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Modern phonics teaching introduces digraphs and trigraphs at an early stage of the process, so children learn to recognise these. My partner is a specialist phonics teacher and places a dot underneath each digraph, trigraph or individual letter sound so that they can quickly recognise the components.

So boil will have a dot under b, one under o-i and one under the l.

They can then spot that oi is a digraph; in the early stages they do this by saying out loud, an o and a i make 'oy'

They also learn "split digraphs" like "a_e", so they know the different between e.g. "fat" and "fate". I was amazed by how quickly my kids picked this stuff up when they started school (at 5). They were both reading and writing full sentences before the end of the first term. Phonics is a great system.

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