Curriculum - English - Special Needs - Lesson Plan - Say the magic words

25th June 2010 at 01:00
A few simple exercises using magnetic letters can help special needs pupils with speech and language problems to distinguish sounds and build confidence in literacy

What the lesson is about

A literacy plan for key stage 3 pupils with speech and language difficulties.

Aims: pupils will:

- Generate two-syllable words rhyming with a target word.

- Improve auditory discrimination of voiced and voiceless sounds.

- Decode "magic e" words.

- Write short sentences from dictation.

- Discriminate between visually similar words.

- Use full stops and capital letters correctly in sentences.

Getting started

Begin by asking pupils to give three two-syllable rhyming words for a target two-syllable word. Then recap the "magic e" rule. Ask the children to build magic e words such as flame, glide and scrape, using magnetic letters. Explain that a magic e makes the vowel say its "name", so it has a long vowel sound. Do they know the long and short "i" sound?

Demonstrate with words such as kit and kite. Using magnetic letters, dictate words and non-words to the pupils and ask them to spell them: tidetid; sidesid; sitsite; bitebit; pipepip; widewid; sizesiz; hivehiv; spitespit.

Practise the pupils' recall of high-frequency words, such as everyone, another and thought, using flashcards. Ask them to put the words into sentences to check they understand them and are using them correctly. Introduce new high-frequency words, using narrator, began and white. Split the words into chunks for spelling: narrator has a "rat", began has to "beg", white gets "hit", for example.

Make flashcards for the new words, adding colour coding and visual clues to help the child recognise the words. If appropriate, create a mnemonic to help them remember the words.

Taking it further

Dictate the sentence, "I like the slide with the white stripes." Ask the pupils to say it back to make sure they heard it correctly. Repeat it and ask the pupils to say it again, and then ask them to write it from memory. Encourage them to visualise the sentence to help them recall it. Ask them to read back what they have written and check it for full stops and capital letters.

Repeat with "Everyone was in a state after another quake" and "They thought the pipe has slime and grime inside." If necessary, recap loud and quiet "th" sounds, asking the pupils to feel the vibration in their throat and use a mirror to look at the position of their mouth.

Explain the difference between "of" and "off", referring to a visual reminder such as a light switch. Show the children how these words look, and repeat with other visually similar words.

Where to find it

The original lesson plan, uploaded by BlossomHouse School, can be found at

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