Teaching synthetic phonics is to teach only the isolated letter sounds. Teachers need to enunciate synthetic phonics with pure sounds that are free of accents or extra sounds. By learning pure sounds, students will have an easier task once the time comes to blend the sounds they have learned (in the form of a consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC)). Lower level phonics will be very simple like the sounds of the alphabet and CVCs. Higher level phonics would be harder concepts like special sounds for different letter combinations. Teachers need to be careful not to mix vowel sounds when producing output. Refer to the slides below for examples of different level phonics slides:

This chart shows some key points to remember when teaching synthetic phonics.

Visibility The student should have a clear view of the teacher’s face and mouth.
Recognition The teacher shows the letters spoken with supplementary tools, drawn on the screen, or with TPR.
Repeat The teacher and student say the letters and sounds again.
Speak Slow The teacher is slow and clear when speaking.


  1. Build-A-Word: The teacher and student speed up their revolving arms while saying letter sounds to form a word.
  2. CVC Math: c+a+t= cat
  3. Yes or No: The teacher holds a CVC up and says it correctly or incorrectly. The student must recognize if the teacher said that CVC or not (focuses on vowel sounds or harder concepts like the difference between “m” and “n.”

Sight words are words that are seen abundantly in children’s text. Examples would be: a, an, the, is, of, and, etc. Lower level words will be shorter and simpler while higher level words will be longer and more complex. Unlike with phonics, students are not expected to look at the deconstructed parts of these words, rather they should be taught to memorize and recognize the whole words.

  1. Whack-A-Mole: The student closes their eyes while the teacher writes a word on the screen. The student tries to find and circle the word before the teacher counts down to zero and erases the screen.
  2. Tic-Tac-Toe: Instead of “x” and “o”, the teacher and student use their own sight words from the lesson.
  3. Sentence Race: The teacher times how fast the student can use the sight words on the screen in sentences.

Sentence Patterns

Question and answer (Q&A) patterns are used in the lessons to teach sentence patterns. Teachers should also teach Q&A patterns through memorization to help build a student’s foundational speaking skills. For lower levels, sentence patterns are simpler, shorter, and are taught with heavy guidance from the teacher. For higher levels, students typically won’t need as much help and are allowed to loosely follow sentence patterns as long as they are expressing themselves in a grammatically correct way. At any level, teachers shouldn’t let the students get away with one-word answers. Speaking in full sentences is an excellent habit for young learners to develop when learning a language as it helps with pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and intonation. Teachers can encourage the use of full sentences with simple verbal and non-verbal cues.

Verbal cues:

  • 1.“Full sentence please.”
  • 2.“Speak in a full sentence.”
  • 3.“Make a longer sentence.”
  • 4.Demonstrate the desired sentence for the student.


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