Phonics terms

16 January, 2023

Phonics knowledge refers to the understanding of the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds they represent. It is the foundation of learning to read and write in English.

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word. For example, the word "cat" has three phonemes: /k/ /æ/ /t/

A grapheme is the written representation of a phoneme, or a combination of phonemes. For example, the letter "c" represents the phoneme /k/ and the combination of letters "sh" represents the phoneme /ʃ/

A digraph is a combination of two letters that represent one phoneme, such as "sh" in the word "ship"

Sounding out refers to the process of pronouncing each phoneme in a word to decode it.

Decoding refers to the process of using phonics knowledge to read words by sounding out the individual phonemes and blending them together.

Blending refers to the process of combining individual sounds of a word together to form the whole word, such as blending the sounds /k/ /æ/ /t/ to say "cat"

Segmenting refers to the process of breaking a word down into its individual phonemes. This is the opposite of blending.


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