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Phonics is a method of teaching people to read words by decoding them into individual sounds, known as phonemes. These sounds can then be blended together to form words.

Two key terms used in phonics are phonemes, which are the individual sounds in words, and graphemes, which are the written representations of those sounds.


Phonemes are the distinct sounds that, when combined, form words. They are not necessarily associated with the letters in a word. For instance, the word make consists of four letters but is composed of three phonemes: m, ae and k.

There are a total of 44 phonemes categorized into two groups: vowels and consonants. Vowels account for 20 phonemes, while consonants make up the remaining 24.

To explore and listen to all 44 phonemes, you can download our free Phonics app on Google Play.


Graphemes are the written representations of phoneme sounds, and they can vary in how they are written. In other words, graphemes represent the same sound but can be spelled in different ways. For example, the sound ae can also be written as ai, ay, a-e, or even simply a.

The hyphen in a-e represents that there is another letter in between, such as k in make. This is known as a split diagraph.


Blending Blending involves saying each phoneme sound in sequence to pronounce a word.

Segmenting is the process of breaking a word into individual sounds (phonemes) for the purpose of writing it. This skill is crucial for spelling.

Decoding is the act of breaking down words into separate phoneme sounds to read them.

Encoding means putting phoneme sounds together to write words.

Tricky Words
Tricky words are those that can't be easily decoded.

CVC Words
CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) words consist of three phonemes in the order of a consonant phoneme, a vowel phoneme, and another consonant phoneme. They may not necessarily have three letters, as they refer to the sounds. For example, hat (h, a and t) and show (sh, o and w).


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