Lesson 2: Sounds representing initial letters (developing phonological and orthographical knowledge) in interactive writing

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English

English, Writing, Language: Phonics and word knowledge


  • 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)

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Pathway A


Level A1:

  • Write new words with an initial letter or several letters (VCEALL077)
  • Recognise the importance of accurate reproduction of letters and words (VCEALA060)
  • Spell with accuracy some consonant–vowel–consonant words and common words learnt in the classroom (VCEALL080)

Level A2:

  • Show interest in patterns of spelling (VCEALA147)
  • Spell with accuracy familiar words and words with common letter patterns (VCEALL159)

Pathway B


Level BL:

  • Spell a number of high-frequency words accurately (VCEALL237)

Level B1:

  • Spell accurately common words encountered in the classroom VCEALL318)

Theory/practice connections

In this subsequent lesson, the focus shifts to how phonemes or sounds can be represented in writing. Students practise writing the initial letter of words, focusing on the letter P to represent the /p/ sound, as explored earlier in the reading lesson.

The teaching strategy of interactive writing is used here. Interactive writing provides excellent opportunities to explicitly teach the secretarial skill of spelling (as well as reading). “Children become apprentice writers who work alongside an experienced writer – the teacher” (Mackenzie, 2015, p. 36).

Learning Intentions

We are learning to hear, say and write the first letter in a word.

We are learning to write the upper and lower-case letter P.

Success Criteria

I can hear, say and write the first letter in a word.

I can write the lower and upper-case letter P.

Role of the writer

Text encoder - representing sounds in words with letters.

Group Size 

Whole class, or small group (4-6 students).

Lesson Sequence

  1. Reread the picture book aloud to students for pleasure. With subsequent readings, students will join in with more and more of the reading with the teacher as the text becomes more familiar.
  2. Students reread list of words starting with /p/ sound from the previous lesson. Ask individual students to point to the first letter of each word on the list. Ask, What letter is this called?
  3. After a short discussion and with guidance from the teacher, students suggest a sentence they could write about Pig the Pug using some of the list words and new words. For example, Pig the pug played with a pile of pretty pink toys.
  4. Teacher and students write the sentence together. The teacher and each student hold a different coloured texta (or pen on interactive whiteboard). The teacher asks a different student to write the upper or lower-case letter P each time it occurs while the teacher writes the other parts of the words.
  5. While writing, the teacher can do some explicit teaching about listening for and isolating initial sounds and discuss which letter could represent that sound. Students could refer back to list to find words. Some guidance could also be given around handwriting skills such as letter formation and pencil grip.
  6. After each word is added the sentence is read by the group in order to remember which word comes next. When complete the students read the full sentence while the teacher or another child points to the words.
  7. The teacher asks different individual students to find words which begin with the /p/sound and to circle the letter which makes that sound.
  8. The students sign their names at the bottom of the writing in the colour of the texta/pen used. This allows the teacher to return to the text later to assess students’ handwriting and spelling ability.


The teacher can provide individual support at the point of need for each student who shares the pen. This strategy assumes that the teacher knows the strengths and challenges for each student. Small group instruction allows the teacher to select students with like needs.