Phase 3 Phonics: The Lazy Teacher’s Guide
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Phase 3 phonics is usually taught in Reception class and takes children about 12 weeks to cover. It introduces children to the remaining, more difficult and/or less commonly used phonemes. Here's an overview of what phonics is, what’s taught at phase 3 and some tried and tested blending and segmenting activities…
WHAT IS PHONICS?
Words are made up of sounds called phonemes. A phoneme can be represented by between one to four letters (graphemes), such as 'igh' in light, or 'a' in man. Phonics teaches children each of these sounds and how use them to read and spell.
Blending is when children say the sounds which make up a word and then merge them together until they can hear what the word is, e.g. c-a-t = cat. Blending plays a very important role in the journey to becoming a fluent reader.
Segmenting teaches children to recognise the segments that form a word. It is when children ‘stretch’ out a word and then break it up into sounds, e.g. dog = d-o-g. This enables them to spell words. Segmenting is the opposite of blending.
PHASE 3 PHONICS
The purpose of phase 3 phonics is to teach another 25 graphemes, most of them made up of two letters (e.g. sh, oa). The new graphemes are: j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er.
Children also continue to practise blending and segmenting, applying their knowledge to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions. During phase 3 phonics, they will learn the letter names by singing the alphabet song, plus some more tricky words! The tricky words are: he, she, we, me, be, was, you, they, all, are, my, her.
PHASE 3 PHONICS BLENDING ACTIVITIES
PULL AND GO
•Make a word using magnetic letters, spacing the sounds out.
•Send a pull and go toy underneath the word, saying the sounds as it passes by!
•Blend to read the word.
•Write a word on the ground using chalk.
•Bounce the ball on each sound, saying it out loud.
•Blend to read the word.
•Alternatively you could use bean bags and toss one onto each sound.
PHASE 3 PHONICS SEGMENTING ACTIVITIES
•Roll the playdough into balls.
•Give each child 3 or 4 balls, depending on how many phonemes the words which you are working on contain.
•Say a word to the children, e.g. goat.
•The children squash their playdough balls as they segment the word, g-oa-t.
•Segment to spell: place magnetic letters underneath to spell the word.
SOAR WITH SEGMENTING
•Say a word to the children, e.g. 'moon'.
•Ask the children to make their toy plane/rocket take off. Say the sounds in the word as it goes, m-oo-n.
•Repeat with different words.
•Segment to spell: write the words on a large piece of paper.
PHASE 3 PHONICS TRICKY WORD TIPS
•TRICKY WORDS are also known as common exception or irregular words.
• Tricky words contain letter-sound correspondences which the children have yet to learn, for example, ‘was’. The ‘a’ corresponds to the phoneme /o/ which is unusual for children who are working at phase three.
•With tricky words, focus on the sounds which children know first and then look carefully at the tricky part.
•Highlight the tricky part of the word using a different coloured pen or a highlighter. Alternatively, you could underline the tricky part.
•You could encourage the child to draw a picture in the tricky part of the word, to make it easier to remember.
These activity ideas and many more can be found in my phonics books on Amazon. ‘Blast-Off with Blending’ and 'Soar with Segmenting are both available in paperback and ebook versions - just click on the images to take you there!
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