Remembering the phonemes

Learning and remembering the phonemic symbols can be quite a challenge. Here are some ideas and activities which can help even lower levels with this.

Paul Kaye


This activity focuses on some of the easier symbols and works towards the more difficult vowel sounds. It then helps students to record and remember them.

  • Cut up the words and symbols in worksheet A
  • Ask learners to match the individual sounds in the first column to the words in the second column.
  • Next ask them to match the words to the complete phonemic script of each word in the third column.
  • Give learners worksheet B, their record sheets, and explain that this is a record of the symbols they learn in class.
  • Discuss the first example given, and emphasise how important it is to underline the correct letters in the words.
    Word Vowel
  • Ask them to find at least three more from the exercise.

This is a fun, non-threatening way to finish the class. It relies on you to produce the symbols and the learners to produce the sounds. It helps learners understand that phonetic script is made up of sounds, not letters. It also gives them instant transcription of sounds into symbols.

  • Think of a word and the phonetic script for it, for example fish
  • Like normal Hangman, write up on the board a series of spaces, but each one representing a sound, i.e. for fish: ____ ____ ____
  • Ask learners to give you sounds that they think may be in the word. As they say them, write up the corresponding symbol on the board so they can see it.
  • When they give you a sound that is already on the board, point to the corresponding symbol as you correct them.
  • Learners continue until they guess the word 
Language Level

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