In Phase Three (typically the end of Kindergarten/Reception), children learn the remaining 25 phonemes. These phonemes are more difficult and/or less frequently used. Some of these 25 phonemes correspond to digraphs, meaning they are represented by graphemes with two letters that make one sound (e.g. /sh/ and /ee/). Learning these patterns helps children read and spell more words.
During this phase, children master the association between more phonemes and new graphemes, which helps them sound out new words. Learning more sight words also improves reading, helping build fluency and comprehension.
It takes most children about three to six months to master the material in Phase Three. By the end of this phase, children know most of the 44 phonemes and the most common graphemes that correspond to them. They are also able to say the sounds of the graphemes in Phase Two and Three. They blend and read CVC words made from these graphemes and can comfortably read some sight words.
Read our report on the Science of Reading. Research-based reading instruction must incorporate the 5 pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This report provides an easy to understand overview of each of these pillars and explains the important connection between how the brain learns to read (the Neuroscience of Reading) and how we teach children to read (The Science of Reading Instruction). It also explains why helping children build connections between letters and sounds, through phonics and phonemic awareness, is so crucial for the developing reading mind. This report is perfect for sharing with colleagues and friends!