Digraphs are two letters that make one sound

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Digraph is yet another new term that I doubt any of us have ever heard of! I certainly hadn’t come across it before phonics lessons. To put it simply, it’s just two letters that together make one sound. These are harder for children to spot whilst reading and your child will only be taught these after they have learnt Phase 2. This typically happens during your child’s reception year at school and could be recapped during year 1.

Rain is a fine example of a word that contains both digraphs and single sounds. Reading the word out loud you can (maybe you can, or maybe you can’t but hopefully after reading this it will be a can) hear 3 sounds: R , ai  and n. So the r and n are the single sounds, the ai is a digraph; it’s two letters that are making that ai sound. So your child needs to spot that those two letters that are sitting side by side are making that sound rather than the single sounds that a and i make. You may notice the dots and line underneath the word; the dot represents a single sound and the line represents a digraph. We use these ‘sound buttons’ a lot at school to help children distinguish between single sounds and digraphs.

Here is a list of all the digraphs that you child will be taught during their first few years at school.
Still confused?

Phonics is particularly hard to get our heads round! We recommend that you listen to a few Youtube videos that identify each digraph and familiarise yourself with these. These are a few of our favourites:




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