What’s In a Lesson Plan? Help is Right Here

Making a lesson plan can be a struggle. What should always be included? How many parts to the lesson? What is too much and what’s too little to fit in the timeframe?

Let’s answer some of those questions.


A lesson can be between 45 minutes to an hour. Lessons consist of Drills, Letter Formation, Concepts, Dictation, and Reading. Much more detail on a lesson to come…

There is also something in Orton Gillingham called a Scope and Sequence – the order in which the letters and concepts are taught.

The thing about lessons is that they build upon one another, so one student’s lesson may look different than another student’s lesson.


Orton Gillingham is cumulative. The method starts with the most basic letters, phonemes, and builds upon that to incorporate the entire English language. This includes: letter reading and spelling, blends, spelling rules, syllable division, sight words, generalizations, silent letters, plurals, possessives, contractions, homonyms, accenting, prefixes and suffixes, Latin connectives, and Greek words. I may have missed something in that list, but you get the picture – it’s a complete course of material. When kids today start learning with Orton Gillingham (OG) and finish with OG, they will have a great understanding of the English language.

What a pre-K and Kindergartener will learn is very different than an older child or an adult will learn, so this below is a wide range.

Lesson Plans

Below is a list of Parts of a Plan with possibilities of what can be a part of a plan. The sections with an * indicates something that should be part of every lesson. There are so many things that can be done within each part, so I am just listing a few. If you want to share ideas, please put them in the comments for everyone to see.

I. *Review concepts worked on in the previous lesson(s) – build into each category within the current lesson.

II. Drills for phonological awareness

  • Reading – show cards and students say the sound and key word. Present them as fast as possible and shuffle the cards occasionally. This can be one or more decks from your Jewel Box.
  • Spelling dictation – you say sounds and student writes the letter(s) for each sound
  • Short vowel review. Say a word, have student say the word and write the vowel.
  • Spelling sounds, example, long a, you say Take, and the student writes, a_e, “Steak” and student writes “ea” for the sound. Or “Eight” student writes “eigh” for sound.
  • Present written work and have the student read the writing. Even better if it is their own written work from a previous lesson.
  • Use phonics wheels and sorting games

III. Syllable types concepts and division

  • Clap syllables to words (rab bit – clap-clap)
  • Do concepts, types and/or division exercise
  • Ask students to label different types of syllables
  • Ask them to divide words and indicate the division method

IV. Letter Formation

  • Handwriting practice. Orton Gillingham is a fan of cursive writing because it lessens the chance of letter reversals.
  • Here is a resource for cursive writing

V. *Learned Words

Learned words consist of:

  • Red Light (Red Words) – sight words that cannot be sounded out
  • Yellow Light – words grouped by auditory patterns, for example: light, sight, might
  • Green Light – can be spelled by listening to the sounds, for example stop, bland, napkin

These include:

  • Sight words (Red)
  • High Frequency Words (Green/Yellow) – phonetic but learned early
  • Categories of Words (Yellow) – learned words like all, alk, augh vs. ough, eigh, oe saying long o, as in toe or ea saying long a as in steak, great, break.
  • Everyday Words – days of the week, months, family names, seasons, holidays, colors, name, address, states
  • Homonyms – examples whole/hole, through/threw, since/sense, their/there, to/two/too, sail/sale, great/grate, hair/hare, break/brake

Important! Use SOS spelling for this section. See previous post on SOS here.

VI. New Concept

  • Introduce a new concept. You may introduce it several times.
  • Brainstorming Words – come up with words that work with the concept (for example, FLOSS rule you would ask the student to think of words, like boss, hill, buff, mess).
  • Practice concept with sorting games or a Smartboard

These are index cards I created to give to students along with a ring. Every time I introduced a concept, I gave them a card to include on the ring. They ended up with a deck of the concepts of everything from REVLOC to the rules, like C&G, FLOSS, etc.

VII. *Dictation

  • The more dictation, the better. You can do more with dictation, like syllable division or have them say the vowels. In other words, use dictation to go more in depth with concepts.
  • Dictate phrases, words and spelling patterns
  • This is a good time to cover grammar and sentence type (nouns, verbs pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections). See IX.
  • Whatever you write, you read.

VIII. *Oral Reading

  • Sight Words
  • Phrases/Sentences
  • A story

For the teacher:

  • Record errors
  • Ask for a re-read for fluency
  • Ask comprehension questions

Here is a sample fluency story.

IX. Grammar (incorporate into the plan, not a stand-alone part of the plan)

Grammar would include:

  • Parts of speech, including nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections
  • Punctuation, including commas, possessives, contractions, and quotes
  • Capitalization, including proper names
  • Sentence types, including declarative, commands, interrogative, and imperative
  • Sentence structure, including simple, compound, and complex verbs (singular, plural and irregular)

Here is a good grammar resource.

X. Writing

There is an acronym helpful for writing – MOPSS. I’m not sure if this is used elsewhere, or if it was from my class only.

  • M= Makes sense
  • O = Oreo – a beginning, middle and end
  • P = Punctuation and Capitalization
  • S = Sentence Structure
  • S = Spelling

Writing should include: Brainstorm, Chart (outline), Write a Draft, and MOPSS (edit using MOPSS) for a final draft.

Here is a sheet I created for helping students with writing a story.

XI. *Error and Comments

  • This is for teacher’s eyes only – be sure to record errors and trouble spots to be reviewed in the next section.
  • During the lesson, make observations. Was there a part of the lesson where the student(s) had trouble keeping attention or retrieving information?

*Important to include in every lesson

Where to Start

There is an assessment called the Gallistel-Ellis Assessment that tests a student’s coding abilities. We were given a copy of this test in the class I took, and I usually started with a student using this assessment. If you use this assessment, do around 15 sessions then do another Gallistel-Ellis assessment. There are other assessments out there as well.

In some cases, if I did not administer the assessment, I just started from the beginning with my drill deck and went straight through the scope and sequence. I felt like it gave the student a feeling of confidence before moving on to the more challenging concepts. I also found that kids didn’t know some of the beginning rules (like FLOSS), so it was an easy way to teach those and move quickly forward.

Pulling It Apart

Please know that just like people are different, each student is different and each person’s lesson ideas and plans can differ. I am only providing a sample of what can be, not trying to set anything in stone.

So now you see how many parts a plan can have and how a younger student’s lesson will look different than an older student’s lesson.

Here are a couple of sample lesson plans (these were from tutoring sessions).

Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3

Want more? Check out the Workbook Store. Information plus worksheets are in the workbook store. The Scope and Sequence Workbooks are best for developing and keeping a plan.

(3) Comments

  1. I purchased Book 1 and Book 2 today. How do I download my copy? I am so excited about this resource. Thank you for this blog!

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