Phonemes and Graphemes
Phonemes are sounds, and graphemes are how we write them.
Phonemes can be written by a single letter grapheme, or by a digraph (2 letters) or trigraph (3 letters).
As children progress through the different phonics phases, they will encounter more ways to write/pronounce different phoneme-grapheme correspondences.
E.g. in Phase 2, children learn that the letter "e" makes a short /e/ sound, like in "bed". Later, in Phase 5, they learn it can also make a long /ee/ sound, like in "evil".
Use the picture clues to help you know which letters are making which sound!
Don't forget, sounds should be 'pure' (no "uh" on the end)...
Sound buttons can be added underneath words to help children recognise the component parts.
Dots are placed underneath single letter graphemes, dashes under digraphs and trigraphs, and a swoop connects split digraphs.
Sound buttons are not used underneath Tricky Words or Common Exception Words, because they cannot be sounded out using regular phonics rules.
Tricky Words and Common Exception Words
Tricky Words and Common Exception Words (CEWs) have a lot in common - in fact, you'll find some words on both lists! They are words which either cannot be sounded out using normal phonic rules, or which at the very least cannot be sounded out during the early stages of learning the phonics rules.
For example, "he" and "she" are Phase 3 Tricky Words because children won't learn that the grapheme "e" can also make a long sound (/ee/) until Phase 5. At this point, they only know it can make a short sound like in the word "egg".
Tricky Words and Common Exception Words need to simply be learned and repeatedly practised, both for spelling and for reading.
Phonics Screening Check Information
You can either read through the PDF or listen to the short video to explain about the Phonics Screening Check and how you can support your child.