Cô Lâm’s Việt Ngữ Weekly Lesson Design

Updated: 11/11/22

This post explains how I teach my children Vietnamese language and how I design the weekly lesson to teach them. The lessons and teaching routines are designed to teach my son and daughter who grew up listening and speaking Vietnamese since the day they were born.


Children need routines and the activities and work for them needs to be meaningful, but that is what I do not see in the homework assigned when my daughter went to church to learn Vietnamese. Her homework workbook pages has matching, crossword puzzles, vocabulary and words that are not appropriate for her age and life experience here in United States. As an elementary teacher, those crossword puzzles are time killers, not a meaningful activity to teach a language. Therefore, I took my daughter out of the class and started creating my own Việt Ngữ lessons for her. I decided to try to teach my kids Vietnamese and design lessons the way I taught English to my kindergarten students at school. I self taught myself how to read and write Vietnamese and so my skill level is probably at a kindergarten and first grade level. I may not be a scholar in my own native language, but I do know how emergent readers and writers learn and how to teach them.

Establishing a Schedule and Routine

As an effective teacher, establishing a consistent routine would allow the little learners to feel comfortable, confident, and knows what to expect when they sit down to learn. Just like the English language arts block, my Việt Ngữ language arts block focus on sight words recognition, fluency reading, comprehension, word families, sounding-out and blending to decode words, spelling, vocabulary, writing, and oral communication. The weekly lesson objectives are clear and daily lesson routines help makes the little learners knows what to expect once she/he gets used to the routine.

Seven Components

There are seven important components that plays important roles in helping my children learn Vietnamese language.

  1. Listening Comprehension, Speaking, and Oral Vocabulary
  2. Handwriting
  3. Phonemic Awareness & Phonics: Letter sounds, word families
  4. Word Study: Word Families, Spelling Words, Sight Words, Vocabulary
  5. Sight Words & Fluency Reading
  6. Writing
  7. Assessments

1. Listening Comprehension, Speaking, and Oral Vocabulary – My kids and I communicate with each other in Vietnamese 95% of the time since I know they both will be exposed to full English environment in the school setting. I model and speak in complete sentences with my kids since they were babies. I teach them to speak and respond in complete sentences to me. Proper communication is very important. The ability to speak in complete sentences help kids understand and guide them to write out their ideas and thoughts in complete sentences.

I continue expanding my children’s oral vocabulary through engaging daily life activities such as gardening, cooking, exploring, free play, and reading (picture walking) stories in Vietnamese using English children literature and decodable books.

Vietnamese YouTube Channels: I only allow my kids to watch Vietnamese cartoons and shows when they were little. Here are a list of some of their favorites Vietnamese channels available on Youtube.

  • Super JoJo – Nhạc thiếu nhi Việt Nam
  • Tayo Xe Búyt Nhỏ
  • BabyBus – Nhạc thiếu nhi
  • POPS Kids – Mầm Chồi Lá
  • Super Truck – Tiếng Việt
  • Heo Peppa Tiếng Việt – Chính Thức
  • Wolfoo Tiếng Việt – Hoạt Hình Thiếu Nhi Vui Nhộn

2. Handwriting – Handwriting is a neglected skill in the American school system due to the increasing demand of technology integration but it has always been an important skill for me to teach my children and students. When my students struggle holding the pencil to form the lines and curves to form letters, writing will be a frustration. (I will update with link to handwriting books I created for my students and children for the English and Vietnamese alphabets later later.)

insert picture

3. Phonemic Awareness & Phonics: Phonemic awareness is the study of oral letter sounds and phonics is the study of the relationship of the letter and sounds. This is what we call the “tập đánh vần” part where students learn the letter sounds, tonal pitches, and putting it together to say and read the words.

insert picture

4. Word Study: Word Family Study, Rhymes, Word Patterns, Sight Words, Spelling

I turned the phonics and word family practice into a picture and word matching game. Matching the picture to word card also helps me know she understands what the words mean. After all, reading is not just being able to decode a word correctly, but also requires comprehension of what the word means. Since I don’t have time to create a printable version, I would write the words on cut out sentence strips and use purchased picture cards set or use photos I have taken, found on google, or from my purchased clip arts through educational software in the past. I also have my daughter practice writing these words on writing paper or lined magnetic writing board. These words will be added to future fluency reading passages.

