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© 2015 Teach to Read

Lesson Plans and Progression for the Initial Teaching of Reading and Writing in Schools


By Elizabeth Nonweiler


I wrote these lesson plans originally for teachers in Carriacou and Petite Martinique in the Caribbean.

Teachers tried them out and I adapted them as I learned how they worked in practice.


The only resources needed to use the lesson plans are something for the teacher to write on that the children can see, and something for each child to write on and with. However, if you have more resources, you can easily adapt the plans. You could use a Jolly Phonics Big Book or a puppet to introduce the letter-sounds; ready-printed word cards, magnetic letters or an interactive whiteboard for reading and spelling words; slates or mini-whiteboards for the children to write on. The plans are based on Jolly Phonics, but they could be used without a commercial programme or with resources from a different synthetic phonics programme.


This is what is included:

an overview of how to use the lesson plans

an overview of the first two years of teaching reading using synthetic phonics

daily plans for the first ten weeks

suggestions for follow-up activities

an overview of progression after the first ten weeks, with sample lesson plans

how to help children who are slower to learn to read than the rest of the class

how to teach tricky words and alternative spellings


If you would like to be sent the lesson plans, please contact Teach to Read with your email address.

There is no charge.


An example of a lesson plan:


















Letter-Sound Learning
Week 3 Day 1     'm'
Revise letter-sounds that have been taught. Hold up printed cards, one at a time in quick succession, for all the children to say the sounds. They may do the actions too.
Revise letter-sounds
Write the lower case letter 'm' in the middle of the board.
Ask children to tell the class what their favourite meal is.
Rub tummy, pretending to see tasty food, and say /mmmm/.
Say /m/.
Point to 'm' on the board. Say, 'This is /m/.'Point to it again. Ask, 'What is this?' Children say /m/.
'm' sounds /m/.
Write words containing the letter 'm' on the board.OR show the children words in print with the letter 'm' (e.g. in the Jolly Phonics Big Book). Ask a child to point to /m/. If the child points correctly, all the children say /m/.
At this stage the children are NOT asked to read these words.
Find the letter for /m/.
Blending and Reading
Week 3 Day 1   'm'
Write on the board a word with only the letters that have been taught.
Ask the children to say each of the sounds as you point with your finger under each letter.
e.g.  /m/  /a/  /p/
Repeat, but this time move your finger smoothly from one letter to the next, as you repeat each sound slowly and fluently, blending the sounds to read the word.
A child comes out to the board and points under each letter while the other children repeat the blending procedure to read the word.
Children blend and read other words with only the letters that have been taught, following the same procedure.
e.g. stem
Identifying Sounds and Spelling
Week 3 Day 1     'm'
Ask the children to help you spell a word. Say a word with three sounds.
Ask the children to repeat the word and then tell you the sounds in it.
They should hold up and touch a finger for each sound and then repeat the whole word again.
e.g. Ask the children, 'What are the sounds in ram?' The children repeat, 'ram’. They say  /r/ and hold up and touch one finger, then /a/ and hold up and touch a second finger and then /m/ and hold up and touch a third finger. They say 'ram' again, running the touching finger along the top of the sound fingers to show they are blending the sounds.
e.g. Segment 'ram'.
/r/  /a/  /m/
Ask the children to tell you each sound while you write it.
e.g. Say, 'I want you to help me write ram. What is the first sound in ram?'
Children say /r/. You write 'r' on the board. Say, 'What is the next sound in ram?' Children say /a/. You write 'a' on the board. Say, 'What is the last sound in ram?' Children say /m/. You write 'm' on the board.
Spell 'ram'.
/r/  /a/  /m/
When the word is written, say, 'Let's check'. Check by following the blending and reading procedure.
Check every time, whether the word is correctly spelled or not.
e.g. The children read, '/r/ ... /a/ ... /m/ ... ram,' while you move your finger under the letters, first separately and then smoothly to read the whole word.

e.g. Read 'ram'.
/r/  /a/  /m/
Letter Formation and Dictation
Week 3 Day 1    'm'
Talk the children through the formation of 'm' while demonstrating 'm' on a line on the board.
Show the formation of 'm' in the air while describing the movement. The children watch and then imitate, saying /mmm/. They do this several times.
Form 'm' in the air.
The children practise writing 'm' on a slate, a whiteboard or a line on paper.
Write 'm'.
Dictate the sound of a letter the children have been taught; e.g. say, 'Show me /e/.'  Children write a letter for that sound. Repeat dictation with other letters.
Hear sounds and write letters.
e.g. Hear /e/.
Write 'e'.