by introducing the guided reading text. For example: “Today we are going to read the text Insect Hunt by Hannah Reed, with photography by Michael Curtain. As we read we will find words in the text that contain the ‘pl’ and ‘br’ consonant blend.”
  2. Front load vocabulary that contain the targeted consonant blends. Introduce flashcards with words containing the ‘pl’ and ‘br’ consonant blend. Articulate each word slowly and ask students to listen for the initial blend, (plants, plastic, branch)
  3. Before reading the text, students use the cards as a reference to locate the words that contain the ‘pl’ and ‘br’ consonant blends. Discuss, locate the consonant blend and make the relating sounds.
  4. Before independent reading begins, provide students with a nutshell statement about the text to assist meaning making. For example,“This non-fiction text is called Insect Hunt by Hannah Reed. We are going to read pages 1 to 9 which tell us about where insects live and how to find them on a plant.”
  5. Students read the text independently. Listen to individual students read the text and support at their point of need. Ensure that words that contain the ‘pl’ and ‘br’ consonant blends are decoded accurately.
  6. After reading, check for understanding.
  7. To reinforce the new learning, revisit the sounds made by the targeted blends. Ask students to brainstorm some other words that may begin with ‘pl’ or ‘br’. Articulate the words slowly to segment sounds and record. Prompt students to assist with spelling patterns as words are recorded.
    For example: ‘pl’ = play, place, plastic, plant, plan, plane, please, plenty, plod, plot, plop, plod, plus, plug;  ‘br’ = branch, brain, bran, brat, brave, bread, break, brim, brick, bring, brother, brush
  8. Students make a word slide with either the ‘pl’ or ‘br’ consonant blend. A google search will locate commercial consonant blend word slides which are freely available.  Alternatively, students make their own including some of the brainstormed words. For example:
  9. Students read the words in their word slide and record them in their reading response book. Ensure the targeted blend is underlined or written in another colour. As students work on their word slides, monitor individual students to reinforce the new learning. It is recommended that completed word slides are housed in individual student display books which contain examples of phonic and phonological awareness resources. This will ensure they are readily accessible when students read or write independently.
  10. Return to the Success Criteria. Can students make the ‘pl’ and ‘br’ consonant blend sounds? Can they suggest a word that begins with these blends? Students self-evaluate.

Going further

  1. During shared reading, ensure enlarged texts contain the targeted blends and make explicit reference to them.
  2. Develop classroom consonant blend anchor charts with lists of the brainstormed words. Display.
  3. Have fun writing tongue twisters with the targeted blends. For example,
    Bridget brushes her brother’s brain.
    Students write and illustrate.
  4. Play oral language games such as “I went shopping and I bought a ….plate, plug, plant, plane etc”
  5. Cover the faces of a large die with a range of consonant blends. Students roll the die, make the consonant blend sounds and suggest/draw/write a word that begins with the targeted blends. Students find examples of the targeted consonant blends when reading independently. Mark with a sticky note and share with the class at the lesson conclusion.
​Consonant blend​Examples
​2 letter initial consonant blends​ bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, pl, pr, sc, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, tr, tw
​ 2 letter final consonant blends​ ft, ld, lk, lp, lt, mp, nd, ng, nk, nt, py, ry, sk, sp, st, ty
​3 letter initial consonant blends​scr, spl, spr, str, squ

  (Hill, 2015, p. 249; Hill, 2016, p.52)

References

Hill, S. (2015). Developing early literacy: Assessment and teaching. (2nd ed.). South Yarra, Australia: Eleanor Curtain Publishing

Hill, S. (2016). The Next Step: Developing Early Literacy-Resources for developing reading and writing according to identified needs (AlphaAssess). South Yarra, Australia: Eleanor Curtain Publishing.

Phonics lesson - Using a traditional tale to teach phonic elements

Lesson overview

This lesson is an example of how a teacher may use a traditional tale such as This Old Man (see words below) to teach phonic elements. Depending on the students and their learning needs, the lesson focus would vary (for example, silent letters, common long vowels, vowel digraphs, consonant digraphs, consonant blends). Appropriate metalanguage should be introduced to students prior to the lesson.

This lesson in this instance provides an example on how to explicitly teach two phonic elements: the split digraph which makes a common long vowel sound and silent letters (although it is recommended that each element is taught separately). The teacher works with a group of students who would benefit from repetition and overlearning of these phonic elements. The lesson takes the place of a traditional guided reading session (for a small group) or can operate as a mini lesson for a larger group of students and would include:

  • explicit teaching of the phonic element
  • shared and independent reading of a text containing the targeted phonic element
  • a follow up activity to reinforce the new or revised learning.

