More About Phonemes

The 44 English Phonemes (Sounds)

A phoneme is a speech sound. It is the smallest unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another.

A grapheme is the written expression of the phoneme. A grapheme can be a single letter or a cluster of letters. There are approximately 44 English phonemes, and they are expressed in writing by the 26 letters of the alphabet, individually and in combination.

Reading Friend introduces the most common phonemes (speech sounds) along with the letters or groups of letters that represent these sounds (graphemes). There also are example words that illustrate how graphemes are combined to make written words.

Click on any phoneme to hear example words broken down by phonemes as the corresponding graphemes are highlighted.