Phonics Terminology

Blending – combining individual sounds to read a word.


Diagraph – two letters that make one sound.


Grapheme – a way of writing down a phoneme.  Graphemes can be made of up to four letters.


Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence – the letter or letters that make up a sound.


High Frequency Words – the words that occur most frequently in writing. 


Phoneme – the smallest unit of sound.  There are approximately 44 phonemes in the English language.  “Approximately” because there is so much regional variation in our accents.


Segmenting – splitting up words into individual sounds to spell it.

Split diagraph – two letters, split within a word, that make one sound.  For example, a_e in make.


Tricky Words – words that cannot be decoded using phonics so must be learnt instead.


Trigraph – three letters that make one sound.


VC, CVC, CCVC — the abbreviations for vowel-consonant, consonant-vowel-consonant, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant.  Used to describe the order of letters in words.

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