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What is a Phonogram in Phonics?

Written by: Kokotree

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what is a phonogram in phonics

As parents, we all want what’s best for our children, especially when it comes to their education. You might be looking for advice on familiarizing your child with phonics, and one important aspect of phonics is the mysterious ‘phonogram’. If you’re unsure about what it means or how it affects your child’s language learning, you’ve come to the right place! This blog post will delve into what phonograms are, how they function in our language, and how they can help your child unlock their potential in reading and spelling. Get ready to enhance your child’s phonics journey with a newfound understanding of phonograms!

What is a Phonogram in Phonics?

A phonogram in phonics is a written symbol or combination of letters that represents a specific sound or group of sounds in a language. These phonograms help children recognize and decode words more easily by breaking them down into smaller sound units. For example, the ‘igh’ in ‘sigh’ represents the long ‘i’ sound, while ‘ight’ in ‘night’ also stands for the same sound. Understanding phonograms is a crucial step in learning to read and spell by connecting sounds with their corresponding written forms.

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Benefits of Learning Phonograms

Phonograms offer tremendous benefits for your child’s reading and spelling skills. They make the words easier to process by breaking them down into smaller units, increasing fluency and comprehension. Let’s take a closer look at how phonograms can boost your child’s phonics journey:

1. Enhanced Decoding Abilities

By understanding and recognizing individual phonograms, kids are better equipped to decode unfamiliar words in their reading. This helps increase their reading fluency and levels of comprehension, which in turn boosts their confidence and motivation.

2. Improved Spelling Skills

As children become proficient in identifying phonograms, they are more likely to spell unfamiliar words accurately. This is because they can break down the word into its component sounds and match them with the appropriate phonograms.

Phonics Learning App for Kids: A Fun Way to Practice Phonograms

Want an engaging way for your child to practice phonograms? A phonics learning app for kids is a perfect solution! These apps typically offer interactive activities and games that teach children to recognize and master various phonograms, helping them build strong reading and spelling foundations.

Tips for Choosing the Right Phonics App

To ensure the best results, it is essential to select the right phonics app for your child. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Age-appropriate content: Make sure the app’s content is suitable for your child’s age and skill level, offering a gradual learning curve.
  • Engaging activities: Look for an app with a variety of interactive and fun tasks that keep kids motivated to learn.
  • Progress tracking: Choose an app that offers feedback and tracks your child’s progress so that you can stay up-to-date and address areas that need improvement.
  • Evidence-based methods: Opt for an app that uses research-backed teaching methods proven to be effective in fostering phonics skills.

Helpful Activities for Practicing Phonograms at Home

Though a phonics learning app can be a great resource, incorporating additional practices at home will further enhance your child’s understanding of phonograms. Here are some enjoyable activities you can do at home:

1. Phonogram Bingo

Create simple Bingo cards with different phonograms on them. Call out the sounds represented by each phonogram, and have your child place markers on the matching phonograms on their card. This game helps improve their listening skills and strengthens their associations between phonograms and sounds.

2. Phonogram Flashcards

Make flashcards with phonograms on one side and corresponding sounds on the other. Use these cards to quiz your child, both by saying the sound and having them find the matching phonogram, and vice versa. This activity aids in memorizing phonograms and their associated sounds.

3. Word Building

Provide your child with a selection of phonogram tiles and ask them to build words using the tiles. Encourage them to experiment with different combinations and discuss the words they create. This exercise promotes understanding of word structure and enhances their overall literacy skills.

Strategies to Teach Phonograms Successfully

As you assist your child in learning phonograms, implementing effective teaching strategies can make a significant difference. Here are some techniques to keep in mind:

1. Explicit Instruction

Introduce phonograms explicitly and systematically, laying a strong foundation for your child’s phonics skills. Present one phonogram at a time and ensure they understand the sound it represents before moving on to the next one.

2. Multisensory Approach

Children learn best when they use multiple senses to absorb the information. Incorporate visual, auditory, and tactile elements in your teaching methods to promote a more profound understanding of phonograms. For example, kids can trace the phonograms with their fingers while saying the corresponding sounds aloud, making the connection between the symbol and sound more concrete.

3. Real-Life Application

Encourage your child to apply their newly-acquired phonogram knowledge in practical, real-life situations. Reading books and identifying phonograms within the text can help them see the value of what they are learning and stay motivated.

