LESSON PLANS FOR TUTORING AN AT-RISK BEGINNER
These lesson plans are for tutoring or home-schooling children who are in
kindergarten
first grade
second grade

They can also
supplement any reading program.
make detours around speed bumps in other programs.

Dyslexics and ADD children can make steady progress with these procedures.
Children who take to reading easily can use them too--with faster results.

The plans are divided into four phases. The four phases achieve conventional benchmarks, but they are built around four powerful memory boosters:
1 - mnemonic picture-letters
2 - color-coded vowels with mnemonically connected key words
3 - games for ear-training and automaticity
4 - the auditory-to-visual connection for blending, sequencing, and retrieval
These four boosters speed up learning for children who are short on patience because of ADD, and the games help them to concentrate.

Here is a thumbnail summary of the four phases.
They are spelled out in more detail below.
You can click anything that is underlined to see more.

PHASE ONE - Kindergarten and Up
Memorizing and arranging picture-letters
Mnemonic Picture Game
The Color Code (the first 13 vowels) with five vowel games
                 Picture Packets
No books. At-risk children in Phase One should be read to.

PHASE TWO - First Grade and up
Practicing the 13 vowels and their colors with the Color Code
Vowel games
           Spelling and decoding three-letter words by the auditory-to-visual (A-V) route
Spelling With Clues - the red folders
Manuscript handwriting
Optional: Reading the first level of phonetic books
Starting a more varied vocabulary and preparing for a pre-primer
Reading the pre-primer

PHASE THREE - First grade and up
Continuing to spell and decode three-letter words by the A-V route
Spelling With Clues - the red folders
Manuscript handwriting
Choosing from two options:
A - Phonetic books beyond the first level
These books contain consonant-blend words.
B - Six popular trade books written for first graders
These books contain a varied vocabulary.
Use the Color Code to prepare the vocabulary.

PHASE FOUR - Second grade and up
Spelling and decoding silent-e and consonant-blend words by the A-V route
Spelling With Clues - the yellow and blue folders
Starting cursive writing with children over eight years old
Preparing the vocabulary for the Nine Retold Tales
Reading the Nine Retold Tales
Starting the Trading Game for two-syllable words
Building vocabulary and creeping toward third-grade level--or learning in jumps

BEYOND PHASE FOUR
I will answer any e-mails at harann52@yahoo.com

Prices for the materials that go with these lesson plans are listed at the end of this page. They are also listed on the order form and on other pages on this website.

Now for the Four Phases:
PHASE ONE

Usually for kindergarten and early grade one.
These lessons can be as short as fifteen minutes.

1 - MNEMONIC PICTURE GAME

Do Games 1-4, not 5 and 6.
Rotate the games by playing one game each lesson.

2 - VOWEL CARDS - using the COLOR CODE (the Basic Package)

Start with the SHORT VOWELS. Use the colored and black pictures.
Directions are in the manual.
Later, start the other "Code Vowels" with their pictures. These are
or, ar, ir, ow, oy, al, and both sounds of oo. For some
children, these are easier than the short vowels because
the sounds are less subtle and similar.
No long vowels or letter names - ONE SOUND FOR EACH LETTER
Practice the vowels EVERY LESSON. ALWAYS USE KEY WORDS.
Kindergarten children often learn to mimic the vowel sounds
more easily than older pupils and more easily than the
consonant sounds bbecause they don't always pronounce the
consonants clearly. THEY NEED KEY-WORD PICTURES FOR
RECALLING WHICH IS WHICH. The key words make sense--
brown for the or in horse, etc.

3 - VOWEL FISH (in the Basic package of the Color Code)

Play Game 1 the same day you start the short vowels.
Don't expect perfect pronunciation. Let the games do the ear-training.
Play Games 2 through 5 after you have started the next eight vowels.
Rotate Games 1 through 5 by playing one game each lesson.

