Phonic terms

Blending – This is when the child says the sounds or phonemes and puts them together to make a word. This is reading. The child looks at the graphemes c/a/t and says each sound before saying the word. To begin with blending is slow as the child perhaps does not know their phoneme/grapheme correspondences too well. Once they get quicker at knowing what the graphemes represent then blending will be much quicker. Eventually blending will be so fast that they will be saying the sounds in their head then saying the word. Eventually reading will become automatic.

Consonant digraphs – This is when two consecutive consonants make one sound. Examples are sh, ch, th, wh, gn.

CVC words – This is a word which consists of a consonant then a vowel and then a consonant. Vowels are a,e,i,o,u and sometimes y and consonants are all the other letters including y. So cat, dog, bat, tap, sun, pin, pot, pan, pen are all cvc words.

Grapheme – is all of the letters that represent a phoneme so ‘s’ is a grapheme and ‘ai’ is a grapheme.

Phoneme – this is the smallest unit of sound that you can hear in a word. So the word c/a/t has 3 phonemes. The word s/n/a/p has 4 phonemes and the word r/ai/n has 3 phonemes. Two letters represent the /ai/ sound. In the word l/igh/t you can hear 3 phonemes. Three letters represent the /igh/ sound.

Phoneme/grapheme correspondences –knowing what the sound (phoneme) is when the child is shown the letters or letter combinations. So if you show the child ‘a’ they know the sound. If you show them ‘ai’ they know it makes the sound that you hear in the middle of ‘rain’.

Segmenting – this is when the child breaks the word up into its different phonemes for spelling or writing. So if a child is given the word ‘cat’ then they know that the sounds they can hear are /c/ /a/ /t/ and if they know their phoneme/grapheme correspondences they know how to write the graphemes for those sounds.

Vowel digraphs – This is when two consecutive vowels make one sound. Examples are ai, ee, ay, ea.

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