In addition:

  • student running records will inform the classroom teacher of decoding competencies including which phonic elements are known/unknown
  • analysis of student writing samples will also provide the teacher with information on which phonic elements students use accurately and which require explicit teaching
  •  a traditional tale is chosen to support the focus for the lesson.

Resources required for this lesson include:

  • an enlarged version and individual copies of a traditional tale such as This Old Man
  • highlighters
  • iPads

Victorian curriculum links

English, Reading and Viewing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Level 2: Recognise most letter-sound matches including silent letters, trigraphs, vowel digraphs and common long vowels, and understand that a sound can be represented by various letter combinations (VCELA218)

English, Writing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Level 2: Understand how to use digraphs, long vowels, blends, silent letters and syllabification to spell simple words including compound words (VCELA226)

English, Speaking and Listening, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Level 2: Identify all standard English phonemes, including short and long vowels, separate sounds in clusters (VCELA239)

Learning intention

When decoding a word that contains a silent letter, no sound is made for that letter.

We are learning that a split digraph can make the long vowel sound.

Success criteria

I can identify a word that contains a silent letter.

I can use that knowledge to help me decode the word.

I can highlight examples of split digraphs making the long vowel sound in the text This Old Man.

I can decode a word that contains a split digraph long vowel sound.

Lesson sequence

  1. Explain the learning intention and introduce any unfamiliar terms such as silent letter or split digraph (e.g. ‘a-e’, ‘e-e’, ‘i-e’, ‘o-e’, ‘u-e’). Explain their meaning (See High Impact Teaching Strategies - explicit teaching). Contextualise the learning intention by introducing the traditional tale. For example,“Today we are going to read a traditional tale called This Old Man. You may already know it. As we read the tale we are going to be looking for:
    • words that contain silent letters
    • words that contain a long vowel sound and have a split digraph spelling pattern.”
  2. Using the enlarged version of the text, read the traditional tale to students for enjoyment and understanding. As a revision, students turn and talk to a partner about what words they heard rhyme.
  3. Return to the text and reread. Ask students to:
    • look for words that might contain a silent letter as the text is being read, or
    • look for words that contain a split digraph and make a long vowel sound.
  4. Accentuate the words that are examples of each phonic element. For example:
    • silent letters - knick, knack, thumb, whack, knee, bone, came, home, five, hive, nine, spine, give
    • split digraph long vowel sound -  bone, came, home, five, hive, nine, spine.
  5. Ask students to identify the words that are examples of the targeted teaching. Highlight examples in the enlarged text with coloured markers. Discuss the examples. For example:
    • How would you decode the word ‘thumb’ and ‘whack’? Which part is silent? How would you decode the word ‘come’ and ‘give’. Which part is silent?
    • Which words contain a split digraph and make a long vowel sound? How would you decode them? What are the spelling patterns? Why doesn’t ‘give’ make the long vowel sound? (Discuss phonic exceptions and the importance of reading in context to establish meaning.)
  6. Give students an individual copy of This Old Man. Using a coloured highlighter, students mark all the words with:
    • a silent letter
    • contain a split digraph and make a long vowel sound.
  7. As students highlight, check understanding of the targeted teaching with individual students. It is recommended that students store their individual copy of This Old Man in a display folder with other phonic and phonological awareness examples. It can be reread during independent reading time.
  8. Students use an iPad to investigate words that contain:
    • silent letters. Students record any found examples in their reading response book.
    • a split digraph which makes a long vowel sound. Students record any found examples in their reading response book.
  9. Share examples with the group and compile some anchor charts.
  10. Return to the success criteria:
    • Can students identify a word that contains a silent letter? Can they decode it accurately? How might they use this knowledge to help them with their reading? Writing?
    • Can students give an example of a word in the traditional tale This Old Man that makes a long vowel sound and has a split digraph spelling? Can they decode a word that contains a long vowel sound with split digraph spelling? How might they use this knowledge to help them with their reading? Writing?

Going further

  • During shared reading, ensure enlarged texts contain the targeted phonic elements and make explicit reference to them.
  • Students find examples of the targeted phonic elements when reading independently. Mark with a sticky note and share with the class at the lesson conclusion. Are there any exceptions?
  • Choose guided reading texts that contain examples of the explicitly taught phonic elements to practise new learning.
  • Conduct some research into the history of silent letters. The Word Spy (2008) (by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Tohby Riddle, published by Penguin Random House Australia) explains the history of silent letters, and the influence of the printing press on spelling. It also contains interesting facts such as “about 60 per cent of words in English have a silent letter in them” (Dubosarsky, 2008, p.25).
  • Make spelling lists of silent letters and display as anchor charts or classroom references.

