Play Makes Sense Phonics Activity Cards on a chair

Phonics Terminology

Phonics Terminology

Using terminology correctly with your child will help them excel in reading and writing and develop a secure understanding of phonics. Take a look at this list of terminology which is included in the Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4, Phase 5 and Phase 6 Phonics Activity Cards.
  • Adjective - a word that describes a noun, e.g. brown


  • Adverb - a word that describes a verb, e.g. noisily


  • Alliteration - words that have the same initial sound


  • Alternative graphemes - different ways to write the same sound, e.g. ai, a-e, ay, ei, eigh and ey all make the /ai/ sound


  • Base word - the main part of a word with no extra parts added, e.g. happy


  • Blending - putting sounds together to read a word


  • Compound word - a longer word that is made up of two shorter words, e.g. cowboy - cow and boy


  • Consonant - a letter of the alphabet that is not a vowel (a, e, i, o, u)


  • Consonant blend word - a word with two adjacent consonants, e.g. hand


  • CVC word - a single syllable word with three sounds. CVC words contain a consonant sound, then a vowel sound and then a consonant sound.


  • Digraph - two letters that make one sound 


  • Grapheme - the written form of a sound, e.g. a letter/s


  • Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence - matching the sound to the letter that represents it 


  • Homophone - two or more words that are pronounced the same, but have different spellings and meanings, e.g. bear and bare


  • Initial Sound - the first sound in a word


  • Mnemonic - a sentence or phrase that helps us to spell difficult words, e.g. because - big elephants can’t always use small exits


  • Noun - a person, place or thing, e.g. dog


  • Oral Blending - putting sounds together to say a word 


  • Oral Segmenting - splitting up and saying each individual sound in a word - also known as sound-talk, e.g. c-a-t 


  • Past tense - used to describe something that has already happened


  • Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound 


  • Polysyllabic words - words that have more than one syllable, e.g. armchair, dinosaur, butterfly


  • Prefix - a group of letters that go at the beginning of a word and changes its meaning, e.g. un in the word unhappy


  • Present tense - used to describe something that is happening now


  • Rhyme - words that have the same end sound 


  • Segmenting - splitting up sounds to spell a word 


  • Split Digraph - two letters, which are not next to each other, that work together to make one sound, e.g. the a and e in cake 


  • Suffix - a group of letters that go at the end of a word and changes its meaning, e.g. ly in the word happily


  • Syllables - the number of beats in a word 


  • Tricky words - words that cannot be sounded out 


  • Trigraph - three letters that make one sound


  • Verb - a doing word or action, e.g. bark