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  • Determine what the learner already knows about phonics
  • Look for phonics gaps
  • Focus on what the learner needs to know
  • Teach phonics in order 


Phonics is the relationship between sounds and the letters used to represent those sounds. Phonics instruction helps learners attach sounds to letters and/or combinations of letters. 

See It In Action

Sequence Instruction: 

Rising to the Reading Challenges of Adult Learners: Practitioner's Toolkit Appendix C 


Focus on sounds with which a learner is having difficulty, rather than teaching something the learner already knows. Going from easiest to hardest teach phonics in the followng order:

  • initial consonants
  • final consonants
  • short vowels
  • consonant blends (bl, fr, gr, spr)
  • long vowel sound
  • consonant digraph, in other words, two consonants but one sound (th, sh ch, ng,ck)
  • vowel digraph, in other words two vowels but one sound (ea, oa, ee, ai)
  • diphthongs, in other words, two vowels and two sounds (oi-oil, oy –boy)
  • soft c and g (city, giant)
  • silent letters (knife, write)
  • vowels controlled by r, l and w (car, fawn).
    Adapted from Martin, M. (1999). Phonics sequence. Red Deer, Alberta. Training material.

Excerpted from Creating Learning Partners Unit 6 Reading Handout 6.3


Teach consonants first. Did you know? A sentence without vowels is easier to read than a sentence without consonants. Focus on the sounds within words rather than on the sounds in isolation. 

  1. Th_  q_ _ck  br_wn  f_x  j_mps  _v_r  th_  l_z_  d_g
  2. _ _e  _ui_ _  _ _ o_ _  _o_  _u_ _ _  o_e_  _ _e  _a_y  _o_


Nonsense words are a great way to assess a learner's ability to read phonetically. [add page CLP Overhead 6.4 Unit 6 Reading]

You and the learner can think of words that begin with that sound/that letter (bear, beer, bottle, bathtub...). You can write out the words, perhaps highlighting
the B in each word. You can take alphabet cards and spell each word out using the uppercase and lowercase letters. You can make up a silly sentence using the words:
The bear was drinking a bottle of beer in the bathtub. Have fun with it.