Reading Teacher

Phonics Instruction for 5th graders



Teaching phonics to struggling 5th grade readers can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. In fact, research shows that phonics instruction can be highly effective for older students who are struggling with reading. In this article, we'll explore effective strategies and resources for teaching phonics instruction to struggling 5th grade readers.


Why Phonics Instruction Matters:


Phonics is the foundation of reading, and it's essential for students to learn how to decode words in order to become fluent readers. For struggling 5th grade readers, phonics instruction can help them to catch up with their peers and improve their overall reading skills. Research has shown that phonics instruction is effective for older students who are struggling with reading, and it can lead to significant gains in reading achievement.


Effective Strategies for Teaching Phonics Instruction:


Assessment: Before beginning phonics instruction, it's important to assess each student's current reading level and phonics knowledge. This will help you to determine where to begin and what specific skills to focus on.


Explicit Instruction: Phonics instruction should be explicit, systematic, and sequential. This means that you should teach the phonics skills in a specific order, and explicitly teach each skill with clear explanations, examples, and practice.


Multisensory Approaches: Incorporating multisensory approaches into phonics instruction can help struggling readers to better understand and remember the phonics rules. For example, you can use manipulatives, such as letter tiles or magnetic letters, to help students practice building and decoding words.


Decodable Text: Providing decodable text that aligns with the phonics skills being taught can help struggling readers to apply their phonics knowledge in context. Decodable text allows students to practice reading words that follow specific phonics rules, which can help them to build fluency and confidence.


Differentiated Instruction: Each student may have different needs and learning styles, so it's important to differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of all learners. This can include providing additional practice, modifying the pace of instruction, or using different instructional materials.


Resources for Teaching Phonics Instruction:


Phonics Games: Incorporating games into phonics instruction can help struggling readers to stay engaged and motivated. Websites such as and offer a variety of free phonics games that align with specific phonics skills.


Phonics Apps: There are many phonics apps available that can provide additional practice and reinforcement for struggling readers. Some popular apps include Phonics Hero, Reading Eggs, and Teach Your Monster to Read.


Phonics Worksheets: Worksheets can be a useful tool for providing additional practice and reinforcement of phonics skills. Teachers Pay Teachers offers a variety of free and paid phonics worksheets that align with specific phonics skills.




Teaching phonics instruction to struggling 5th grade readers requires a strategic and intentional approach. By using assessment, explicit instruction, multisensory approaches, decodable text, and differentiated instruction, you can help your students to build strong reading and writing habits.

Start Teaching Reading for Free Now!

Access Level 1’s four interactive stories and the accompanying supplemental resources to teach elementary students how to read. No credit card is needed. Join the 42,635 teachers and students using our reading program.