In Phase Five (typically in First Grade or Year 1), children learn the range of different graphemes (spellings) used to represent key phonemes (sounds) – e.g. long vowel spellings and alternative graphemes for some consonant sounds. They also learn trigraphs like tch. Spelling also becomes integrated into instruction where children learn rules for various spelling patterns, such as the magic e, the e at the end of a word that makes the sound of the previous vowel longer, as in cake, kite, bone . Most children master these in reading first, and it can take longer to apply them correctly in spelling.
Children should become quicker at blending and start to do it silently and automatically. They will start to choose the correct graphemes when they spell, and will learn more complex sight words, including people, water, and friend.
Phase Five generally takes children the whole of First Grade or Year 1. By the end of the school year, children should be able to:
- Say the sound for all graphemes
- Write the common graphemes for any given sound (e.g. e, ee, ie, ea)
- Use their phonics knowledge to read and spell unfamiliar words of up to three syllables
- Read and spell 100 high frequency words
In the UK, by the end of Year One all children are given a Phonics Screening Check to ensure they have mastered the appropriate knowledge. It should be noted that some children will not master all of these skills and may need an additional year of practice in order to fully master the complete phonics sequence. In the US, phonics is assessed by most districts, but the screening varies by state.