Phonics

The 44 phonemes

 

Despite there being just 26 letters in the English language there are 44 unique sounds, also known as phonemes. The 44 sounds help distinguish one word or meaning from another. Various letters and letter combinations known as graphemes are used to represent the sounds.

The 44 English sounds fall into three categories: consonants, vowels and digraphs, the latter being  two letter blends. Note that there is no such thing as a definitive list of phonemes because of accents, dialects and the evolution of language itself. Therefore you may discover lists with more or less than these 44 sounds.

Consonants

 Sound #, Sound, Graphemes,  Examples


1. /b/ b, bb, bug, bubble 


 2. /d/ d, dd, ed, dad, add, milled 


 3. /f/ f, ff, ph, gh, lf, ft, fat, cliff, phone, enough, half, often 


 4. /g/ g, gg, gh, gu, gue, gun, egg, ghost, guest, prologue


 5. /h/ h, wh, hop, who

  

6. /j/ j, ge, g, dge, di, gg, jam, wage, giraffe, edge, soldier, exaggerate 


7. /k/ k, c, ch, cc, lk, qu ,q(u), ck, x, kit, cat, chris, accent, folk, bouquet, queen, rack, box  


8. /l/ l, ll, live, well


9. /m/ m, mm, mb, mn, lm, man, summer, comb, column, palm  


10. /n/ n, nn, kn, gn, pnnet, funny, know, gnat, pneumonic 


11. /p/ p, pp, pin, dippy 


12. /r/ r, rr, wr, rh, run, carrot, wrench, rhyme


13. /s/ s, ss, c, sc, ps, st, ce, se, sit, less, circle, scene, psycho, listen, pace, course


14. /t/ t, tt, th, ed, tip, matter, thomas, 

ripped   


15. /v/ v, f, ph, ve, vine, of, stephen, five 


16. /w/ w, wh, u, o, wit, why, quick, choir


17. /y/ y, i, j, yes, onion, hallelujah 


18. /z/ z, zz, s, ss, x, ze, se, zed, buzz, his, scissors, xylophone, craze  

Vowels

 Sound #, Sound, Graphemes,  Examples


19. /a/ a, ai, au, cat, plaid, laugh 


20. /ā/ a, ai, eigh, aigh, ay, er, et, ei, au, a_e, ea, ey, bay, maid, weigh, straight, pay, foyer, filet, eight, gauge, mate, break, they 


21. /e/ e, ea, u, ie, ai, a, eo, ei, ae, ay, end, bread, bury, friend, said, many, leopard, heifer, aesthetic, say 


22. /ē/ e, ee, ea, y, ey, oe, ie, i, ei, eo, ay, be, bee, meat, lady, key, phoenix, grief, ski, deceive, people, quay 


23. /i/ i, e, o, u, ui, y, ie, it, england, women, busy, guild, gym, sieve 


24. /ī/ i, y, igh, ie, uy, ye, ai, is, eigh, i_e, spider, sky, night, pie, guy, stye, aisle, island, height, kite 


25. /o/ o, a, ho, au, aw, ough, octopus, swan, honest, maul, slaw, fought 


26. /ō/ o, oa, o_e, oe, ow, ough, eau, oo, ew, open, moat, bone, toe, sow, dough, beau, brooch, sew 


27. /oo/ o, oo, u, ou, wolf, look, bush, would 


28. /u/ u, o, oo, ou, lug, monkey, blood, double 


29. /ū/ o, oo, ew, ue, u_e, oe, ough, ui, oew, ou, who, loon, dew, blue, flute, shoe, through, fruit, manoeuvre, group 


30. /y/ /ü/ u, you, ew, iew, yu, ul, eue, eau, ieu, eu, unit, you, knew, view, yule, mule, queue, beauty, adieu, feud 


31. /oi/ oi, oy, uoy, join, boy, buoy 


32. /ow/ ow, ou, ough, now, shout, bough


33. /ə/ (schwa) a, er, i, ar, our, or, e, ur, re, eur, about, ladder, pencil, dollar, honour, doctor, ticket, augur, centre, chauffeur
 

R Controlled Vowels

Sound #, Sound, Graphemes,  Examples


34. /ã/ air, are, ear, ere, eir, ayer, chair, dare, pear, where, their, prayer 


35. /ä/ a, ar, au, er, ear, math, jar, laugh, sergeant, heart 


36. /û/ ir, er, ur, ear, or, our, yr, bird, term, burn, pearl, word, journey, myrtle 


37. /ô/ aw, a, or, oor, ore, oar, our, augh, ar, ough, au, paw, ball, fork, poor, fore, board, four, taught, war, bought, sauce


38. /ēə/ ear, eer, ere, ier, ear, steer, here, tier  


 39. /üə/ ure, our, cure, tourist 

Digraphs

Sound #, Sound, Graphemes,  Examples


40. /zh/ s, si, z, treasure, division, azure


41. /ch/ ch, tch, tu, ti, te, chip, watch, future, action, righteous  


42. /sh/ sh, ce, s, ci, si, ch, sci, ti, sham, ocean, sure, special, pension, machine, conscience, station


43. /th/ th(voiced), th(unvoiced) thongs, leather  


44. /ng/ ng, n, ngue, ring, pink, tongue 

Teaching

Many people heard about CVC or CCVC teaching for the phonics. In reality these are considered as reading practice more than phonics training.