4 - PICTURE PACKETS

The packets approach helps children who can't yet blend sounds.
Make three-letter words with mnemonic picture-letters.
Directions are in the manual.
Rhyming Level - 18 packets
Use these with kindergarten children.
First graders don't always need them.
Repeat them for a child who can't yet do the "readback."
Level One - 21 packets - only one vowel to a word-set
For children who can handle two ending consonants
Repeat them for a child who still needs mnemonic pictures.

5 - HANDWRITING
Some children this age move ahead more rapidly in the eye, ear, and
speech modalities and shouldn't have to wait for their handwriting to
    catch up. Children who start at age 7 make better use of handwriting.

6 - BOOKS
Children in Phase One are not ready to read books.
They should be read to--especially at bedtime.
PHASE TWO - First Grade and up

You are ready to move on from Phase One if your pupil can
1 - sound out three-letter words.
2 - pronounce the sounds for all the single consonants.
3 - pronounce key word and sound for the 13 vowels you have introduced.
4 - match sounds and letters without needing the mnemonic pictures.

1 - MNEMONIC PICTURE GAME

Keep rotating Games 1 to 4, playing a different game each lesson.
Keep playing them so that the letter-sounds will be overlearned.

2 - VOWEL CARDS - Using the COLOR CODE (the Basic Package)

Keep practicing the "Code Vowels"--EVERY LESSON.
Start the "ing" and "ink" cards.
See if you can introduce the long vowels without confusing things.
All the long vowels are one color and don't yet have key words.
They require letter names--hard for some children.

3 - VOWEL FISH (In the Basic Package of the Color Code)

Keep rotating Games 1-5, a different game each lesson.
They provide ear-training and make the key words automatic.

4 - Level One of SPELLING WITH CLUES - Red Folders (three-letter words)

Make sure your pupil doesn't still need the mnemonic picture-letters.
Do one page each lesson.
Repeat any page that needs more  work.
Stay with the Red Folders, which are for three-letter words.
Save the Blue Folders (blends) for later--words like slip and spill.
The auditory-to-visual approach will help to untangle the sequences.
For dyslexics, the clues head off sequencing and retrieval problems. For
ADD children who lose concentration when they do out-of-the air
spelling, the clues provide an anchor.

5 - Prepare the 32 words for MY FAVORITE PRE-PRIMER
This book contains a more varied vocabulary:
three-letter words
words like down and was and grass
Almost all the words are in the Transition Packets.
The pre-primer is not for older children, who can begin the Nine Tales.
There are more words to prepare for the NineTales, but older
children probably already know more words to start with.
The sequel to this book has a gradually increasing vocabulary.
Use the TRANSITION PACKETS for the words in this book.
The directions will tell you which packets to use.
Skip the three-letter packets if your child doesn't need them.
Repeat a packet that needs more work.
Play the Go Fish Games that practice the words in the packets.
You can make your own to save money.*
The directions will tell you what words go in each game.
Every time a word is introduced, add it to the word-pack.
You can make your own word-pack to save money.*
The directions will tell you what words to make.
Practice the word-pack every lesson to make the words automatic.
*I can make the fish games and word-pack for you, but I have to charge for ink and shipping.

6 - The child reads (out loud) the first level of the PHONETIC BOOKS.

The phonetic books are optional, since you are already practicing three-
letter words. If you prefer, you can concentrate on preparing for
the pre-primer instead.
The first level of phonetic books has three-letter words only.
Delay the second level with consonant blends until they are no longer too
hard. It's at this level that many children get bogged down.

7 - The child reads the pre-primer (out loud) once all 32 words are memorized.
Resist the temptation to start the book before the words are automatic.

8 - HANDWRITING
PHASE THREE - first grade and up

You are ready to move on from Phase Two if your pupil can
1 - decode three-letter words easily.
2 - pronounce and spell both long and short vowels.
3 - do the "readback" in the TRANSITION PACKETS.

