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Lesson Plan

Whole-to-Parts Phonics Instruction: Teaching Letter-Sound Correspondences

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



This lesson uses whole-to-parts phonics instruction as an approach to beginning reading. Letter-sound correspondences are taught within a meaningful context in an explicit, systematic, and extensive manner. This lesson uses onset-rime analogy to present word families and spelling patterns. An onset is the consonant letter before the vowel in a given word or syllable, and a rime is the vowel and consonants that follow the vowel in a given word or syllable. Thus, in the word bill, the onset is the letter b and the rime is the letters ill. Furthermore, this lesson supports cooperative and integrative learning where students and teacher learn together and carry out tasks collaboratively.

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Moustafa, M., & Maldonado-Colon, E. (1999). Whole-to-part phonics instruction: Building on what children know to help them know more. The Reading Teacher, 52, 448–458.

This article presents whole-to-parts phonics instruction as an instructional strategy for teaching letter–sound correspondences. Moustafa and Maldonado-Colon state that whole-to-parts phonics instruction differs from traditional parts-to-whole phonics instruction in several ways:

  • It grounds instruction in letter-sound correspondences in a meaningful context.

  • It builds on the spoken language children already understand rather than on letter-sound correspondences they don't yet understand.

  • It teaches the parts of the words after a story has been read to, with, and by children, rather than before the story is read.

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