Which graphemes represent the ɜː phoneme within 'phonics' instruction?

I have seen masses of resources recently, that show ''one sound, different spellings' and example words are shown - eg er ur ir ear for the ɜː speech sound. I ask my students to look at resources very carefully, and ascertain if what they are being presented with is accurate, or just a way to try to neatly package our written code? Often they warrant further discussion and, ultimately, it is these discussions that lead to more accurate reading and spelling (rather than whether someone is 'right' or not!)

The Speech Sound Monsters (phonetic symbols for kids) help children see a symbol for a 'sound' even if they don't (yet) know the phonetic symbols from the IPA. They may see 'er' in a word, but the Speech Sound Monsters will help them quickly understand that the same grapheme does NOT map with the same phoneme every time. As always, the role of the graphemes depend on the word!

When teaching phonics it is important that children understand that graphemes can represent multiple phonemes, depending on the word. eg /er/ for ɜː (as in fern) and /er/ for ə (as in letter) To know which phonemes and graphemes map in words, and how to pronounce them (the spelling code may also be different to the child's spoken code!) is what happens as they are moving into the phase known as 'orthographic mapping'. I created a free support group for those using SSP Code Mapping, and who want to explore this journey in more depth. Hope to see you there soon! A few more discussions about this topic would be just pɜːfɪkt

Miss Emma MA Special Educational Needs.

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