Do you have students challenged by learning consonant digraphs and their corresponding sounds? It’s no wonder they have difficulty wrapping their little minds around the concept that two letters can represent one totally unrelated sound.
What a complicated business! First, they need to recognize two letters like ch are a digraph. Then, they have to remember that ch stands for the sound /ch/. Finally, they must apply that knowledge to decoding words.
Here’s a continuum of ideas and resources, including freebies and a new product, to help you teach consonant digraphs to your kindergarteners, first, and second-graders. Use them to provide individualized instruction to meet your students’ needs.
Introduce the Letters and Sounds the Multi-Sensory Way
Try the activities in this blog post, How to Effectively Introduce Letters and Sounds the Multi-Sensory Way, to introduce the consonant digraphs and their corresponding sounds.
These activities focus on forming the letters while naming them, naming the keyword, and saying the sound (sh-shark-/sh/). You will need a set of letter-sound picture cards for these introductory activities. Additionally, you can use these cards for daily practice.
Find a free set of the letter sound picture cards for consonant digraphs in my TpT store.
Each card has a consonant digraph (sh, ch, th, wh, and –ck) or a rime (-ang, -ing, -ong, -ung, -ank, -ink, -onk, and –unk) with a key picture representing the sound(s) the letters stand for.
Although not considered a consonant digraph, I have included rimes with –nk in this resource. There are two key pictures on separate cards for th (voiced and unvoiced sounds).
This resource includes two sets of cards, one with color pictures and one with black/ white. They are sized for teaching small groups or individuals.
Provide Built-in Support for Decoding Words With Consonant Digraphs
I created a new set of Blend to Read cards for 130 short vowel words with consonant digraphs. With these cards, your students have decoding support right at their fingertips.
Who Might Benefit From This Resource?
These cards are designed to support beginning or struggling readers as they learn to decode short vowel words with initial and/ or final consonant digraphs. Use them in kindergarten, first, or second grade.
Your students should be successful in decoding two and three-letter short vowel words without consonant blends or digraphs.
In addition, be sure you have already introduced them to consonant digraphs.
This resource is ideal for those students who experience difficulty recognizing consonant digraphs and/ or automatically associating the letters with their corresponding sound.
How Do I Prepare Blend to read Short Vowel Words With Consonant Digraphs?
This resource is so easy to prepare! Choose color or black/ white keyword pictures.
Print selected pages. Use card stock and laminate for durability.
Cut each page into fourths. Organize and store the cards.
How Do I Use the Blend to Read Word Cards?
Each word card has a four or five letter short vowel word with initial and/ or final consonant digraphs. There is a keyword picture for easy reference above each letter, digraph, or rime to assist your students with letter-sound correspondence.
I used a consistent set of keyword pictures. For example, a is always an apple and sh is always a shark. These are the same keyword pictures you will find in my letter-sound picture cards.
There is a dot below each letter, digraph, or rime. Students touch each dot and say the sound that the letter or letters represent(s), using the keyword picture only as needed. Then, they blend the sounds together to read the word as they sweep their finger along the arrow.
I have included both the voiced and unvoiced sounds for the digraph th.
Words with –ng are practiced as a rime (the vowel and any consonant sounds that come after it; glued, welded, chunk, word family): -ang, -ing, -ong, and -ung. Although not considered a consonant digraph, I have included words with –nk in this resource, also as a rime; -ank, -ink, -onk, and -unk.
This resource includes 10 initial sh, 14 final sh, 8 initial ch, 3 final ch, 9 initial th, 6 final th, 7 initial wh, 23 final ck, 20 ng, 18 nk, and 12 initial and final consonant digraph word cards in color and black/ white.
I have included both common and less common words.
Try these cards as part of your direct phonics instruction, in your small guided, intervention, and resource groups.
Use a Letter-Sound Mat
Try a letter-sound mat to keep the focus on letter-sound relationships and blending to read. Use this activity with an individual or a small group of students.
Check it out in this post, How to Get Started With Teaching CVC Words. And yes, while this post could use a spiffy update, the information in it is still beneficial!
While the focus of the post is CVC words, you can extend the activity to reading words with consonant digraphs. The free letter cards for the activity include consonant digraph and -ng/-nk cards joined with vowels to keep your learners progressing.
You can use this activity with any list of phonetic words; self-created, from your reading basal, or from an Orton-Gillingham based manual.
Develop Fluency With Roll & Read Consonant Digraphs
Engage your students with this free game-like activity for practicing their decoding skills! It is a fun and effective way to increase their speed and fluency.
Use this activity in your small groups, in a literacy center, with an assistant or volunteer, or send it home. I found this was a great activity to leave for a sub.
Just print, add dice, and go!
Select the page(s) you’d like your students to practice. Print one copy for each participating student.
Students can consume the paper or you can place them in a dry erase pocket to reuse.
Roll the die. Find the corresponding number on your paper. Read the row of words. Color one dog face.
Roll and read again, and again, and again! Color a dog face each time you read a row of words.
Continue playing until you have read each row at least one time, or one row three times, or your time is up, etc. You decide the rules.
Click the highlighted words to download your free copy of Roll & Read Consonant Digraphs.
What ways have you discovered to help your students read words with consonant digraphs?
Photo in title image by Oksana Shufrych.