Market Drayton Infant & Nursery School

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Glossary of Phonics Terms

Glossary of Phonics Terms




Saying the individual sounds that make up a word and then merging or blending the sounds together to say the word – used when reading.


Most letters of the alphabet (excluding the vowels: a,e,i,o,u).

CVC words

Abbreviation used for consonant-vowel-consonant words, used to describe the order of sounds. Some examples of CVC words are: cat, pen, top, chat (because ch makes one sound).

Other similar abbreviations include:

• VC words e.g. on, is, it.

• CCVC words e.g. trap and black.

• CVCC words e.g. milk and fast.


Two letters which together make one sound e.g. ee, oa, ea, ch, ay.

There are different types of digraph:

• Vowel digraph: a digraph in which at least one of the letters is a vowel, for example; boat or day.

• Consonant digraph: two consonants which can go together, for example shop or thin.

• Split digraph (previously called magic e): two letters, which work as a pair to make one sound, but are separated within the word e.g. a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e. For example cake or pine.


Written letters or a group of letters which represent one single sound (phoneme) e.g. a, l, sh, air, ck.


A single sound that can be made by one or more letters – e.g. s, k, z, oo, ph, igh.


Phonics teaches children to listen to and identify the sounds that make up words. This helps them to read and write words.

pure sound

Pronouncing each letter sound clearly and distinctly without adding additional sounds to the end e.g. ‘f’ not ‘fuh.’


Splitting a word up into individual sounds – used when spelling and writing. The opposite of blending.

tricky words

Words that are difficult to sound out e.g. said, the, because.


hree letters which go together make one sound e.g. ear, air, igh.


The letters a, e, i, o, u.