Glossary of ESL terms


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phoneme: a phoneme is the most basic unit of sound.

grapheme: a grapheme is the written representation of a phoneme. A grapheme can consist of one, two, and rarely three or four letters. The phoneme /k/ can be represented by the graphemes C, K, or CK as in cat, kite, and duck.





Dragon Words





Dragon words are flashcard collections of words representing different graphemes. The graphemes are set aside from the rest of the word by dark blue coloring. Though not intended to be a stand alone phonics program, these word cards can be used to supplement any synthetic phonics program.


The word collections are ordered according to the approximate level of difficulty or the order in which they could be introduced. Of course, this schedule is a rough estimate so teachers can be flexible and teachers can pick and choose lists to supplement as needed and change the order as desired. Before embarking on these lists, children should have a basic knowledge of some or most of the initial and final consonant sounds.


For ease of use, I paste the cards onto poster board before I cut them out and keep them in small ziploc bags to keep them organized.


Short Vowels



 Short A   Short E   Short I   Short O   Short U

 Easy Consonant Digraphs



CH   SH   THin   CK   NG   LL

THis      SS

Long Vowels

(Vowel Consonant E)


A_E   I_E   O_E   U_E   crY   puppY

Easy Vowel Digraphs



EE   EA   AI   OA  OO   AY   OY

R-Controlled Vowels



AR   ER   IR   UR   OR

Hard Vowel Digraphs



 cOW    OU   EW   AW   OI


Vowel Trigraphs





Uncommon Consonant Digraphs (Silent Letters)


KN   WR   





Other Phonics Worksheet Sections:

initial sounds | final sounds | select patterns | vowel combinations

Other Spelling Worksheets:

first words | first verbs | numbers 


Here is a selection of worksheets available for young learners young ESL learners:

 Young Learners | ABC Cards | ABC Mazes | Connect-the-Dots | First Words | Alpha Trains

Little Letters | Big Letters | Opposites | Bingo | Flashcards | Holiday Worksheets



All materials  (c) 2005 Lanternfish