The life of me

Teaching phonics

The teaching of phonics can be done in so many ways!

Here are my top tips on what has worked well for the classes I’ve taught.

Partner work

I always have parts of my lesson with children learning / consolidating sounds with a partner.

We play a range of phonics games with a partner such as roll and read and bingo and they love working together to read and play the games.

A great activity children seem to love is one I use with a timer.

All you need to do is create a grid of words (up to you how many words you would like children to read) and then children using a lollipop stick with their partner to take in turns to read the words down and then across the page.

The winning partners are the ones that manage to do it before the end of the timer. So simple and easy to prep yet the children love it!

Always consolidating

Some children need to see the words or sounds up 40 times before they are able to remember it. Consolidating sounds and reading words you have previously read is key. I read and spell 3 previously learnt words with my class and 3 words with the new sound in every day to help embed them.

High frequency words are also important to practise throughout the week. Each day we read 3 high frequency words- discussing why they are tricky words and then I spend Fridays practising spelling the words too.

Frequent assessment to inform planning

Assessing the children regularly helps to gain a real understanding of the sounds they have remembered. That way you can use this to reteach or introduce new sounds that are needed to meet the needs of the children.


My phonics lessons have the same routine each day so that children are aware of the activities, what’s coming next and what we will be doing. The use of whiteboards and pens are great for phonics and works well too. I often use these at the beginning of the lesson for spelling before moving onto games and writing/ reading.

Self assessment

I always think it’s a great idea to get the children to self correct their writing band spelling as soon as we have don’t them. Instant feedback is effective and enables the children to see their mistakes and find out how to improve instantly too!

After spelling a word the children tick each sound and check alongside my writing. We repeat this for writing sentences too.

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