How to Teach Phonics For All Levels: Lesson Plan for Teachers

Alexander fun activities, Phonics, Reading, Red Cat Reading

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1. Getting Started

You can’t go wrong with starting off your lesson with the alphabet! It helps prepare your students for phonics and sets the tone for the rest of the lesson. Sing along to the Alphabet Song and point to the letters on the walls of your classroom, if you have them! You can also have your students point along to a phonics chart if they have them.

2. Phonics Fun

After you get settled in with the Alphabet Song, it’s time to announce the phonic that’ll be the main focus of your lesson. It’s best to learn one phonic at a time, as not to confuse or overwhelm your students.

Show the students the target phonic’s video. Ask your students what they think!

Next, write your phonic on the board. Say the name of the letter/s and the phonic sound out loud. Ask the class to repeat. Rewrite the phonic multiple times over the line/s you’ve already written.

Now it’s time to sing the target phonic’s song! Listen to it one time. Try singing the song slowly without music. Then sing again with the music! Don’t be surprised if your students want to listen over and over again!

Next, get out some flashcards that have some key vocabulary on them that start with the same phonic as the phonic you’re teaching. Review these with the class. After they’ve gotten more familiar with the words, try playing some games with the cards!

3. Game Time

There are many games you can play with flashcards that’ll get your students excited and fully engaged in learning. These games are great for students of any level and spark friendly competition that can really get your students focused and having a blast. Give them a try and let the fun begin!

1) Phonics Slam

A favorite amongst students is the “Phonics Slam” game. For this game, the teacher reviews each card one-by-one with the class and puts the cards face-up on the table. The teacher then asks the students to put their hands on their heads, then calls out the vocabulary words at random one at a time. When the students hear the word, they should quickly try to touch or smack the correct card. Whoever touches the card first must repeat the word, then put it in their own card pile face-down. You can make the game more challenging by saying words that aren’t included in that set of cards. You might see some hands reach out to the cards only to find that the card isn’t there!

2) Memory Game

A real challenge is the “Memory” game. Review the entire set of flashcards. Be sure to have your students watching carefully and focused on the cards. Take one flashcard. Show it to the students. Ask them to say the word on their own first, then say the word if they need help. Put the card face-down on the table. Touch the card one time and ask the students what the card is again. They should have the card fresh in their mind and be able to answer easily. Continue the same pattern with the other cards, but stop quizzing them on the face-down cards after about 3 cards. After all of the cards are face-down on the table, ask one student, “Where is____?”. Don’t allow other students to help or give any hints. The student has one chance to flip one card over and check if it’s the card they’re looking for. If they’re correct, they can repeat the word and add the card to their own pile. If they are incorrect, they must put the card back face-down onto the table. Students should take turns trying to guess the cards one-by-one. Whoever has the most cards wins.

3) Word Building Challenge

The Word Building Challenge is a great chance to check how many words your students have memorized from your lessons while having lots of fun! First, review the phonics written on the cards with the students. Be sure to clearly pronounce the phonic sound! Next, show one phonic card to everyone. Ask, “What word starts with__?”. Students should raise their hands and not shout out the answers. Call on all students one-by-one until they can’t think of any other words that start with that phonic sound. Feel free to keep track of the words that have already been said by writing a list on the board or have the students write their own lists, if they’re able to write. The better the students’ understanding of the phonic sound, the more words they should be able to recall from lessons or familiar words they’ve already heard.

4. Writing Practice

Your students should be more comfortable with some of the vocabulary and recognizing your target phonic Now you’re ready to start the worksheet for your target phonic. Make a large teacher copy of the target phonic’s page. This will make it easier for the students to see. Trace the phonic with your finger while counting the number of strokes for that phonic. Ask the class to say the phonic sound together. Next, trace the letters on the dotted lines. Then, write them on the dotted lines below. After that, point to the vocabulary pictures. Say them out loud and ask the class to repeat. Try to imitate the vocabulary if possible. (For example: For ‘snake’ students can hiss like a snake. For ‘sit’ students can stand up and sit down.) Trace the words. Last, look at the picture that is described by the sentence. Ask the students to describe what they see and what they think is happening. Remember, the goal isn’t to get the perfect answer, but to keep your students engaged in the activity and talking.

By this point, the students should be more than ready to try for themselves! Pass out the phonics practice book or pages. Let the students try to write by themselves first, then offer help if they’re clearly struggling or directly asking for help. Don’t forget to praise a job well done!

5. Get Talking

It can be difficult to get some of the quieter and more reserved students talking, especially if they are non-native speakers and their English is still at the beginning stages. Luckily, there are ways to combat this issue and get your students fully engaged and enjoying your lessons!


If your students are absolute beginners, they cannot be expected to answer questions and express themselves easily, especially if they’re non-native speakers. The first step to getting your beginner students talking is through repetition practice. Encourage them to listen and repeat as much as possible. Incorporate songs into your lessons that the students can easily memorize and sing along to! Bonus: If you have a funny bone, adding humor into your lessons can keep your students smiling and happy! When something silly happens, many students will want to speak out and comment on the funny thing that just happened. Any reaction is a good reaction, because it’ll spark speaking.


Students in the intermediate group should be able to express themselves in sentences and read at the same level. They can have conversations that aren’t too complex and play more speaking games. Some students are more outgoing than others, so be careful to manage how long one student speaks for at a time so that everyone has a chance to shine. This level can play more challenging phonics games and can spell many words based on phonics alone. If you have a particularly quiet group, find out something they’re passionate about and get them talking about it to the best of their abilities. The drive to explain yourself is great motivation to talk with others!


Students who are more advanced can express themselves very well and have in-depth conversations. They can most likely explain a topic in detail and describe their thoughts and feelings about most things. Sometimes even if a student is a very talented speaker, they might hesitate to speak up and talk at length about any given topic. A great way around this problem is to hold a debate! During a debate, you must listen to your opponent, consider what they say, and make an argument. This pushes students to speak a great deal and share a bit about themselves and their opinions.

6. Happy Teaching!

Now you have all the tools you need to successfully teach phonics to students of all levels! You can find more teaching resources at so you’ll never run out of materials for your lessons. Don’t forget, you have the power to make teaching enjoyable for yourself, so be sure to have as much fun teaching as your students will have learning!