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Phase 3 Phonics

How is Phonics Taught?

Phonics is taught in phases, starting in the preschool setting and continuing until year 2.

  • Phase 1 is usually covered in the preschool setting as well as in Reception and is all about speaking and listening.
  • Following on from this, Phase 2 begins to introduce children to single letter sounds, such as followed by simple digraph phonemes, such as ck.
  • Phase 3 looks at trickier digraphs, such as ai and oa and trigraphs such as igh.
  • Phase 4 is a consolidation of all phonemes learned so far, especially within CCVC (consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant) words such as slip, and CVCC words such as tent. Furthermore, children will be taught to segment and blend polysyllabic words.
  • Phase 5 is about broadening their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know.
  • Phase 6 is about reading words and teaching spelling; introducing and teaching the past tense; suffixes; longer words and the application of this spelling within writing. This is covered in year 1 and 2. 

This blog post looks at all things relating to Phase 3 Phonics.

A Parents’ Guide to Phonics

If you haven’t already done so, watch our webinar, ‘A Parents’ Guide to Phonics’. It is free and will give you a great introduction to phonics and how it all works.

A Parents Guide to Phonics

Phase 3 Phonics

Phase 3 phonics is the next stage of phonics and it builds upon the foundation laid in Phase 2 and introduces more complex sounds, including further digraphs and trigraphs, along with additional tricky words. They will likely learn the following sounds, in the following order:

j, v, w

x, y, z, zz

qu, ch

sh, th

ng, ai

ee, igh

oa, oo, oo

ar, or

ow, oi

ur, er, ure

ear, air

Key Elements of Phase 3 Phonics

  • Introduction of New Graphemes and Phonemes: Phase 3 introduces a wider range of graphemes, including digraphs (two letters that represent one sound, like ch or sh) and trigraphs (three letters representing one sound, like igh).
  • Practice with Tricky Words: Children are introduced to more ‘tricky words’ (irregularly spelled words that cannot be sounded out phonetically) that they need to recognise by sight.
  • Blending and Segmenting with New Graphemes: Children continue to practice blending and segmenting, now using the new graphemes introduced in Phase 3.
  • Introducing Vowel Digraphs: Children learn vowel digraphs, which are combinations of letters that represent a single vowel sound (e.g. ai in rain or oa in boat).
  • Practicing Consonant Digraphs and Trigraphs: Children work with consonant digraphs (e.g. ch, sh) and trigraphs (e.g. igh, ear) to read and write words.
  • Reading and Writing Sentences: Children progress from reading individual words to reading and writing simple sentences.
  • Blending for Reading and Segmenting for Spelling: Children use their blending skills to read words and their segmenting skills to spell words.

      Phase 3 Tricky Words

      Alongside the phonemes that your child will be learning, they will also learn tricky words. Many of these words cannot be sounded out so children just have to learn them by sight. The phase 3 tricky words are: 













      Activities and Games for Phase 3 Phonics

      Many of the Phase 2 activities and games will work well for Phase 3 too. Check them out on our Phase 2 Blogpost.

      Here are a few other good ones for Phase 3:

      • Flashcard Mix-Up: Create flashcards with Phase 3 sounds and tricky words. Mix them up and have children arrange them in the correct order to form words or sentences.
      • Word Bingo: Play bingo with Phase 3 words. Call out a word, and children mark the corresponding word on their bingo card.
      • Phonics Charades: Children act out a Phase 3 word without speaking, while others guess the word!
      • Pizza Slice: Create pizza slices with the different Phase 3 sounds on and children have to create different words using the pizza slices. Are they real words or ‘alien’ words?! They have to write them in the correct column (see header image on this blog post!).
      • Bottle Top Words: Add the Phase 3 sounds to the tops of bottle tops. Children have to come up with and write down words using those sounds. Can they write sentences using their Phase 3 words?

      Useful Resources for Phase 3 Phonics

      • A whiteboard and magnetic letters are a great way for children to learn to recognise these sounds as well as to learn how to segment words to spell them.
      • Printing off flashcards of the sounds are an ideal way to consolidate the learning of these sounds – stick them on the fridge or in their room to encourage recognition.
      • Download and use our Phase 3 Sound Mat

        Bright Light Phonics Books!

        Watching your child learn to read and write can be a wonderfully exciting time! As mothers ourselves, we have seen first-hand the joy children get from being able to recognise their first sounds, words and sentences. Structured in a weekly format, we hope our workbooks will provide a straightforward and enjoyable way in which to guide your child on their phonics journey!

        Our books are ideal in supporting and reinforcing phonics for Reception children in England. Reception children are those entering the first year of primary school (4-5 year olds). Children now follow a structured phonics-based programme. Whilst schools can choose their own programme, it is often taught in six phases which starts in nursery and ends in Year 2 and our books do the same, so they will fit well with your child’s own school teaching of phonics.

        For some children, they may be ready to start their phonics journey from preschool age (3 years old) and some nursery settings teach the Phase 2 sounds in the year before children begin school. Bright Light Phonics Book 1 can help to support these children.

        For those children not in a school environment in England but who speak English, the books are suitable for children as they start learning to read and write, typically 4-6 year olds.

        Our books are also perfect for non-English speaking children of all ages who are learning to read and write English.

        Bright Light Phonics
        Bright Light Phonics Book 1
        Bright Light Phonics Book 2 Practice Book

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