4. Reinforce Learning through Repetition

Repetition is key when it comes to mastering phonograms. Practice with your child regularly through flashcards, games, and other engaging activities to help them internalize the connections between phonograms and their associated sounds.

Understanding Phonics Terminology

As a parent, it is helpful to be familiar with some common terms related to phonics and phonograms. This knowledge will enable you to support your child more effectively.

1. Phoneme

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language. In phonics, understanding phonemes is essential because it enables children to recognize how sounds combine to form words.

2. Grapheme

A grapheme is a written or printed representation of a phoneme. It can be a single letter, like ‘s’, or a combination of letters, like ‘sh’. These graphemes are vital in connecting sounds to their written forms.

3. Blending

Blending is the process of combining individual sounds represented by phonemes and phonograms to form a complete word. For instance, blending the sounds /k/, /a/, and /t/ creates the word ‘cat’.

4. Segmenting

Segmenting is the inverse of blending. It involves breaking down a word into its individual sounds or phonemes. Teaching kids to segment words fosters their spelling skills, as they learn to associate each letter or phonogram with its respective sound.


Understanding and mastering phonograms is a vital aspect of your child’s phonics journey. Implementing effective teaching strategies, fun activities, and using suitable learning apps will greatly enhance their reading and spelling skills. By being proactive and supporting your child in learning phonograms, you will help them build a strong foundation in literacy that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions about phonograms and phonics, this FAQ section is here to offer some clarity. Explore the answers to these common questions to help you support your child in their language learning journey.

1. At what age should my child start learning phonograms?

Children can begin learning phonograms between the ages of 4 and 5, when they are ready to start learning phonics. However, this can vary depending on your child’s individual development and readiness.

2. How many phonograms should my child learn?

There are approximately 70 common phonograms in the English language. Your child should learn as many as possible to build a strong foundation in reading and spelling.

3. What is the difference between phonograms and phonemes?

Phonemes are the smallest units of sound in a language, while phonograms are the written symbols or combinations of letters representing specific sounds or groups of sounds. Phonograms are essentially the written representations of phonemes.

4. Are phonograms the same as digraphs and trigraphs?

Phonograms can include digraphs and trigraphs. A digraph is a combination of two letters that create a single sound (e.g. ‘sh’), whereas a trigraph is a combination of three letters that create a single sound (e.g. ‘igh’). Both digraphs and trigraphs are types of phonograms.

5. How do I know if a phonics learning app is effective?

An effective phonics app should offer age-appropriate content, engaging activities, progress tracking, and use research-backed, evidence-based teaching methods. Reading reviews and trying out a free trial, if available, can help you make a more informed decision.

6. How can I support my child in learning phonograms at home?

Implement effective teaching strategies, create fun and engaging activities to practice phonograms, and use suitable learning apps to help your child build a strong foundation in literacy.

7. Do children need to learn all the phonograms to be successful in reading and spelling?

While knowing all the phonograms is helpful, it is not a strict requirement for success in reading and spelling. However, learning as many phonograms as possible will greatly benefit your child by making it easier for them to decode and spell unfamiliar words.

8. How long does it take for a child to master phonograms?

Each child is unique, and the time it takes to master phonograms can vary depending on factors such as age, prior knowledge, and the amount of practice. Providing consistent support and practice opportunities can expedite the process.

9. Can learning phonograms help with dyslexia?

Yes, learning phonograms through a multisensory approach can be beneficial for children with dyslexia, as it helps them better understand the relationships between sounds and symbols in the English language.

10. How do I ensure my child doesn’t become overwhelmed while learning phonograms?

Introduce phonograms one at a time and ensure your child has a solid understanding of each before moving on to the next. Combine learning with fun activities and games to keep them engaged and motivated.

11. My child is struggling with phonograms. What can I do to help?

Be patient, offer support, and allow your child the time they need to grasp the concept. Reinforce learning through repetition, utilize multisensory teaching methods, and incorporate fun activities to practice phonograms.

12. How long should a phonics learning session be?

A phonics learning session can range from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your child’s age, concentration level, and individual needs. It is essential to keep the sessions engaging and maintain a balance between learning and fun.

13. Will mastering phonograms guarantee that my child becomes a proficient reader and speller?

While mastering phonograms is an essential aspect of phonics and can significantly improve reading and spelling skills, it is not the only factor. Providing a supportive environment, addressing other literacy skills, and continually encouraging your child to practice and refine their skills will contribute to their success.

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