Early Reading Terms and Definitions

Education has changed greatly over the last several years. I hear complaints and concerns from many parents that they struggle with helping their children complete homework.

Many of these parents who are having questions are parents of primary age children. Even parents of kindergarten, first and second grade children struggle with helping their child in school. It is not that the parents are not intelligent or smart. The cause for the confusion is due to a different method of teaching that is now being used. It has been many years since these parents have been in the primary grades. They have forgotten information and the new styles can be confusing to those who are not trained in the techniques.

There are many new vocabulary words being used now in terms o reading that most parents are not aware even existed.

Some of the terms that parents may see on phonics sheets and such that are sent home by teachers are listed below.

Phoneme: This is the smallest part of a spoken word. In science the equivalent of a phoneme would be an atom. There are around 41 phonemes in the English language. Most words have more than one phoneme. However words such as a, I, and oh only have one phoneme. The word check has five letters but only three phonemes. The phonemes in the word check are /ch/ /e/ /k/. The / / around letters represent the letters’ sounds.

Grapheme: While a phoneme is the smallest part of the spoken language, a grapheme is the smallest part of the written language that describes a phoneme. A grapheme can be a single letter or a combination. Some combinations that can be seen are ch, sh, th, ck, ea, igh.

In a future article I will continue to discuss and define some reading terms that your child may know but may not be so familiar to you.

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