1st Grade Phonics Lesson Plan: Use a Train to Make Words

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Use a Train to Learn Vowels and Consonants

Things you will need:

Black foam board

Colored Poster board

Large pre-cut letters


To make the phonics train display, use a large pre-cut train engine or make one yourself with black foam board. Face the engine where the letters will be read from left to right. Cut five train cars from colored poster board and place a lower case vowel on each car. As a vowel is introduced in the lesson, attach the vowel car to the engine. This will help the students to learn vowel differentiation from consonant letters.

When introducing consonants, place a large pre-cut letter on the engine. Since the children have mastered the vowel sounds, they are able to learn to blend the letters on the train.

For further learning, use the consonant on the engine, add a vowel car, then hook on a car with another consonant to form a word. Change the letter on the consonant car (i.e. ending sound) to form different words. Do the same with the letter on the engine (i.e. beginning sounds).

As you point to the letters, have the children chant the letters beginning real slow, then faster. For example, b…a…t, b…a…t, b…a…t, bat.

The train should remain within view for an extended amount of time so it becomes a routine drill. Learning is made fun and easy, but the key is repetition.

As the children become familiar with the routine, allow each to have a turn being the train conductor, providing a conductor’s cap and a pointer. This drill could easily be used as a participation motivator.

The train can also have multipurpose uses, such as a bulletin board idea, by adding a picture of each child’s face on the cars. Use the train as a lesson theme when reading and studying transportation. Teach a colors series by adding the cars labeled with red, blue, yellow, etc., written on the colored cars. The train is sturdy and may be used over and over again.