This is the beginning of the systematic learning of phonics and takes place predominately in Nursery or Pre-School. It falls primarily within the Communication, Language and Literacy area of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. During this phase, children should be exposed to a language-rich environment. Activities are mainly adult led and build up to teaching children the important basic elements such as oral segmenting and blending.
This phase builds upon the oral blending and segmenting of the previous phase. Children must continue to practise what they have learnt. They will also then be taught the grapheme-phoneme representations (letters) for 19 letters. Additionally, they will be taught that phonemes (sounds) can be represented by more than one letter. E.g. fin, huff.
The suggested order for teaching the sounds, is as follows, with one set being taught each week:
The purpose of this phase is to:
Teach more graphemes; the remaining letters of the alphabet and some sounds of which are made up of two or three letters, known as digraphs and trigraphs. E.g. ‘ee’ as in bee.
Practise blending and segmenting a wider range of CVC words.
Read more tricky words and begin to spell them.
To read familiar words on sight, rather than decoding them.
The following sounds are taught:
The purpose of this phase is to consolidate the sounds already taught. Children are also exposed to adjacent consonants (consonant blends and consonant clusters) and multisyllabic words.
Typically, phase 5 is taught in Year One.
The purpose of this phase is to broaden a child’s knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. When spelling words, children will now need to choose the appropriate graphemes to represent phonemes.
When children enter this phase, they should know most of the common grapheme-phoneme correspondences. As a result of this, they should be able to read hundreds of words. This will be in one of three ways;
Reading the word on sight when they are very familiar.
Decoding the word quickly and/or silently.
Decoding the word aloud.
During this phase, the aim is for children to become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
Children will now be reading longer texts, more fluently and confidently.
There is also a focus on suffixes.