1 - VOWEL CARDS - Using the basic package of theCOLOR CODE

Start simultaneously writing and pronouncing all thirteen vowels.
This is V-K or visual-to-kinesthetic or eye-to-hand.
Pronounce first key word, then the sound for each vowel.
Start spelling and writing the thirteen vowels, using the "silly pictures."
This is A-K or auditory-to-kinesthetic or ear-to-hand.
At first, the child just points to the correct "silly picture."
Later, he or she names or writes the spelling.
Do V-K one lesson and A-K the next.
Directions for these procedures are in the Color Code manual.
If handwriting is too hard, do the vowel pack orally.
Dyspraxic or immature children often proceed much more rapidly with
the eye, ear, and speech modalities.
For these children, work on handwriting separately.

2 - MNEMONIC PICTURE GAME

Keep rotating Games 1 to 4.
Start Game 5 with ch and sh, etc.
Start playing the games every other lesson, but don't discontinue them.
Keep playing the Vowel Fish games every lesson.

3 - VOWEL FISH (in the Basic Package of the Color Code)

Keep rotating Games 1 to 5. Do Games 4 and 5 in both color and black.

4 - SPELLING WITH CLUES

These are age-neutral--OK for older children and adults
Finish Level One of the Red Folders (with one vowel to a word-set).
Start Level Two with more than one vowel to a word-set.
Do one page each lesson.
Repeat any page that needs more work.
Do a pre-test if these are too easy and just do a page for each missed word.
Pre-tests come with the "Clues" folders.
Stay with the Red Folders, which are for three-letter words.
Save the Blue Folders (blends) for later--words like slip and spill.

5 - HANDWRITING
Before moving on to number 6, you have choices to make about what books to read next. Below are two options.
OPTION A - PHONETIC BOOKS

If your pupil has an easy time with consonant-blend words, you would be able to go beyond Level One of the phonetic books.

You need materials to make the irregulary spelled "sight words" in these books
easier to memorize.

The following Color Code materials are for preparing basic vocabulary words with
tricky or irregular spellings and can be used with any reading program:
24 Color-Matching Games for Basic Vocabulary
Two-Sided Cards (the same words in both black and color)
OPTION B - SIX TRADE BOOKS

These six books are popular with first graders. Most children are already familiar with them, but children this age enjoy revisiting old friends.

Second graders often like them too, but third graders need something more grown-up. These older children can use the Nine Tales, which have a smaller number of consonant-blend words than most books. They contain more words than the Six Trade Books, but older children probably already know more words to start with.

You can use the six trade books with children who can decode three-letter words and are ready  to work on a more varied vocabulary of non-look-alike words. These books have a limited number of words, so that you have a chance to concentrate on essential demon words like what, want, there, where, and who (the terrible "w" words) without being distracted by the rapidly multiplying vocabulary we find in many reading books.

The following Color Code materials are for preparing the words in these books:
A list of the Transition Packets that you need for preparing the phonetic
words, including color-coded words with silent e and vowel combinations.
14 Color-Matching Games for the irregular words in the six trade books.
Two-Sided Cards (the same words in both black and color)
Go fish games for demon words with pictures for what, want, and eye.
A list of the words for 34 additional Go Fish Games, so you can practice
all the words in these books. You can make your own to save money.
(I can make them for you, but I have to charge for ink and shipping.)

Back to the lesson plan:

6 - PRE-TESTING WITH THE TWO-SIDED CARDS (part of the Color Code materials)

Two-Sided Cards in color on one side (for decoding) and in black on the other
The color side is for decoding.
The black side is for testing and for the transfer to black print.

ALWAYS PRE-TEST IN BLACK. Make two piles--an OK pack and a pack for the
words that need more work. The cards will tell you which Color-Matching
Games you need to play.

7 - COLOR-MATCHING GAMES (part of the Color Code materials)

Nine words in each game
These have the same words and numbers as the Two-Sided Cards.
Each word has a colored vowel that matches its vowel sound.
In the game, a word and a matching color patch make a book.
Keep the colored key-word pictures on the table for reference.
After playing a game, the child reads the words one more time.
Later, use both sides of the Two-Sided Cards for transferring to black.