This Old Man (Words and music traditional)

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my thumb
Knick-knack paddy whackGive the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played two
He played knick-knack on my shoe
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played three
He played knick-knack on my knee
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played four
He played knick-knack on my door
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played five
He played knick-knack on my hive
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played six
He played knick-knack with some sticks
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played seven
He played knick-knack up in Heaven
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played eight
He played knick-knack on my gate
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played nine
He played knick-knack on my spine
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played ten
He played knick-knack once again
Knick-knack paddy whack
Give the dog the bone
This old man came rolling home.

Phonics Lesson -Teaching the long 'e' sound in context

Text details

Bancroft, B. (2013) Remembering Lionsville, Allen and Unwin Children’s books, Imprint of Allen and Unwin.

Lesson overview

This lesson presumes that students have read the indigenous memoir text Remembering Lionsville by Bronwyn Bancroft for enjoyment and understanding. Students will be required to revisit the known text to investigate the long vowel sound /ē/. Appropriate metalanguage should be introduced to students prior to the lesson.

The teacher will reread the text so that students can listen and identify words that contain the /ē/ sound. Afterwards they will work in pairs or small groups to visually identify and annotate a section of the text that contains the letter patterns (graphemes) that represent the /ē/ sound (phoneme).

In this text the long vowel sound /ē/ is represented by the graphemes and digraphs:

  • e as in emu
  • e-e as in these
  • ee as in creek
  • ea as in clean
  • y as in story
  • eo as in people
  • ey as in valley
  • ie as in carries
  • ei as in receive

Links to curriculum

Victorian curriculum (English), Reading and Viewing, Language: Phonics and word knowledgeLevel 3: Understand how to apply knowledge of letter-sound relationships, and blending and segmenting to read and use more complex words with less common consonant and vowel clusters (VCELA249)

Victorian Curriculum (English), Writing, Language: Phonics and word knowledgeLevel 3: Understand how to use letter-sound relationships and less common letter combinations to spell words (VCELA263)

Level 4: Understand how to use phonic generalisations to identify and write words with more complex letter patterns (VCELA294)

Reading model: Text decoder and Writing model: Text encoder

Learning intention

We are learning that there are many letter combinations which can make the long vowel sound /ē/.

Success criteria

I can identify words in Remembering Lionsville that contain the long vowel /ē/ sound.

I can contribute to a group list showing the different letter combinations for the long vowel /ē/ sound by adding at least one example from my notebook or from the annotated page of the text.

Lesson sequence

  1. Clearly explain the learning intention.
  2. Reread the text and ask students to listen for words that contain the sound /ē/. As they hear words, jot them down on an individual whiteboard, iPad or notebook.
  3. Turn and talk to a partner about their list. What do they notice about the spelling patterns of those words? Discuss with the whole group. Ask students where they hear the long vowel /ē/ sound?
  4. In small groups, give students a copy of one of the pages in the text. Ask them to decode the words on the page and highlight words that contain the long vowel sound /ē/.
  5. Once words are identified, make a group list. Ask small groups to identify the spelling pattern that makes the long vowel /ē/ sound from their investigation. Other examples from classroom wordlists or independent reading material may also be sourced for examples.
  6. Return to the success criteria. Ask group members to give each other feedback on their contribution to the list and select one member to report back to the whole class.
  7. Return to the whole class. Students share their investigations. From the discussion, the teacher makes a class anchor chart with all the spelling combinations for the long vowel /ē/ sound. For example,
    Discuss what an ‘exception’ is. Were there examples of the same letter combination making a different sound (e.g. eating and steak, these and were)?

Differentiation

  • During group work the teacher scaffolds students who might have difficulty decoding the text by working with a small group.
  • Pairs can be of mixed ability containing a more confident decoder and a student who listens for the target long vowel /ē/ sound.
  • Once letter combinations for the long vowel /ē/ sound are identified, students continue to find other examples in their shared and independent reading texts over the week and add to classroom lists.
  • Once letter combinations for the long vowel sound /ē/ are identified, extension groups might locate other words in the text that contain the same letter patterns but make different sounds (e.g. eating and steak, these and were). Why do they notice about the words and letter combinations (e.g. surrounding letters in the word, placement of the word in the sentence, or word origin)?

