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Sound–letter (phoneme–grapheme) relationships

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

Sound–letter correspondences are the relationships between sounds (or phonemes) and letters (or graphemes). This starting point highlights the connections between the sounds in words and the letters that are used to represent those sounds. Included are two other related concepts: the alphabetic principle and letter recognition.

Knowledge of sound–letter relationships means knowing, for example, that the /t/ sound is represented by the letter t. It also means knowing that the sound /s/ can be represented by more than one letter, for example, s as in soft and c as in city. Many adults who are non-readers have trouble with identifying these relationships between sounds and letters.

An awareness of the alphabetic principle means knowing that speech can be turned into print, that print can be turned into speech, and that letters are used to represent sounds in the language.35

Letter recognition is the ability to recognise and name the letters of the alphabet. It includes recognising and recalling the shapes of letters, identifying lower and upper case letters, and recognising letters in isolation and within printed words even when they appear in different fonts and sizes. Instruction that focuses on letter–sound relationships is known as phonics.

35 Harris and Hodges, 1995.



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