Phonics – Phase Five

Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and flask. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic words (words containing more than one syllable).

In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.

Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break.


Phoneme means the smallest unit of sound. There are 44 phonemes in English. Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme means the way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.

Knowing a GPC (grapheme-phoneme correspondence), means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.

Blending– This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.

Oral Segmenting – This is the act of hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words for spelling.

Segmenting – This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.


New graphemes for reading

ay dayoy boywh whena-e make
ou outir girlph photoe-e these
ie tieue blueew newi-e like
ea eataw sawoe toeo-e home
au Paulu-e rule  


Teaching alternative pronunciations for graphemes


i fin findow cow blowy yes by very
o hot coldie tie fieldch chin school chef
c cat centea eat breadou out shoulder could you
g got gianter farmer her    
u but put south   a hat what 


Please click on the links below to view our videos on correct articulation of each of these sounds:

Phase 5 AlternativesPhase 5 Graphemes


Phase Five is revisited by all children in Middle School and Upper School who have reached this level of phonic understanding at the start of each academic year.  From the Spring term onwards these children then work on developing other spelling and reading skills.  Those children in Upper and Middle School who have not yet reached Phase 5, will work on phases appropriate to their level of ability for the duration of the academic year. 

Phase 5 lasts for 30 weeks. However during phase 5 revision in years 3-6 is taught as a condensed 12 week block of work. Assessment of Phase 5 takes place every 5 weeks.