These games are for the irregularly spelled or two-syllable words. Because of
the colors, they are all phonetic, and your pupils can sound their way into their
"sight words," establishing a habit which increases accuracy and heads off some
of the look-and-guess reading that dyslexics tend to do. Once a word is accurately
decoded and WELL PRACTICED in color, the sequence of consonants tends to
take over, making the transition to black surprisingly easy--except for look-alike
demon words like hear, head, heard, and hard, which are still easier in color.

To avoid overkill, don't do more than one or two of the following four things in any
one lesson (numbers 8, 9, 10, and 11). Do number 8 in one lesson, 9 the next,
etc., one packet or game each lesson.

8 - TRANSITION PACKETS AND SPELLING CARDS

For pupils who are reading phonetic books, do all the Transition Packets and
Spelling Cards or make a pre-test to decide which ones you need.

For pupils doing the six trade books, do the packets and cards that are listed
in the manual.

9 - SLIDING CARD PAGES (part of the Nine Tales materials)

For older pupils doing the NineTales, use the placement test that comes with the
books and put the numbers for the missed words on your plan. Then do the
Sliding Card Pages that are listed in your plan.

10 - FISH GAMES

The demon fish games are part of the Color Code materials.
The manual lists the words for 34 additional fish games, which include all
the words in the six trade books. These you can make yourself to save money.
The Two-Sided Cards tell you which fish games you need.

11 - TWO-SIDED CARDS (part of the Color Code Materials)

You used the Two-Sided Cards for testing. Now use them for practicing the
missed words.
Have your pupil read these words on the color side. (You have already played
the Color-Matching Games that go with them.)
Wait till the next lesson to try them in color again. Flip the good ones over to the
black side and try them in black.
Wait till the next lesson and read them again in black.
Three lessons may be enough. Use more lessons if you need them.
Put problems words on a "special list." The Color Code manual tells how
to make a special list.

12 - BOOKS

Keep reading the phonetic books with three-letter words while working on the
more varied word patterns needed for the six trade books or the Nine Tales.

Once all the words are prepared for a book, your pupil can read it. For a child
who has trouble decoding and memorizing words, it's better to prepare the words
BEFORE reading a book. It isn't possible to do this beyond third-grade level, but
all the words in the six trade books and the Nine Tales have been accounted for
in the games and the Two-Sided Cards.

Always have your child read out loud. It often helps if you point to the words
with a pencil as he or she reads.

Notice that the book isn't the means by which an at-risk child learns words--as
most children do with ease. With at-risk children, the book is the reward for
learning the words. With both types of learners, context helps fluency, but context
isn't nearly enough for dyslexics.
PHASE FOUR - Second grade and up

Phase Four is for children who are ready for the Nine Tales.

You are ready to move from Phase Three if your pupil can
1 -pronounce and spell the consonant digraphs (ch, sh, etc.).
2 - read, write, and spell the thirteen vowels (V-K and A-K).
3 - decode the color-coded words in the Color-Matching Games.
4 - spell as well as read three-letter words.
5 - tackle consonant-blend words.

The Nine Tales are
for second-to-fourth graders (and some first graders).
235 pages, double-spaced, in large type.
time-tested and inexpensive--I've used them for forty years.
classic stories (but not the usual old chestnuts), eventful enough
for fostering comprehension.

A child who takes to reading easily may be an unlimited reader by now, but dyslexics and late bloomers still need to prepare the words for their stories. In the Nine Tales, the vocabulary is controlled (by number) and all the new words are accounted for.

The Nine Tales have fewer consonant-blend words than one finds in phonetic
reading books. As a result, they are a good way to become fluent with basic
vocabulary (much of it irregularly spelled) without drowning in a rapidly expanding vocabulary of linguistically difficult words.

