In Phase Two (typically in Kindergarten/Reception), children start to learn the sounds (phonemes) that letters (graphemes) make. There are 44 sounds (phonemes). Some of these sounds correspond to more than one letter combination (graphemes). In Phase Two, children focus on learning the 19 most common phonemes that correspond to single letter graphemes, generally taught in smaller groups of 6. Most teachers begin with a sequence of the most commonly used phonemes: /s/, /a/, /t/, /i/, /p/, /n/.
It generally takes children about 6-8 weeks to master the first 19 phonemes-graphemes. At the end of Phase Two, children can read and spell several short vowel-consonant (VC) words like it and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words like pin. They also learn some high frequency sight words, such as: a, the, an, can, is, of, you, and he. Different strategies for teaching sight words are discussed later in this paper.
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!