Archive for the ‘Phonics and Reading’ Category


Alphabet Lesson

(The letter sounds are more important for reading than the letter names, but the letter names give you and the child a vocabulary for learning to read.  Work on both letter sounds and names, but give the sounds more focus.  Make sure phonics sounds are made clearly without an “UH” at the end.)

Objective:  To create an awareness of letters and their sounds in children and, informally assess what they know.  Also, to help children recognize the first sound in their name.


  • Copy the ABC song, one for each child, on colored card stock.   ABC song
  • Have music and pictures of the letter sound.  (Optional)
  • Have a name card for each child.
  • Have tracing paper and pencils.


  • Give each child an alphabet card and sing the ABC song.  Have each child touch the letters as you sing the song.  You may need to sing the song real slow the first time.  Sing it slow from Ll to Pp.  End the song with, “next time won’t you touch the letters with me.”  This will help children connect the song to the letters.  Do this song several times over the next few weeks.
  • If you have the music and pictures for each sound,  play the song for the first letter in every child’s name while showing their name card.


Give each child their name card, tracing paper and a pencil.  Let them trace their name.  Then have them write their name without tracing.  (This activity lets you assess their writing skills, while still being fun.)

An additional activity is to make a name book for each child.   These can be the words for the four pages.   (My name is ______.  I am ______ years old.   I like school.  I like ________.) Children can draw the pictures for each page.

For more educational tips and information visit

Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey, Diddle, Diddle

Objective: Help children enjoy the language of the nursery rhyme,“Hey, Diddle, Diddle”.



  • Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
  • The cow jumped over the moon.
  • The little dog laughed to see such a sport,
  • And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Read the book or the rhyme then discuss words:

  • Action words– jumped, laughed, and ran.
  • Diddle– waste time.
  • Fiddle– a musical instrument like a violin
  • Sport– in this rhyme it means to play or have fun.  

Discussion questions:

  • What is the rhyme about?
  • Could this really happen?
  • Who plays a fiddle?
  • Who jumps over the moon?
  • Who laughed?
  • What are the dish and the spoon doing?

Activity: Hey, Diddle, Diddle, Book

Have the children write in the missing words and draw a picture to go with the sentence on each page.

Long Vowel Simple Sight Words

Long Vowel Simple Sight Word Lesson: ( Free worksheets.)

Do a lesson for each long vowel sound.

I (2)


  • Make cards for the words  me, we, he, she.
  • Copy the long vowel worksheets. Worksheet for long vowel E words Worksheet for long vowel I words Worksheet for ay long vowel words (You may want to do another lesson on AY words. may, say, day and a lesson for I words. I, hi, sky, fly, why)
  • Locate  the book: He Bear, She Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Lesson:  Rule:  Vowels not followed by a consonant and end a syllable, especially the first syllable, are usually long.  

  • Discuss the rule.
  • Read together all the word cards.
  • Read the story He Bear, She Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain.


  • Do the worksheet together. Write the letter to finish the word and review the sound, combine the consonant with the long vowel and sound out the word, then draw a picture  of each word.
  • Repeat with each word.
  •  Have the children read the words to as many people as possible for their homework.


  • On the back of the worksheet have them write some other long vowel E words and draw pictures for each.  ( tree, bee, free, see, )
  • Put this sentence on the back of the worksheet.  ( See the bee in the tree.)   Have the children draw the picture for this sentence.
  • Make a simple book where they draw the pictures with these words,  He sees  _____.  She sees_____.  We see _____. I see  ______.



Objective:  Children will discover how shadows are made.  (These ideas are great for Groundhog Day or any sunny day.)


  • Find pictures of shadows and sundials.
  • Sidewalk chalk.
  • Lamp or flashlight. 
  • Sundial– if you can find one or make one.
  • Card stock and Popsicle sticks for shadow puppets.
  • Suggested book:  What Makes a Shadow? by Clyde Robert Bulla

Lesson: Begin the lesson outside (weather permitting).

  • Trace the shadows of the children (or partner them up and have them take turns tracing their partner’s shadow) with sidewalk chalk. Ask children to describe their shadows. How is your shadow like you? How is it different? (Compare shadows at the end of the class or lesson to the chalk outline.)
  • Find other interesting shadows to trace with chalk. Trees, playground equipment, and toys have interesting shadows.