Foundation Phonics Lesson – Introducing the letter and  sound: 's', /s/

Links to the curriculum

Victorian Curriculum (English): Reading and Viewing-Phonics and word   knowledge

Foundation: Recognise all upper- and lower-case letters and the most common sound that each letter represents

Reading Model: Text  decoder

Lesson overview

This lesson is an example of how a new grapheme and its common sound can be introduced to students

Group size: Whole class

Learning intention

  • We are learning that the letter 's' can make a /s/  sound.
  • We are listening carefully to words to hear the initial sound  /s/

Success criteria

I can recognise the letter s.

I can write the grapheme 's' and draw pictures/write words that start with 's'. 

I can recognise words in stories with the initial sound of /s/  aurally

Role of the reader: Text decoder

Resources required

  • Access to YouTube: Geraldine Giraffe:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUmUpf-JNoU
  • A text that contains examples of vocabulary with the initial letter 's' e.g. How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers (2004)
  • Blank half scrapbook or  workbook

Lesson sequence

  1. Clearly articulate the learning  intention:
    • Today we are learning about the letter 's' and the /s/ sound.  We will find words that start with the letter 's' and  make the /s/ sound. We are going to start collecting words so we can create a letters, sounds and word book. The first words/pictures we will add to our books will be words starting with the letter or grapheme 's'. Grapheme is another name for a letter shape.
  2. Video clip about grapheme, for example, Geraldine Giraffe:  
    • Let’s watch Geraldine Giraffe practice the letter s sound. She is going to find some things around her house that start with this sound.
    • When we hear the /s/ we are going to say it aloud and draw an 's 'in the air. Model this using the index finger. Make sure you use the hand you write with.
  3. After the video clip, bring children’s attention to the whiteboard/easel with a plain A3 piece of paper attached. Write the letter 's' at the top then ask the children to recall some of the 's' objects Geraldine the Giraffe found starting with /s/ e.g. sunglasses, scarf, spoon, stinky smelly sock:
    • Draw a picture of the object then writing the word next to it, saying the word as you write it.
  4. Ask students to pretend they are Geraldine Giraffe and look for things around the classroom that start with the /s/ sound. Encourage students to share the objects and reinforce the /s/ sound. Record (draw and write) these objects on the A3 poster too (e.g. scissors, sticky tape,  Sam, Sundus, seat, smile...) and   display.
  5. Students then work individually. Ask them to write the letter 's' in their letter, sound and word book and draw or   write some pictures and/or words from the poster or their own examples. Children requiring support may work in a small group with the teacher to complete this task.   
  6. Students return to the whole group. Read a story with a number of words starting with /s/. Encourage children to put their hands on their head when they hear/see a word starting with  /s/
    • How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers (2004) = star, stars, seek, sky, sunrise, sat, some, sun, saw, still, spaceship, seagull, something, sand
    • Ask students to record (draw and/or write) one of the words they heard from the story into their letter, sound and word book. Model by adding a picture and word to the A3 poster. Ensure the poster is displayed in the classroom   to support future reading and writing sessions.

Going further

This activity can be repeated: s, a, t, p, i, n - This order of introduction of graphemes is one suggestion as this sequence allows for the introduction of blending and segmenting of numerous words e.g. sat, pat, tap, pin, pit, pan, tan, tin, it, at, is, in.

Differentiation

Cut out pictures of different objects from magazines that start with the initial letter.

Foundation Level Sample unit: Teaching the grapheme 'p' and its phoneme /p/ 

Unit overview

Sample phonic unit on how to introduce the grapheme ‘p’ and its phoneme /p/

There are many different approaches to the teaching of phonics reflected in the practices teachers choose to use with their students and their specific learning needs. Regardless of which approach is employed, it must contain the following:

  • explicit teaching of the grapheme and phoneme
  • multiple exposures to the grapheme and phoneme through meaningful texts
  • multiple exposures to the grapheme and phoneme through meaningful contexts
  • systematic teaching of graphemes and phonemes based on what students need to learn (e.g. known knowledge versus new knowledge. Do not teach what students already know - build on known knowledge)
  • explicit links to handwriting and how the upper and lower case grapheme is represented

This unit of work is an example of how a teacher might introduce a new grapheme and its common phoneme in a Foundation classroom.

