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Phonics Glossary

Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound.

Grapheme - The way we write the sound.

Digraph - Is a grapheme containing 2 letter shapes which make one sound.  For example – sh, ch, th

Trigraph - Is a grapheme containing 3 letter shapes which make one sound.  For example – ear, igh, air

Split digraph - Is 2 letters that make one sound but they have been split up by a letter in between them e.g.  a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e

Blending - Looking at each grapheme in a word and blending the sounds together to read the word.

Segmenting - Hearing a spoken word and splitting it into the phonemes that make it to spell the word.

Tricky Words - Some words cannot be sounded out or spelt correctly by listening for the sounds in them.  These are called Tricky Words and  have to be learnt and remembered as whole words.  This is achieved through regular practise of reading and spelling such words and also by identifying which part of the word is ‘tricky’.

Alien Words - Also known as ‘Nonsense Words’ are words which are not real.  By regularly looking at these kinds of words the children acquire a growing confidence in their ability to decode unfamiliar text.  This is achieved by identifying any known graphemes within the word and then blending the sounds all through the word and merging them together to read it.  It also gives us a clear idea of any children who may need extra help with grapheme recognition and blending skills.