Discussion:   (You may want to go inside for this part.)
Read the book and discuss shadows.

  • A shadow happens when an object (or a person) gets between the Sun or some other light and the surface of the Earth. 
  • Before we had clocks people used shadows to tell time. The sundial is the oldest known scientific instrument. It is based on the fact that the shadow of an object will move from one side of the object to the other as the sun “moves” from east to west during the day.
  • Use your hands and the lamp to make shadows on the wall. Make shadows that look like a flapping bird, quacking duck or running spider. What shadow shapes can you make with your hands? You can also place other objects in front of the light to create strange shadows.  Have the kids try to guess what the object is. Use opaque and transparent objects to observe that light can be blocked and describe the resulting shadows. Move the objects closer to the light and then farther away from the light to demonstrate  How the distance from the light change the shape of the shadow.


  • Make shadow puppets: children can put on a shadow play.  Cut out figures from card stock paper and glue them to a Popsicle stick to make puppets.  Use these as shadow puppets.  Make up a story to go along with your shadow creations.
  • Play a game of shadow tag: Take children outside to an unobstructed area. Select one child to be it. The remaining children run around, trying to stay as far away as the child who is it as they can. The child who is it tries to step on the shadows of the players. When it steps on a players shadow, the player is out of the game. The game continues until the child who is it has stepped on all the shadows of his opponents.

Lesson Plan for Short Vowel Uu

Letter Uu

Objective:  Teach the short Uu or Schwa sound,  recognize some words with that sound, and compare it to the long sound of Uu .


  • Be prepared to talk about the sound of disappointment.  (Uh!).  Check out our website for phonics materials taught through music and our phonics lesson plans.
  • Copy the poem, “Look Up”.
  • Collect some pictures That start with the short sound of Uu and the long sound of Uu.
  • Copy this word paper. Uu words
  • Have a large paper to write an “UP” poem.
  • Write some high frequency Schwa words on cards. (the, a, love, come, some, away, up, us, but, etc.
  • Possible book:  Great Day for Up by Dr. Suess


Listen to at least 10 songs in Phonics By Spelling books including the long and short sounds of “Uu”.

Johnny worked so hard to build his block tower.  Uh! He was so sad when he made it fall.  Let’s make the “Uh! So Sad!” sound together.  This sound or schwa sound is the most used sound in the English language.  Every vowel can make this sound.  In multi-syllable words, the unaccented syllable often has the schwa sound.

Read the poem, “Look Up”.

  • Look up at the sky.
  • What do you see?
  • Gray clouds up,
  • Rain coming down.
  • What will we do?
  • Where will we go?
  • Under my umbrella,
  • Don’t you know.
  •   -Anonymous

Talk about the short Uu words in the poem.

Show and discuss pictures of things that have the short and long sound of Uu.


Give each child a paper with Uu words. Uu words

  • Read the words together.
  • Have them draw the pictures for each word.  You may want to help by step by step showing them simple ways to draw each picture.
  • Have them practice writing some of the words, make rhyming words or make the letter Uu.
  • Read together some Schwa high frequency or short vowel U words.  Have them write some of the words on the back of their paper.   

You may also write a poem about “UP” together.

Possibly, read the book, Great Day for Up, by Dr. Suess.

Lesson Plan Ideas for the CH sound.

CH Sound

Objective:  Help children recognize  the CH sound and compared it to the Kk sound of Cc.


  • Be prepared to have children scuff feet.
  • Collect some pictures with the CH sound, and pictures with C making the K sound.
  • Copy the poem “Children” .
  • Great lesson plans, worksheets and simple books at our website.  (Phonics By Spelling has worksheets and simple books for the other sound besides the alphabet sounds.  It comes in a CD that can be reproduced as many times as needed for your students for $15. )
  • Have dark paper, colored chalk, and hair spray or liquid starch.  Tips for Chalk Pictures:  Use large shirts for paint shirts.  Use hair spray or liquid starch to set the chalk once the picture is finished.  It is easier with 4 or less children at a time.


Listen to songs in Phonics By Spelling books including CH and Cc.

Have the children scuff their feet across the carpet.  See if your shoes make that sound on your carpet.  Make the CH sound and compare with the Cc when it makes the Kk sound. 

