Struggling with Phonics

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A very brief explanation for Synthetic Phonics


There are 26 letters of the Alphabet

42-44 English Spoken Language sounds  and yet there are

between 72-87 PHONOGRAMS – thats ways of spelling those 42-44 Spoken sounds.

(Medical language for example will have more sounds as it is based on Latin and Greek)

The 42-44 Phonic sounds are (depending on the level of learning)

Vowel sounds  – there are (5 short vowels, 5 long vowels, 5 r controlled vowels a Shwa (an unstressed vowel – any of the five sometimes not counted as a Phoneme) and

00 long and short

Consonants – there are 19 consonant sounds

There are 5-6 Digraphs – that’s two letters together that make a separate sound.

Those 42-44 Phonic sounds can be spelled in 72-87 different ways! which are the PHONOGRAMS

Children learn to read by learning increasingly more complicated sounds using Synthetic Phonics – and Decodable (using only the sounds the child is

studying at the time) should be more widely available in bookstores!


When a student is able to read and write they will then be using Analytical Phonics to work out the sound components of new words to

be able to say and spell them correctly – other methods are also used at this stage for learning spelling rules etc.