You can prepare the words with tricky or irregular spellings and the two-syllable words with the following Color Code materials.

37 Color-Matching Games for the Nine Tales
Two-Sided Cards with the same words

The Two-Sided Cards include all 333 words in the Color-Matching Games, and each card lists the number of the game that goes with its word. They are for pre-testing and also for making the transfer to black.

76 Sliding Card Pages, which have a spelling-with-clues format, are for the phonetic words in the stories. By now, some children no longer need these.

A placement test for the Sliding Card Pages comes with the Nine Tales. Each word is listed with the number of its Sliding Card Page.

With a new second grader who has not done the six trade books, no words will fall through the cracks because all the words in the Nine Tales will be on the placement tests, including those that were in the six trade books. For those who did the trade books, some words will be repeated--good for a review after summer vacation.

On a parallel track, your pupil can tackle words with consonant blends by using the SPELLING WITH CLUES exercises. For children who tangle the consonants in "blend" words, you will probably find that it's easier to sort out the letters with the visible clues in these spelling lessons (the auditory-to-visual route) than it is to decode them out of a book.
Back to the lesson plan:

1 - VOWEL CARDS

After reviewing the 13 Code Vowels, start the 6 Advanced Vowels.
Do just er, ur, ou, oi, au, and aw. To avoid overload, don't do the
key-words for ai, ay, ee, ea, igh, oa, and the "snow" sound of ow. Save
them for the next year. These key-words help spelling, but the words
containing these sounds can be read with the Color Code. (All long vowels
are the same color--orange.) The materials and directions are all in the
Advanced Vowel Package of the COLOR CODE.

Read and write the vowels one lesson (V-K).
Spell and write them the next (A-K).
Directions are in the Color Code manual.

2 - MNEMONIC PICTURE GAME

Start Game 6 with dr, tr, and str.
Play Game 4, 5, or 6 on a regular basis for overlearning.
Don't discontinue the games yet. You'll know you need them if your
child's word attack starts to slip.
Children who didn't play them in kindergarten need them longer.

3 - VOWEL FISH (in the advanced package of the Color Code)

Start Games 6 and 7 after picture-matching the advanced vowels.
After a while, play Game 7 on a regular basis.

4 - WRITE THE VOWEL KEY WORDS

Your pupil has been practicing 19 key words. Have him or her spell and
write 14 of them (NOT the short-vowel key words, which are too hard).
Do four or five every lesson. Writing the words reinforces the isolated
vowel spellings, and the vowel spellings reinforce the word spellings.
Once you have begun cursive writing, getting the feel of these words
"in the hand" will make similar words easier to memorize.

Directions are in the Color Code manual.

5 - SILENT-E FLIP CARDS - part of the Color Code materials

The silent-e rule was introduced in the Transition Packets. These cards
present word pairs like hop and hope, along with words like give and
have. Some children can do these in Phase Three. Others are confused by
having two sounds for each vowel.

6 - SPELLING WITH CLUES

Finish Level Two of the Red Folders. Then do the Yellow Folders and Blue
Folders. The Yellow Folders have silent-e words, some of which have
consonant blends, and the Blue Folders have short vowels and consonant
blends. It's usually best to do the Yellow Folders first.

Do Level One (with one vowel to a word-set) before Level Two (with a
choice of vowels). Use the placement tests, first for reading and then for
spelling. Directions are in the manual.

Dyslexic children often have an easier time with consonant blends in
second grade than they do in first, but some struggle with them well into
third and even fourth grade, especially children who needed speech
therapy when they were younger. Some children take to blends easily, but
be prepared for a child who needs to move slowly and carefully through the
Blue Folders. What many people don't realize is that Anna Gillingham
thought that dyslexic children shouldn't begin reading instruction before
the age of seven.

7 - HANDWRITING

Most children are ready for cursive writing once they are eight years old.
Having all the letters starting on the line makes things easier, but top-
joins like or and bi can be tricky.

