Phonics Sound of Letters
Teaching Letter Sounds to Your Child
To learn to read and decode effectively, a young child must learn and master the letter sounds in English. These are also known as "phonemes" - the smallest individual units of sound which combine together to makeup the words in our language. When we refer to the phonics sounds, we can broadly categorize them into a "basic code" and a "complex code", and it is the basic code that we will focus on heavily as this is the most common, and should be mastered before moving on to learning more complicated material.
Below, you will find an alphabetic listing of the phonics sounds of letters. Clicking on each will take you to the page explaining how the sound is made.
In most references, you'll see around 44 different phonemes; however, I've come across lists with as many as 50. On our site here, you will find many different resources to help you teach your child these sounds including printable worksheets, activities, songs, and rhymes. Click image below to see a complete infographic showing a comprehensive list of the 44+ phonemes.
While learning most sounds are fairly straightforward, there are various complexities within the English Language. It is always easier, and makes absolute sense, to help the young learner build a rock solid foundation in the basic code first before moving on to the complex code. And as we have learned from experience, this 2 tier approach works amazingly well, and this is the exact approach used in our Reading program.
In an effort to keep things as simple as possible, when teaching the vowel sounds, it is a good idea to first teach the "short" sounds first before the "long" vowel sounds. For example, short A /a/ sounds can be seen in words such as "bat" or "cat" - making an "ah" sound; short E /e/ sounds can be seen in words such as "bet" or "net", which makes an "eh" sound.
By the way, the slashes enclosing a letter (like so /a/) denote the sound of the letter and not its name.