Read the poem “Children”.

  • Children
  • Young, Busy,
  • Drinks, Snacks, Messes,
  • Running, Chatting, Chuckling
  • Loudly, Quickly, Freely, Emotionally
  • Truthful, Cheerful, Tearful
  • Games, Smiles, Hugs
  • Fun, Surprise,
  • Childhood


Discuss the CH words in the poem.   (You may need to define some of the words.)

Show pictures of things that have the CH sound, and Cc when it has the Kk sound.  Sort the pictures between the two sounds.  Talk about words that have the CH, but have the Kk sound or the SH sound.  Add some CH words to your wall card or word wall.  (child, chin, nature, catch)


You may want to make a simple book with the children drawing some simple CH words.  Here are some sample words for each page.  (Children like chalk.  Children like cherries.  Children like peaches. Children like chocolate chip cookies. Children like church.)

With a small group, have them draw a chalk picture of something with the CH sound.  Point out that the word “picture” has the CH sound for the letter “t”.  Spraying the picture with hair spray or painting on liquid starch will keep the chalk from smearing.   

Lesson for the Letter Sound for Mm

Letter Mm

Objective:  To help children recognize the Mm sound in words, the letter Mm and other letters .


  • Have Phonics By Spelling books and music.  We have lesson plans with more fun phonetic sound ideas at our website.
  • Have cookies for each child.
  • Collect some pictures with the Mm sound as the beginning sound and letter, and some other pictures for others to compare.
  • Copy the Nursery Rhyme “Three Little Kittens”.
  • Have their name cards.
  • Print and make Millie books for each child.  (Cut, fold and staple on the left.)  reader millie
  • Have capital and lower case letters or  magnet letters . 


Listen to at least 10 songs in Phonics By Spelling books including Mm.  Touch each letter, picture, and spelling.  Enjoy the chants.

Replay the “Mm Millie’s Yummy Cookie ” song.  Give each child a cookie.  (Or pretend to give each a cookie.)  Take small bites together.  Say “Mmmm” after each bite.  (Keep your mouth closed, and make sure there is no Uh at the end.)

Read the Nursery Rhyme “Three Little Kittens”.  

  • Three little kittens lost their mittens,
  •     and they began to cry,
  • “Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear
  •     Our mittens we have lost!
  • “What! Lost your mittens,
  •      you naughty kittens!
  • Then you shall have no pie.”
  •      “Meow, meow, meow!”
  • Three little kittens found their mittens,
  •     and they began to cry,
  • “Oh! mother dear, see here, see here,
  •     Our mittens we have found.”
  • “What! Found your mittens,
  •     you good little kittens,
  • Then you shall have some pie.”
  •     “Purr, purr, purr.”

Talk about words that have the Mm sound.  Review other sounds.  Do any of the words have the Ll sound?  Or Hh?   Etc.

Show pictures of things that have the Mm sound at the beginning, and some other pictures.  “Which pictures have the “Millie’s Yummy Cookie” sound?”  Use sticky notes to add some Mm words to the letter Mm wall card.  (me, my, mom, man)

Take the children’s name cards and see who has an Mm in their name.


Letter Matching:  With a small group, randomly give each child some letters (Capital and Lowercase).  Ask who has the Aa letters.  Put them together on the table.  Then ask for the Bb’s.  Continue until you have all the letters.  Then sing the alphabet song.  It is fun to sing the song differently by singing A, a, B, b, C, c, etc.  (You have to do the tune through twice.)  

 Millie book:  Give each child a book then read together each page and have them draw the picture that goes with each page.  Have them read the book to their family. 

Lesson Plan Ideas for the “AW” sound.

Teaching the “AW” Soundball


  •    Be prepared to talk about what you say when you see a cute puppy or kitten.
  •    Collect some pictures with the AW sound in the word.
  •    Decide on a worksheet (A great worksheet is in our reproducible work book called The Other Sounds.  Check out our website :  Here is a sample worksheet from our workbook; worksheet aw with pictures
  •  Use the reproducible simple book from, The Other Sounds, workbook or make a simple 4 page book called, Draw.  Have the children draw the pictures.  Here are some sample sentences for the pages.  (I can draw a ball.  I can draw a paw.  I can draw a saw.  I can draw an awesome picture.)
  •   Have their name cards.
  •   Have some rhyming words listed such as: saw, caw, jaw, paw, raw, thaw, draw,  call, ball, fall, hall, mall, tall, small.


