Exceptional English Home Language Grade 3 Milestones: Reading and Phonics

We have previously written our first article about Grade 3 milestones. The article looked at what Grade 3 children would learn each term regarding their listening and speaking. Today we will cover the term-by-term progress they will make in their phonics and reading. Let’s look at each term’s emphasis on content and skills acquired and break down what concepts our Grade Threes will learn.

As we have seen, Grade 3 is very important in a student’s schooling career. This is the school year where the students shift from learning to read to reading to learn. How well they do this has repercussions for the rest of their schooling. It is vital that third graders become good readers.

Reading activities and recommended resources will also be considered below.

Grade 3: Reading and Phonics


In the beginning of first term, Grade 2 skills are revised and expanded on. We focus on consonants and vowel digraphs. Grade 3’s are also introduced to how the same letter can have different sounds: The “g” in gate and the “g” in giraffe, for example. At the same time, aural recognition and word building continue to be developed.

All single letter sounds and names can be identified. Consonant digraphs at the beginning and end of words can be identified. The vowel digraphs from second grade are also recognised. Grade 3’s also learn that there are different ways to spell the same sounds. This can be seen in feet and read. They can also identify and use rhyming words.

Split digraphs are recognised. This is the silent “e” at the end of words like cape and bite.

Using consonant and vowel digraphs, Grade 3’s can build words. These will be three, four and five-letter words. They can also begin to spell words correctly using phonetic knowledge.

Letters and words can be sorted into alphabetical order. Short sentences dictated by the teacher can be written down. The phonics and sight words lessons will mean that the spelling of ten words is learnt each week.


Further vowel blends are introduced. These introductions show more sounds that can be made with different combinations of letters. Examples include the “ow” sound in “cow” and “found”. They will also learn more digraphs making an “f” sound, as in “laugh” and “phone”.)

Their recognition also expands to observing that the same spelling can have different sounds. For example, in “read” and “bread”. All these skills will have a significant impact on their spelling.

Grade 3’s also learn to use words that sound the same even with different spelling. For example, “reading a book”, while “looking at a reed”. The “ea” and “ee” both make the same sound despite the difference in spelling.

This is all key to using words that are built with the phonic skills that third graders are learning. The students learn to use phonic knowledge to spell words correctly. This is in all written work, their diction, and informal tests.


The spelling programme for the term will continue using phonics.

Third graders will recognise all the blends of consonants and vowels learnt so far. This term they will be taught about silent letters found in words. These include the words such as hour (“h”), comb (“b) and know (“k”).

Their grasp of different meanings for words spelt the same also develops. For example, the insect “fly” (noun) and to “fly” an aeroplane (verb). They will learn to use these with confidence and accuracy. They can also correctly use words that sound the same but have different meanings. Examples of this would include knowing that you comb your “hair” but a “hare” hops.

Using phonic knowledge in written work, diction and informal tests, Grade 3’s can formulate the right way to spell words. They can work this out using both letter sounds and letter names. All of this aims to continue building their phonic skills this term.


Proficiency continues to grow with recognition of all phonics learnt so far. The hard and soft sounds of “g” and “c” are understood. The use of “c” for example in both “cat” and “city”. The vowels in “here”, “hair” and “square” would not be confusing. Spelling patterns can also be followed and identified. So, the connections between “high” and “right” will be observed. This also follows for other spelling patterns such as “ough” (rough, tough), “eigh” (sleigh) and “augh” (caught).

Synonyms and antonyms can be used and understood. A third grader will know that “joy” and “happy” mean something very similar. They will also comprehend that “high” and “low” are opposites.

Grade 3’s begin to see prefixes and suffixes in words. They can use them to also formulate words. For example, they can make “undecided” from “decided” with the appropriate prefix. They are also able to grasp what syllables are. They can break down multi-syllabic words in separate syllables. For example, they will be able to divide “remember” into its three parts: re-mem-ber.

As with all the terms thus far, fourth term sees the students growing in their proficiency. Their phonic knowledge can continue to be used to spell correctly.

Grade 3 Weekly and Daily Reading Activities

Throughout the year, these skills are practised in class. There will be daily and weekly reading activities. The children are encouraged to read individually and in groups. There will also be sessions where shared reading takes place. This is where the teacher will read while the grade 3 students follow along in their books.

Learners are also encouraged to read what they have written themselves. Children will also read some of what their classmates have written.

Recommend resources and texts for Reading and Phonics in Third Grade

Grade 3’s have a wonderful opportunity to read a variety of texts. These include newspapers and magazine articles. Books that are short and fun with one or two sentences on a page are ideal. The class library should be stocked with picture and story books. It should also include a range of non-fiction topics as well.

Third graders will interact with an assortment of texts in their graded reading schemes. These will include non-fiction and fiction, as well as plays and poems.

The classrooms can make use of pictures and posters. These can be very helpful to undergird the reading. Phonic wall charts make for easy reference point. Simple maps and flow diagrams make useful wall charts. All of these are educational but also make the classroom fun.

These can also be hung up at home to complement the learning happening in class. Parents wondering what books to have at home can also replicate the variety found at school.

Japari: Making Grade 3’s excellent in their English

Japari school is a remedial school that is ardent in teaching Grade 3’s to become readers. Our reading programme is geared to children at their own level. It intends on helping our students to become lifelong readers.

We also have a proven track record of helping students. Many of these students did not thrive in a traditional schooling environment. Japari aims to remedy what they found lacking in their school experience. This prepares them to achieve their best results in life. 

Contact us today to see how we can help your child.

Bibliography/Further Reading:






Leave a Comment