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How to Teach the Phrase to Young Kids

I am a certified teacher and have been tutoring young children for more than 30 years. I am sharing my experience in the tutorial business.


The Phrase:

We just covered all the letters of the alphabet, then the syllables and the CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. Now, it is time to teach the children how to read phrases. And with these phrases come some simple sight words. I am going to introduce the sight words as I use them in the phrases that I will discuss.

Sight words are words that need to be memorized by the kids so that they can read them. While CVC words are patterned with corresponding sounds sight words are not that is why they are called sight words.

Let’s begin the lesson by letting the children read the CVC words.

Show a flash card with the word cat. Say, “Children, how do you read this word?”

The children will read the word since you have already taught them how to read CVC words in the past. Hang the word on the blackboard for the children to see. Get another flash card. This time the word is fat which is a CVC word so the children can also read this word. Hang it on the blackboard beside the first word.

Get another flash card. This time it is not anymore a CVC word but a sight word, so you don’t expect the children to be able to read it. You have to read the sight word for the children.

Say: “Children this word is, the. t- h- e, the.”

The children will repeat the word. Hang the word again on the blackboard, beside the first two words.

Now, arrange the words to form a phrase, "the fat cat". Read the phrase with the children three or four times. You can let each child read the phrase too.

Other Activities for Phrase:

After introducing and reading the phrase, you can let the children copy. There is no set rule to teach the children about phrase. Just make sure that you are applying the method that best fit the learners. Remember individual differences and make some adjustments where needed.


You can introduce the words: is, in, on after introducing the word the.

Here are examples of phrases using the new sight words.

  • the cat on the mat
  • the fan in the bag
  • the rat on the rag
  • the man in the car
  • the mad man
  • the ham in the pan

Sample worksheet for phrases:

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Remember to always have a plan for your lessons. That is why teachers always have lesson plans. It doesn’t matter if you follow the lesson plan religiously; the key is to not let the children confused by mixing lessons.

If you teach the kids using the CVC a today, then do it for the whole week. Follow with CVC e phrases, then CVC i, CVC o then CVC u. By doing this, you are not confusing the children. Since it is their first time to read phrases, make sure that the children are first concentrated with one vowel sound.

If the children already know how to read the CVC words, you can now mix all the CVCs.

Here are some examples:

  • a pen in the bag
  • the man on the jet
  • a big fat pig
  • mug on a rag
  • a dog in a box
  • the hot sun

As you go, you can introduce more sight words. The key here is you are slowly instilling in the children the basic reading skills that they need.

There are countless books around that you can use to teach the children to read sight words. My friend who has a pre-school still uses the books like; “Dick and Jane”, “Fun in the Park”, etc. Some of the books date back in the 1950s. And her reason is, “Books can never be obsolete.” She means to say that books are always useful no matter the date. She is right.

Going back to the lesson, once you teach the children the basic skills, they will not have a problem reading. If you taught them the proper way to read the CVC words then it starts there; the children will be able to spell and read words using the sound out method. Then they start reading the sight words and their reading skills will be further enhanced and developed.

In my more than thirty years teaching young kids how to read; I have observed that once the children have learned to read CVC words, it is the start of their smooth journey through the reading world.

Children are very excited when they learn to read their first words and they strive hard to learn to read the other words. With that motivating factor; the children will start reading every word they see around.

Most children pass the stage when they love to read every word they see around. If you bring them to the park, they try to read the name of the park loudly for everybody to hear. If you bring them to the restaurant, they try to read the restaurant’s name. If they see a man wearing a shirt with written words, they try to decipher the words and try to read them. That’s the starting point of reading in children.

Don't stop them from doing that; but try to guide them and tell them how to read the word correctly. Encouragement go a long way when children are still learning to read their first words. Be careful not to embarrass them because this might deter their learning growth and development.

© 2013 Felisa Daskeo


Felisa Daskeo (author) from Manila, Philippines on June 12, 2013:

Thank you jabelufiroz. I hope others will find this article helpful too.

Firoz from India on June 11, 2013:

Good teaching method.

Voted up and useful.

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