  • Listen to at least 10 songs in Phonics By Spelling books including AW.   Johnny saw a cute puppy in front of the store.   “AH! Cute Puppy”.  Compare this sound with the short Oo sound. (This sound is made with the mouth not as open as the short Oo sound.  In some dialects they are the same sound.)  Talk about seeing a cute puppy or kitten and make the AW sound.
  • Show pictures of things that have the AW sound.  Help children recognize the sound in the beginning, middle, and end.   (ball, wall, hall, saw, paw, draw, talk, walk, etc.)
  • Discuss how “w” and “l” make the “a” have the AW sound. 
  • Read together the lists of words with the AW sound.  
  • Take the children’s name cards and see if anyone has the AW sound in their name.


  1.  Do together a worksheet that helps a child recognize the sound.
  2. Make a Draw book.

Lesson Plan Ideas for “Heavy Books” sound. (oo)

OO Sound

Objective:  Help children recognize the Short OO sound in written and verbal words.


  • Collect a stack of heavy books.
  • Collect pictures of things with the short OO sound such as book, hook, wood.
  • Have paper and marker ready to make a list of short OO words.
  •  Phonics songs can be found at this website. .
  •  Locate the Fairy Tale, “Little Red Riding Hood”.


Listen to at least 10 songs in Phonics By Spelling books including short OO.

Lift some heavy books or pretend to lift some books, and make the short OO sound.  Compare with other Oo sounds.

Read this line from “Little Red Riding Hood”.

“Little Red Riding Hood took the basket of goodies to Grandmother.  Grandmother’s house is through the woods.”

Talk about the words with the short OO sound.  Make a list of words.  (hood, took, goodies, woods)  Show pictures of short OO words and write the words.  Have the children help you write other words with this sound.  (pull, put, pull, look, book, should, etc.)  Take about the spellings making this sound.   

Read  or tell the story, “Little Red Riding Hood”.   Write together a new ending for “Little Red Riding Hood”.

Have fun!

Mini-Lesson for the EAR Sound

Ears Hear

Objective:  Help children recognize the EAR sound in words and review some high frequency words.


  • Make  word cards of ryhming EAR words and other R words.  (deer, cheer, here, fear, dear, hear,  gear, year, spear, car, fir, door, chair, red)
  • Make simple books by printing this PDF. Cut, fold then staple on the left side.  reader Ears Hear for blog
  • Prepare “Build a Man” (Like Hangman) game.  — Make word cards  of  EAR words and some simple high frequency words.  — Have a wipeboard or chalkboard.  — Have chalk or marker.  –Have several copies of the letters.  (You could copy the ABC song  and a list of high frequency words from our website.  )


  • Use word cards to sound out  together some EAR rhyming words.   Compare the EAR sound (short I and ER sound) with the other R-controlled sounds and the beginning Rr sound.  (AR, ER, OR, EAR, AIR, Rr)  *The Rr at the beginning of a syllable has a different sound to an R in any other position in a word.
  • You may want to include the songs and pictures from Phonics By Spelling.


  • Give children the EARS HEAR book and help them read and draw the pictures.
  • Play “Build a Man”. (Like Hangman)  Have a child pick a word from the prepared word cards.  Draw a square on the board.  Draw as many lines as the word has letters.   Have the children take turns picking a letter from the list of letters.  If the letter is in the word, write it on the line where it goes.  Then the person picking the right letter can guess the word.  If the letter isn’t in the word, then write it to the side and draw a body part.  Cross off the letter on the paper with the list of letters. If the man is drawn before the word is written out, then the child drawing wins.  Pick a new child to play.  If a child guesses the word, then he/she has a turn to draw.   Winning is reward enough.  Never give treats for winning.

A recipe for “PionEER Scones” will be on the blog tomorrow.

Check out our website for helpful products for teaching the phonics sounds.  We have lesson plans, reproducible workbooks with simple readers for children, simple songs for each sound and fun simple watercolor pictures.

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