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Help with Phonics

Phonics is about the links between letters and the sounds they make. "Synthetic phonics" is the method of combining sounds to make a word (synthesis). 

 

 

Phonics terminology:

Phoneme: The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (depending on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme: A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g igh, or 4 letters e.g. ough.

GPC: Short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme (sound) to a grapheme (written representation) and vice versa.

Digraph: A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Trigraph: A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Pure sounds: Pronouncing the sound (phoneme) correctly and not adding 'uh' to the end of the sound. Children who add 'uh' to the end of phonemes e.g. b'uh', m'uh' etc struggle to blend words for reading.

Pseudo words: Nonsense words used in phonics (often alien names) used to check children are able to identify graphemes within new words.

Oral Blending: This involves hearing phonemes and being able to merge them together to make a word. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to blend written words.

Blending: This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging  these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.

Oral Segmenting: This is the act of hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.

Segmenting: This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.