It can be hard to know which letters to begin teaching when you are working with beginning readers. Do you teach them in A to Z order? Is it better to teach all of the vowels first? Grab a notepad and pencil because we are about to clear it all up for you!

Research has shown us that there is a simple order that makes it possible for kids to start reading actual words a whole lot faster…

Teaching just eight letters makes it possible to read HUNDREDS of words. It’s crazy, but true.

That’s why I affectionately call this first batch of letters the “Big Eight”. They are:

M, F, S, A, P, T, C, and I

What makes these eight letters the perfect starting point?

Because we can combine them to make a long list of two, three, and four letter CVC and CVCC words that your students can start reading right away.

Two letter words like:

if   as   is   am   it

Three letter words like:

mat   sip   fit   tap   sat  

cat   cap   fat   tip   map

And four letter words like:

past   fast   taps   fact   acts

cast   camp   fist   mist   pact

The list goes on and on!

And the great news is that when students are empowered to start reading words on their own, they see themselves as readers, and their motivation to actually practice their new reading skills skyrockets.

Want Help Teaching These Letters?

Snag our Phonics Toolkit so you get everything you need in one simple download: daily phonics lesson plans, follow up practice text, student activities… It’s truly a one stop phonics shop!

Grab your mega pack in our shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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