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What are Consonant Sounds?

What are Consonant sounds?  Confused...no need to be....let's put it all in context for you:

  • There are 44 sounds (19 + 25) that make up the sounds of our English language.  
  • 19 of the sounds we refer to as vowel sounds (because they use the vowels a, e, i, o, u or make the sounds of our vowels)

  • 25 of the sounds we refer to as consonant sounds (see below - notice that there are no vowels)

  • Each individual sound is sometimes referred to as a grapheme or phoneme.  

  • We use the letters of the alphabet to write sounds down.  

  • There are over 70 ways to spell these sounds, which we refer to as phonograms


Remember consonants are all the letters that are NOT vowels! Easy eh! (Vowels for those of you who are really rusty are: a,e,i,o,u)

/b/ as in bib

/d/  as in pond /f/  as in laugh /g/ as in pig
/h/  as in hop /j/ as in jam /k/ as in king /l/ as in hall
/m/ as in thumb /n/ as in pen /p/  as in pop /r/  as in car
/s/ as in sent /t/  as in tent /v/ as in hive /w/ as in window  
/y/ as in yell /z/ as in zip /ch/ as in chip /sh/ as in sheep
/zh/ as in Asia /th/ as in the /th/ as in thing /hw/ wheat

/ng/ as in ring


A common mistake is to pronounce a "huh" after letters.  For example for the letter /s/ we say /ssssssssss/  and not /suh/.  Look at the examples given above and try to isolate the actual sounds to give you a more accurate representation.

What about the letters /c/, /q/, & /x/ ?

You may have noticed that the letters

/c/, /q/, /x/

do not have a phoneme listed; your child will still learn these sounds, but they are not listed as a pure phoneme because the sounds that they represent can be represented by other letters or spellings.

For example:

  • the letter c can be represented by the phonemes /k/ or /s/ as in cent

  • the letter x as in fox can be represented by two phonemes /ks/

  • the letter q can be represented by two phonemes /kw/

Leave consonant sounds and listen to the vowel sounds that make up the 44 sounds of the English Language

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