Phonics and Phonemic Charts ahhh!!!

  • by
Phonemic Chart

Phonics and Phonemic Charts ahhh!!!

Phonemic Chart

I was asked yesterday by one of the course participants about pronunciation and how much we need to know before we do a course like the CELTA, or how much knowledge we need to demonstrate at the interview stage.

Having a basic awareness of what phonemics is and the phonemic chart will help. During a course like the CELTA, the tutors will guide you in the use of the sounds and symbols and how to teach pronunciation. That’s what the course is for: for giving you the techniques and tools to be able to do that. You aren’t supposed to be an expert going in. But here's a little heads up - a quick intro to the wonderful word of pronunciation!

Phonics and Charts

The awareness of sounds or phonemes in spoken words and the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes is called phonemic awareness.  A Phonemic Chart is a chart of symbols that represent the sounds of English - the head image is a phonemic chart.

There is a lot of info on YouTube, this is just an example from Cambridge English:



This video below is comprehensive session dealing with the phonics chart and it's sounds. Adrian Underhill covers all the individual sounds here.

Apps: Macmillan Publishing have an app called Sounds. It’s a free app for pronunciation with the phonemic chart.

Phonemic Typewriter: If you need to type out phonemics for a word but can't find the keys this website will help:

Reading: here you find Tony Penston’s book on teaching pronunciation.


What's goin' on in there?

This video is getting technical and you aren't required to know all this going into teaching, but it's good to refer to and consider how you can demonstrate sounds to people. How do they know what's happening in your nose, throat and mouth? Where is the tongue? What is the air doing? Is there a vibration in the neck or is it just air?

Let's try it:

Hold a hand to your throat and say "this" and "teeth" - what is the difference?

Put your hand in front of your mouth and say "happy" and then "people".  With what word did you feel your breath? How?

Phonetics and Phonics is one part of English language teaching. If you wan tot know more and get a really good grounding in the basics before dong furhter face to face teacher training see our Pre-CELTA course:


Phonics with Children

Many of you may end up teaching younger ones. For Young Learners, teaching them not only how to recognise letters but also another symbol for sounds of combined letters is too much information. The movement of Phonics as a different system of teaching children how to read and write in English (used in English speaking and non-English speaking countries) and is becoming very popular (Lots of videos on YouTube).

This system doesn’t use a separate symbol for the sounds, but teaches letter combinations that cover all the sounds in English. Children don’t learn “ABC” but instead learn the sounds and letters and letter chunks with songs and movements. It is showing good results.

This system (bottom up processing) combined with reading meaningful and relevant material (bottom down processing) that kids can relate to, is a great combination for literacy, pronunciation and spelling in English. The system, especially by Jolly Phonics publishing comes with graded readers and high frequency sight words for reading as well as whole lessons and activities.


Here is a teacher who has taught her kids a dance to help them remember the 42 sounds of Phonics:


And here is a group of kids doing it

This has been a very short little intro, but it's just to get you started. Have fun!!

Further Reading


[amazon_link asins='1405064102,0953132331' template='ProductCarousel' store='s0dc2c-21' marketplace='UK' link_id='1c04c304-3bb6-11e7-a013-afdfcc1fde66']

[amazon_link asins='1405064102,0953132331' template='ProductCarousel' store='s0dc2c-21' marketplace='US' link_id='3191453f-3bb6-11e7-bf46-e58023297622']


1 thought on “Phonics and Phonemic Charts ahhh!!!”

Comments are closed.