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TEFL  Program - Teaching English to Classes 1-3 - Using PHONICS

Page history last edited by Chris Moore 13 years, 6 months ago

Purpose of teaching phonetically reading to children

Phonics instruction serves one purpose: to help readers figure out as quickly as possible the pronunciation of unknown words. Phonics is a tool needed by all readers and writers of alphabetically written languages such as English.


Teaching Strategies for Phonics Instruction


Sound Play

  • Take nature walks or share tape recordings of everyday sounds.
  • Listen and identify sounds in the environment.
  • Play taped rhythms or model rhythms for students to duplicate by clapping or tapping out the patterns using percussion instruments.
  • Share literature selections with predictable language.
  • Share tongue twisters that feature specific phonemes.


  • Share nursery rhymes, poems, finger plays, and songs that demonstrate rhyming, repetition, and alliteration.
  • Display a picture or an object from a story, nursery rhyme, poem, finger play, or song. Have students identify as many words as possible that might rhyme with the name of the object.
  • Construct a list of rhyming words drawn from reading materials that are familiar to the students. Assign a word to each student. Call out two rhyming words and ask the students who have those words to act out the two words.
  • Construct rhyming couplets. Read the stem and ask students to complete the rhyming word. An example of a couplet follows:

    I went to the circus in town
    To see the funny ___________ (clown).
  • Sit in a circle and ask students to imagine going on a class trip. Then give one student a ball. That student begins a rhyming couplet by completing the following frame:

    "We're going on a trip and I'm taking a ____ (hat)."
    The ball is tossed to a second student, who responds,
    "We're going on a trip and I' taking a _______ (bat, mat, etc…)"
    The ball is tossed to another student who continues by starting a new couplet with a different ending.

Identifying Sounds

  • Have students look into individual mirrors and tell them to look at the location of their lips, tongue, and teeth, when pronouncing certain sounds and words. Use these observations to discuss how certain sounds are produced.
  • Create a list of word pairs. Some should have the same number of phonemes, others different numbers. Pronounce the words pairs, ask students to identify which pairs have the same number and which do not.
  • Create a list with pairs of words. Some should end with the same phoneme. Pronounce each word pair and ask students to indicate if the pair ends with the same sound or a different one.
  • Prepare a class picture dictionary. Write the uppercase and lowercase letter that represents the initial phoneme. Collect pictures for each of the letter-sounds.
  • Create a mobile or collage that features words or pictures of words that begin or end with a specific sound (phoneme).
  • Play a consonant riddle game by presenting the riddle in the following frame: "I'm thinking of something that rhymes with dish but starts with /f/. What can it be?
  • Use word walls to display words that feature specific sounds or patterns.

Segmenting Words into Sounds

  • Have students use letter tiles or small objects to represent the phonemes in a word.
  • Ask students to pronounce a word. Then ask them to repeat the same word without one of the sounds. Begin by having them delete the initial consonant sound and conclude by having them delete the final consonant sound.
  • Using a large rubber band as a visual, stretch it as you slowly pronounce a particular word. Instruct the students to pretend to stretch a rubber band when they pronounce words to identify the individual phonemes or sounds.
  • Use magnetic letters or colored chalk or markers to visually differentiate segments of words by syllables.
  • After students have been introduced to word families, construct manipulative such as word wheels or flip books to create various words.

Blending Sounds Into Words

  • Identify the phonemes in a blending riddle that provides a clue to the meaning. One example might be: "I am thinking of a small, furry animal that meows" The sounds are /k/a/t/.
  • Assign each student a specific phoneme. Form teams of students to create words from the blending of their assigned sounds. The words can be shared orally or visually by spelling the words on the board or charts.
  • Construct a cloze passage from familiar material that has been read to the student or that the student has read. Delete every fifth word by covering it with a sticky note or select key words with particular sounds or patterns that you want to review. As students read the material, encourage them to "guess" the missing word using clues you provide. Start by providing the initial letter, and continue giving letters for them to use by blending their sounds until the word is identified.

Combining Phonics Skills

  • Incorporate repeated readings of familiar passages or stories with previously taught spelling patterns to develop fluency and rate.
  • Use a stamp and stamp pad to create words. Once the words are constructed, vocalize each phoneme, blending the sounds, then discuss the meaning of the word. A picture of the word might also be drawn.
  • When teaching words with common spelling patterns, use word sorts to encourage students to sort according to the common patterns. Open sorts involve presenting the students with the list of words to be sorted in any way they choose. Closed sorts involve presenting the students with a list and instructions on how to sort them.
  • Demonstrate the connection of phonics with spelling by using dictation and free writing activities.
  • Include commercially prepared children's games that support sound/spelling relationships, such as Hangman, Scrabble, and Got-A-Minute in learning center areas.
  • Making words. Begin by displaying and introducing a word to the students. Create a list of shorter words that can be constructed using letters from the larger word. Provide the students with individual letter tiles or cards. Prompt the students to construct 2-letter words. Pronounce the words and use each one in a sentence. Continue constructing smaller words, increasing the number of letters used. Prompt the students to look for patterns as the words are created. Review all the words that were created and encourage students to use the words in authentic writing activities.

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