WHAT IS a phoneme ?

 Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Decoding and Encoding, Blending and Segmenting, Fluency




illustrated ostrich


What is a phoneme?

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound. It is the sound associated with a letter or group of letters. Each different sound in a word is a phoneme.

Phonemes are often represented by more than one letter or combination of letters. 

How many phonemes are there? 

English consists of about 44 phonemes (sounds), but more than 250 graphemes (different written representations for these sounds, e.g. letters or combinations of letters). This means that English does not have a strict one-to-one correspondence between letters and sounds. However, English is also not entirely irregular. It involves numerous patterns and regularities. Phonics is the method that helps children become aware of these rules.

Every phoneme has more than one grapheme. The phonemes chart below shows the 44 phonemes that children are taught in Kindergarten and 1st grade.

phoneme EXAMPLE

The word "cup" has 3 phonemes: /k/, /u/, and /p/.

Each is represented by a simple grapheme or letter: c, u, p.

Examples of phonemes:

"Tap" has 3 phonemes /t/-/a/-/p/...

...represented by graphemes t, a, and p.

"Trap" has 4 phonemes /t/-/r/-/a/-/p/...

...represented by graphemes t, r, a, and p.

"Trapped" has 5 phonemes: /t/-/r/-/a/-/p/-/d/...

...represented by graphemes t, r, a, p, p, e, and d.

Phoneme and grapheme chart

phonemes and graphemes chart


phonics worksheets

distance learning classroom

The Bitmoji Classroom is here to stay. Classroom materials need to be more visual and exciting. Post these examples on your Bitmoji Classroom Bulletin Board or Whiteboard.

They're perfect for sharing to Google Classroom. Or save them to Google Drive and build a handy phonics folder.

On Seesaw, use the QR code function with our downloadable phonics sound chart (coming soon!). Perfect for parents and students who need correct pronunciation. 

Bitmoji Classroom Template

dragon looking at screaming food in fridge


Read our report on the Science of Reading (coming soon!). Research-based reading instruction must incorporate the 5 pillars of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. This report provides an easy to understand overview on phonics and phonemic awareness, why it’s important and how it’s used in the classroom.

Share with colleagues, friends, and to Google Classroom!

New reading app coming soon!


Download our free sample worksheets

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Download our Parent & Educator Guide

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