Onset and Rime

Teaching Phonics through Onset and Rime

Onset and rime is a method that can be used to teach children to decode phonically regular words.  Whilst most children in school learn to decode using the synthetic phonic approach (which is now used widely in UK schools) some children find this difficult.

Onset and rime is an approach widely used by specialist Specific Learning Difficulties teachers as it lessens the load on a child's working memory and is the stage that comes before phoneme blending in a child's phonological development.  Children with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, have a weakness in their underlying phonological abilities and often have memory difficulties.

With CVC words the onset is the first part of the word such as 'c' for the word cat and the rime is at.  The rime contains the vowel and the part after it.  This approach divides the word up into larger chunks so the child has to hold less information in their working memory.  This means that they are more likely to blend the word successfully.

Specialist teachers teach onset and rime in word families so that a child can use analogy to help them remember which words have the same rime.  For example, the grapheme 'ai' could be taught as the rime 'ain' - pain, paint, main, gain, rain, train.  Multi-sensory methods are used to make the new learning 'stick'.

Click on onset and rime for CVC words in sets, a guide to teaching a word family and an example of a word map.

Word map packs will be available soon for sale from the base for our outreach schools.

Alternatively try 'Word Maps' by Margaret Bevan - Partners in Education as a resource.



Onset and Rime Cards

Guide to Teaching a Word Family

Word Map