December 3, 2023

Let’s talk about Difference between phonemes and graphemes.

In this series of videos, I hope to clarify some of the concepts we use in reading. My goal is to show you how they are the same or different and why it is important to know their definitions when teaching your students. Phonemes and graphemes first.

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The following text in this blog post is part of what you will find in my video.
Watch the full video on my YouTube channel.

What is the difference between phonemes and graphemes?

Phonemes: Let’s deal with the word phoneme First. Root phoneme Yippee phone or phone.

And if you are familiar with this root based on other words you may know like phone or symphonyyou might remember that phone means SOUND. In other words, phonemes are the INDIVIDUAL SOUNDS we hear in a word. Phonemes are the basis for phonemic awareness.

For example, cat has three phonemes: /k/ – /a/ – /t/. Sheep it also has three phonemes: /sh/ – /ee/ – /p/.

You can tell how many phonemes are in them frog? If you guessed four, you’re right! /f/ – /r/ – /o/ – /g/.

Difference between phonemes and graphemes

Graphemes: Now that we know that phonemes are the SOUNDS we hear in words, let’s move on to the word grapheme. Root grapheme Yippee chart.

And if you are familiar with this root based on other words like photo or paragraphyou would know that chart means to write or draw. So graphemes are VISUAL. In other words, graphemes are the letters themselves because letters are visual or written representations of the sounds in words.

A grapheme can be like a single letter AND, b, Cor d, or graphemes can be chunks of letters. The key is that the letter pieces still only represent ONE SOUND. For example, with represents /sh/, the ce represents the /s/ at the end of the word like faceand so on.

For example, Dog has three graphemes: d, Oand G.

While float has four graphemes: F, l, etcand t. In a word float, etc it makes one sound, so it is considered one grapheme.

Can you tell how many graphemes it contains? beach? If you guessed three, you’re right! b, ea, Ch.

Bridging between phonemes and graphemes

Now that we know that phonemes are sounds and graphemes are letters, let’s talk about how to help our students build a bridge between the two to become better readers (and better spellers, by the way).

One activity is called phoneme-grapheme mapping. Kathryn Grace wrote a book called Phonetics and orthography through phoneme-grapheme mapping.

And in her book, she explains how this hands-on activity can reinforce the connection between the sounds students know (phonemes) and the graphemes that represent those sounds.

Me personally love how this activity helps reinforce the alphabetic principle as our students begin to understand how to apply their knowledge of phonemes and graphemes to read and spell words.

I encourage you to watch my full YouTube video as I show you how to use mine Mats for seasonal mapping help your children with phoneme-grapheme mapping.

Find seasonal mapping pads in my shop.

This process reinforces orthographic mapping, which we’ll talk more about later in this series…

Enjoy the tutorial!

More posts in this series so far…

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