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WHAT IS A PHONEME?

Updated: Jan 24, 2023



Today brings another sketch note to help you understand literacy learning jargon: What is a phoneme?


The word phoneme comes from the Greek word phonos – meaning sound or voice. A phoneme is the smallest sound unit within oral words. We say phonemes, and we write graphemes. Some words have a direct match between the phonemes (oral sounds) and the written letters (graphemes)


Dog has 3 sounds and 3 letters. Written words and oral sounds often don’t match up, so the word boat has 3 sounds /b/ /oa/ /t/ but 4 letters (boat). In linguistics, sounds are always highlighted in slash marks. Head over to get the phoneme poster.


Tiny Steps To Big Reading Success


Often children struggle to read because the alphabet is a code, and they cannot connect the parts of spoken language to the written form.


Countless research studies conclude that poor phonological awareness — the ability to recognise and manipulate spoken word sounds- is a common cause of poor reading skills. All children should receive phonological awareness training. We should not be waiting to fail and then offer intervention.


I am all about tiny steps to big reading success. Building and manipulating words from the very beginning is crucial and leads to fluency. All children benefit from explicit, systematic instruction, but for some, it is crucial.




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