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Phonics is an approach to teaching some aspects of literacy, by developing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the relationship between written symbols and sounds. This involves the skills of hearing, identifying and using the patterns of sounds or phonemes to read written language.


The aim is to systematically teach pupils the relationship between these sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics emphasises the skills of decoding new words by sounding them out and combining or ​‘blending’ the sound-spelling patterns.

The Phonics Codebreaker

  • Phoneme: A sound as it is said.

  • Grapheme: A sound that is written.

  • Digraph: Two letters that work together to make the same sound.

  • Trigraph: Three letters that work together to make the same sound.

  • Split digraph: Two letters that work together to make the same sound, separated by another letter.

What is Phonics?

Phonics is all about sounds and is a method of teaching children to read. Phonics works by breaking words down into their individual sounds, there are 44 sounds in the English language, which are put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter – which is known as a phoneme, some by two known as a digraph and 3 sounds which are known as a trigraph.


Children are taught the sounds first, then how to match them to letters, and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling. Not all words are phonetically decode-able however, a select few words you need to learn through the 'sight words' method of learning to read (you, he, she, said etc)

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