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Useful Terms

Blending is merging sounds to make words e.g. c-a-t cat.  This is the skill needed for reading words.

Segmenting is breaking a word up into the individual sounds and then identifying which letters to use for each sound e.g. cat c-a-t.  This is the skill needed for writing words.

Phoneme – the smallest speech sound in a word, for example

           in has 2 phonemes/speech sounds i-n

           bat has 3 phonemes b-a-t

           chip has 3 phonemes ch-i-p

           night has 3 phonemes n-igh-t

           cartoon has 5 phonemes c-ar-t-oo-n

           starlight has 6 phonemes s-t-ar-l-igh-t 

Grapheme – a written representation of a phoneme e.g. which letter or letters to use when writing a sound

Digraph – two letters that make one sound e.g. ch ck th ng

Trigraph – three letters that make one sound e.g. air ear igh

Split digraph - a ‘split digraph’ is simply two letters, split apart, which make one sound such as a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e and u-e.  For example there are split vowel digraphs in these words: cakePeteshinehome and cube.  You might remember learning this as ‘magic e’.  That term is no longer used as it may be confusing.  The children learn the digraphs as a whole and that they are split apart by a letter or letters in between.