8 - TRADING GAME

Start Level One of the Trading Game. Do Real Word Games 1-10.

Some children need Nonsense Games 1 to 10 before doing Real Games 11-
20. Each Nonsense Game has one real word, which gets two points. The
children seem to like this.

Some children can start the Dividing Pages in second grade, but third
grade is usually better. If you start them in second grade, don't go beyond
the the VCCV and "L and E take off three" rules.

Notice that you are still practicing short vowels. You start with the packets,
go on to Spelling With Clues, and continue in second, third, and fourth
grades with detached syllables by playing the Trading Game. Without
short vowels, how can we read words of four or five syllables? There are
152 Trading Games--plenty of practice.

9 - TWO-SIDED CARDS (in the Color Code materials)

ALWAYS pre-test in black. Non-beginners do not take kindly to reading
words in color that they have already memorized in black.

Make two piles--an "OK" pack and a pack that needs more work. The cards
will tell you which Color-Matching Games you need to play.

10 - COLOR-MATCHING GAMES (in the Color Code materials)

Do the games that go with the missed words. Or make your own.
After finishing a game, have your pupil read the words again while they are
fresh in the mind.
Later, use the Two-Sided Cards for transferring to black.

11 - Back to the TWO-SIDED CARDS for practicing the missed words

You have already used these cards for pre-testing. Now have your pupil
decode these words in color. (You have already played the Color-
Matching Games that go with them.)
Wait till the next lesson and try them again in color. Flip the good ones
over to the black side and try them in black.
Wait till the next lesson and read them again in black.
Three lessons may be enough. Use more lessons if you need them.
Put problem words on a "special list." The Color Code manual tells
how to make a special list.

12 - PLACEMENT TESTS AND SLIDING CARD PAGES FOR THE NINE TALES

The Sliding Card Pages are part of the Nine Tales materials.
They are for the phonetic words in the nine books and have
a Spelling-With-Clues format.
The placement tests for these words are included with the books.
Children who are good at sounding out no longer need them.

Put problem words on your "special list."

Keep working on demon words like where versus were. The Color Code
materials include a few fish games for these demons. Use fish games for
these words and write some of them on a regular basis.

13 - BOOK

Once all the words are prepared for a book, your pupil can read it. It's still
usually better at this stage to prepare the words BEFORE reading a book.
It  isn't possible to be as systematic as this beyond third-grade level, but
all the words in the six trade books and the Nine Tales have been
accounted for in the Color-Matching Games and the Two-Sided Cards.

Always have your child read out loud so that eye, ear, and speech can
work together. It often helps if you point to the words with a pencil as he
or she reads.

Again, the book isn't the means by which an at-risk child learns the words.
The words are learned first, and the book is the reward for learning the
words. Children who have an easy time sounding out words and
memorizing the words they have sounded out can use the context to build
reading vocabulary. Dyslexics can use context clues to guess their way
around unfamiliar words, but the guessed-at words often won't stick. For
your at-risk child, let the context increase fluency, fine-tune word
meanings, and minimize errors with look-alike words, but don't count on
it to be a means for building reading vocabulary.

Beyond third-grade level, we can no longer prepare any but the most
obviously difficult words ahead of time. Therefore, we need to triage
the words that a child has trouble with.

1 - Words that the student really knows--"look again" words
These don't go on the special  list.
2 - Words that are too hard
The teacher supplies the word matter-of-factly, with its meaning.
3 - Words that should go on the special list--
not too hard, not too easy, but just right for the special list

Needless, to say, you are paying more and more careful attention to word
meanings as your pupil gets older. Young children are catching up with
their speaking-listening vocabularies, but older children are starting to
acquire new word meanings.

If your child is reading a book that is early-third-grade level and reading it
with a fair amount of fluency and accuracy, then you have navigated
successfully through the first four phases and crossed the divide
between reading and not reading. Of course, the journey has only just
begun.