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Letters and Sounds Glossary

Phonics Glossary



There are many technical terms which are used in phonics. It can sometimes seem that parents and teachers are not talking the same language, and confusion can result. Here is an explanation of the most commonly used phonics words.





A consonant-vowel-consonant word, such as cat, pin or top. You may also come across the abbreviation CCVC for consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant words such as clap and from. Also CVCC for words such as mask and belt.


Phonemes are the smallest unit of speech-sounds which make up a word. If you change a phoneme in a word, you would change its meaning. For example, there are three phonemes in the word sit /s/-/i/-/t/. If you change the phoneme /s/ for /f/, you have a new word, fit. If you change the phoneme /t/ in fit for a /sh/, you have a new word, fish - /f/-/i/-/sh/.


Graphemes are the written representation of sounds.