Links to the curriculum

Victorian Curriculum (English), Reading and Viewing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Foundation: Recognise all upper- and lower-case letters and the most common sound that each letter represents (VCELA146)

Victorian Curriculum (English), Reading and Viewing, Literacy: Interpreting, analysing, evaluating

Foundation: Read texts with familiar structures and features, practicing phrasing and fluency, and monitor meaning using concepts about print and emerging phonic, semantic, contextual and grammatical knowledge (VCELY152)

Victorian Curriculum (English), Writing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Foundation: Understand that spoken sounds and words can be written and know how to write some high-frequency words and other familiar words including their name (VCELA157)

Victorian Curriculum (English), Writing, Literacy: Creating textsFoundation: Understand that sounds in English are represented by upper- and lower-case letters that can be written using learned letter formation patterns for each case (VCELY162)

Victorian Curriculum (English), Speaking and Listening, Language: Phonics and word knowledge

Foundation: Identify rhyming words, alliteration patterns, syllables and some sounds (phonemes) in spoken words (VCELA168)

Victorian Curriculum (English), Speaking and Listening, Literacy: Interacting with others

Foundation: Listen to and respond orally to texts and to the communication of others in informal and structured classroom situations using interaction skills, including listening, while others speak (VCELY174).

Resources required

Texts that support the introduced grapheme ‘p’ and its phoneme /p/ such as:

  • The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko (Annick Press, 1992)
  • Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic, 2014)
  • Possum Magic -30th Birthday Edition by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1983) YouTube access: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BboBeS-vhjg
  • Mix a Pancake traditional nursery rhyme by Christina Rossetti
  • Pancake recipe

Possible teaching sequence (over several lessons)

  1. Explicitly introduce the grapheme ‘p’ (upper and lower case) and the phoneme /p/
  2. Read/view a text such as Possum Magic by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas:
    • Ask students to listen for the /p/ sound. As they hear the sound write the grapheme in the air with their finger (e.g. model this to students first by standing with your back to them so that they can easily see the correct starting points and formation)
    • If using an enlarged text, students locate all upper and lower case ‘p’ graphemes in the text
    • Innovate on the alliteration in the story (e.g. In Perth they ate pears, pizza and pickled peppers). Write these examples for students modelling the ‘p’ grapheme and sound. Illustrate and display in classroom.
  3. Identify objects with the initial sound /p/ including any student names. With students, compile an anchor chart of words with the initial sound /p/ (known words and from the classroom environment):
    • Write all the student names on cards and match names to the relevant students. Investigate how many students have a ‘p’ grapheme in their name. Discuss were the ‘p’ grapheme comes in their name and their sounds (/p/ made by ‘p’ or ‘pp’ or /f/ made by ph)
  4. Teach the nursery rhyme Mix a Pancake with an enlarged version of the text. Students view one of the many YouTube clips of the rhyme and/or learn the actions to accompany the rhyme:
    • Identify the upper and lower case ‘p’ graphemes.
    • Give students an individual copy of Mix a Pancake to include in a display folder. This can be revisited and read during independent reading time.
    • Students circle all the upper and lower case ‘p’ graphemes on their individual copy.
    • Choral reading-Students work in groups of 4 or 5 to reread the poem together. As they are practising, the group can work on possible actions, sounds effects (may be with musical instruments) or prosody to highlight the phoneme /p/ and make their version interesting. Present to classmates.
    • Students clap along to the rhythm of the text identifying the pattern of the rhyme. Discuss what words contain one clap (e.g. single syllable ‘mix’, ‘stir’ or two syllables ‘pancake’). Introduce this metalanguage.
    • Innovate on the rhyme by asking students to think of other action verbs that could be used instead of mix, stir, pop, flip, toss and catch such as_________the pancake,_________the pancake,_________it in the pan,_________the pancake,_________the pancake,_________it if you can.
  5. Make pancakes as a language experience:
    • Display an enlarged text of a pancake recipe. Discuss the organisation and purpose of the non-fiction text. Highlight all the words that start with grapheme ‘p’.
    • While making pancakes, reuse words that have the initial phoneme /p/ (e.g. pancake, procedure, pour). Explicitly link the /p/ phoneme to the grapheme.
    • Write a wall story or classroom text on Making Pancakes. Explicitly focus on the ‘p’ grapheme and /p/ phoneme during modelled or shared writing.
    • Make individual Language Experience books. Students highlight the ‘p’ grapheme in the sentence/s they write. House individual Language Experience books in student book boxes to be read during independent reading.
  6. Read Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey:
    • Students identify upper and lower case initial /p/ graphemes in words (e.g. Pig, pug, paw, puff, pile). Write these words on cards with other words from the text. Students sort words by their initial letter looking for ‘p’ grapheme. A further sort could be words that contain 3 letters, 4 letters etc. Revise notion of letter and word.
    • Identify words in the text that rhyme with pig such as ‘wig’. Articulate both words to students and ask them to identify the part of both words that sounds the same. Ask them to think of other words that sound like or rhyme with ‘pig’ accepting real and made up words.
    • Make the word ‘pig’ with magnetic letters on a whiteboard or via an interactive whiteboard. Break the one syllable word into its onset ‘p’ and rime ’ig’. Provide other onsets (e.g. w, f, d, w, b, tw) and manually remove the grapheme ‘p’ and substitute with another onset. Make new words and explicitly show how knowing the word ‘pig’ can help readers and writers ‘know’ other words that look and sound like it.
  7. Read The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko:
    • As the teacher reads the text, students write the grapheme ‘p’ on their whiteboard every time they hear a word that begins with the initial sound /p/. Before beginning reading, explicitly teach and model the correct handwriting formation for upper and lower case ‘p’, keeping in mind correct grip.
    • Students make a paperbag princess or prince puppet. Whilst decorating the paperbag puppets, orally reinforce the grapheme and phoneme.
    • Students work with a partner to retell the story from the two different perspectives. One from the prince and the other from the point of view of the paperbag princess. The listener claps every time they hear a word that begins with the phoneme /p/.
  8. Students search their own texts to find words that contain the initial letter ‘p’. Students find examples of words that begin with upper and lower case ‘p’ words. Revise the use of the metalanguage upper and lower case and its purpose. Students also look for ‘p’ graphemes within a word or end in the grapheme ‘p’. Record, share and add to class anchor chart.
  9. Students participate in activities that involve repetition and multiple exposures of the grapheme and phoneme ‘p’ such as:
    • locating all the 'p' graphemes in their guided/shared reading text by using sticky notes as they read
    • identifying upper and lower case p graphemes in a pile of magnetic letters
    • identifying and cutting out words that contain p graphemes in magazines
    • play ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning/ending with /p/’and its phoneme /p/

