Phonics vocabulary
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Phonics vocabulary

Phonemes - A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound within a word. It refers to all basic letters sounds (e.g.: c-a-t has 3 letters and 3 phonemes) but also refers to sounds that are spelt with more than one letter (e.g.: l-igh-t has 5 letters and yet, still, 3 phonemes)


Graphemes - A grapheme is the way that we write. This can mean single words (like the word 'I'), phonemes, numbers and punctuation marks.


Blending - Blending is the term used for putting the phonemes together to make a word, e.g.: t-i-n, tin.


Segmenting - Segmenting is the term used for breaking up the phonemes within a word in order to spell it, e.g.: pin, p-i-n.


Tricky words - These are words that cannot be sounded out using phonics. I say that they are trying to 'trick' us or 'catch us out'. They are called tricky words by the curriculum, however your child may call these 'red' words or a different term, depending on the school's approach.

(See the tricky words and the order that they are learnt)


Decodable words - These are words that can be sounded out using the phonics sounds that your child is learning at each phase, e.g. when they have learnt the first 6 sounds (s,a,t,i,p,n) they will make decodable words such as - a, an, as, at, in, is...


Digraphs - Digraphs are a pair or cluster of characters used to represent one phoneme e.g.: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo. There are several of these within words and as children progress through their phonic journey into Year 1 and 2, they will learn that several digraphs are represented by different letters and that there are several inconsistencies in the English language. The phonics scheme highlights these and helps children to break down those barriers to learning.


Split digraphs - Split digraphs are when the phoneme has been split by a consonant but still makes the same sound, e.g.: the ai/ae sound in 'make'.