5. Sight Words & Fluency Reading Practice – Sight words are in boxes and I use this top part to play “I Spy a Word” game with my four-years-old son. I would point to a sight word in the sentence and he would try to find, point, and say the matching word in the box. For Grace starting in first grade, I would write the sight words on flashcards and display it on a pocketchart. She reads the sight words as quick as she can in different orders. She practice writing the sight words in isolation for her handwriting practice and use it in simple repeating sentence frames as part of her writing assignment. (Click on the link to view and print the fluency reading practice.)

6. Writing: This component is more advanced and difficult to implement until my child handwriting skill is developed and master the alphabet’s letter name and sound first. Four-years-old Ethan focuses on learning to write his name and a letter a week. Grace started to learn to write simple sentences using sight words and phonetic words at the end of her first grade year. Sometimes I provide her with a word bank to help her. Her writing is prompted. She is not anywhere near an independent writer in Vietnamese.

7. Assessments: At the end of a weekly lesson, I would assessed my kids to check for their mastery level by having them read the fluency reading passage and asking comprehensive questions. I would give my daughter spelling test over the sight words and word family words, and give her sentence dictations too.

I prefer to use Pacon’s primary lined writing paper for this activity instead of printing out handwriting paper for her or Lakeshore’s writing board.

Teaching Resources & Printables

  • Decodable Bilingual English-Vietnamese books written by Ms. Lam:
  1. At the Market
  2. Gardening Time!
  3. I Like Fruits!
  4. Grace’s Fruit Counting Book
  5. Ethan’s Fruit Counting Book

Activities & Games:

  • Build a Sentence & Read It: I used this same activity when I’m teaching English during Word Study in kindergarten and now having my daughter do this activity too. The kids love manipulating the words around to build sentences and reading it. It takes the frustration from writing skill out and allow them to focus on the reading language skills instead. You can follow up with a writing activity by making the kids practice writing the sentence they built. I write the words on cut out sentence strips to show manuscript. For words that may potentially be at the beginning of a sentence, I would write the capitalized version on the back side. Don’t use permanent markers because it will bleed through. You can also color code words by using different colored sentence strips or colored flip chart markers.
  • Pocket Chart Activities: My daughter likes pocket chart activities. It’s engaging and easy for her to manipulate word cards instead of making her sit in front of a workbook. Here are some activities I had my students in the past do and now having my daughter do with the pocket chart.
  • Matching Picture to Word Card Game: I have my daughter match the picture and word cards on the pocket chart at times. It’s a quick easy task that I can visually assess her understanding for her vocabulary words.
  • Sorting Word or Picture Cards – I will have my daughter sort out word cards based on vowels or accent marks in columns on the pocket chart as she learns more words. You can have your child sort out the word or picture cards by a certain skill he/she needs to work on. Examples: color sort, rhyme sort, living-nonliving sort, noun-verb sort, etc.

Note: I’ve included Amazon links to recommended products at the end of this post.

Materials I Used:

Below are the materials I recommend and are using to teach my children English and Vietnamese. You can help support my work by purchasing items from the direct Amazon link below. I recieve earnings only if you click on the link and make the purchase. Thank you in advance.

  • 3″ x 24″ Sentence strips – I recommend Pacon brand because it is thick and ink won’t bleed through
  • flip chart markers – bold, bright, doesn’t smudge or smear on paper, and doesn’t bleed through the sentence strips. Do NOT use permanent markers because it will bleed through.
  • pocket chart – for Build a Sentence activity, matching and sorting word and picture games
  • Pacon’s Primary K-2 lined writing paper
  • Trend’s Verbs and Picture Cards for pocket chart activities can be used to teach English or Vietnamese. I just write or label the Vietnamese word on the card. The cards are thick and sturdy. It has lasted more than 5 years in my classrooms with daily usage.
  • Lakeshore magnetic lined writing board
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  1. Do you have samples or a downloadable document for: VNK1 Phonics Lessons & Charts
    K1 Vocabulary matching card games: L5, L6, L7, L8?
    I would like to apply what you have created to help teach my son. Thank you for sharing your work and helping children keep their Vietnamese language.

    • Hi Rosa. Sorry but I haven’t updated or created new lesson for the last year. My gardening hobby takes up a lot of time so I asked me cousin to order me Viet Ngu phonic books for my daughter to practice. I just write up simple sentences for my daughter to practice reading.

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