Level 6 Phonics -  Greek word origins

Links to the curriculum

Victorian Curriculum (English) Writing: Phonics and word knowledge

Level 6: Understand how to use banks of known words, word origins, base words, prefixes, suffixes, spelling patterns and generalisations to read and spell new words, including technical words and words adopted from other languages (VCELA354).

Resources

Text containing Greek origins such as Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by R. Riordan (2004, UK: Puffin).

Examples of words of Greek origins and Advanced (Tier 2/3) vocabulary e.g. claustrophobic, technically, prophecy, chaos, swaddling

Group size

Small group

Learning intention

We are learning how words of Greek origin influence today's English.

We are developing our ability to use phonic knowledge to recognise increasingly complex  words.

Success criteria

I can recognise patterns in words of Greek origin. I can find additional words that fit these patterns.

Role of the reader

Text decoder

Lesson sequence

  1. Clearly articulate the learning intention:
    • We are going to continue reading about Greek Gods. A good example of a name of Greek origin is a character from the book - Persephone. We can use our existing understanding that 'ph' makes a /f/ sound and that an 'e' on the end of a word of Greek origin sometimes makes a long sound = per-sef-on-ee. Let's continue reading and see if there are some other words that fit this pattern.
    • If possible, provide students with copies of the book or make a copy of the text that students can read along with.
  2. Read the text to the students, stopping to discuss pronunciation of words of Greek origin as appropriate. e.g. 'y' sometimes makes a long 'i' sound e.g.'cyclops', 'Hyperion' and sometimes a short 'i' sound e.g  'Olympus', and  'Dionysus'
  3. Other 'ph' words in the text - Aphrodite, prophecy, Delphi, claustrophobic, photograph
  4. After reading, ask students to record some of the words that show these letter-sound patterns.
  5. As a group, brainstorm other words from existing knowledge that could be addede.g. telephone, graph, cipher, philosophye.g. cycle, Cypress vs cymbals, circle

Going further

This activity links to developing understanding of Greek morphemes. Other letter-sound patterns from Greek word origins include:

  • 'ch' = /k/ - e.g. chaos, stomach, chronology, technical
  • 'ps' = /s/ - e.g. psychic, pseudonym, psychology

Differentiation

Support can be provided by teacher in this small group environment.  Extension through students continuing to read independently and identifying other examples of these letter-sound patterns.