Figuring out how to teach digraphs to kids can be tricky! Yet, understanding consonant digraphs is crucial for early reading development. This post will explore effective tools and strategies to make the teaching process engaging and effective. Stick around for valuable insights!
Classroom Strategies To Help Teach Consonant Digraphs
Today, we’re diving into the essential topic of consonant digraphs—a fundamental aspect of early reading. Why the focus? Because teaching consonant digraphs significantly impacts a child’s reading proficiency.
In this post, we’ll explore why mastering digraphs matters and what they entail and provide practical strategies and resources to simplify your teaching process. Every teacher has several students who need an extra push or additional practice to grasp this concept.
These strategies will help grasp this concept more effectively. Let’s equip our students with the tools they need to decode words and embrace the world of reading!
Table of Contents
- Classroom Strategies To Help Teach Consonant Digraphs
- What is a Digraph?
- When to Teach Digraphs
- How to Teach Consonant Digraphs
- Activities to Help Teach Consonant Digraphs
- Sorting Cards by Digraph
- Consonant Digraph Readers & Mini-Books
- Consonant Digraph Worksheets
- Hands-on Blend Activities & Centers
- More Phonics Ideas for Kids
Common Digraph Challenges
Picture this: Many of your students can read CVC words but struggle when digraphs are added. They can’t seem to join the two sounds, whether ending digraphs or consonant digraphs.
It’s tricky, but there’s a solution!
Consonant digraph activities in literacy centers and small groups will help boost their confidence as they work. Just like anything else, it takes practice, so provide them with plenty of opportunities to learn.
What is a Digraph?
A digraph is a combination of two letters to form one sound. Some examples include ph, ch, and wh. These sounds are often found at the end of words but can also be at the beginning. You will hear them referred to as consonant digraphs or ending digraphs.
When to Teach Digraphs
If you aren’t sure if students are ready to learn digraphs, consider what they know about phonics skills. Kids typically learn CVC words (and word families) first, followed by CVCe and long vowel words. Next, they dive into digraphs and blends.
CVC and CVCe words can take an entire year for more students, so digraphs are usually focused on in first grade or the end of kindergarten. The cool thing about literacy topics is that you can cater them to the child’s needs. Determine if any students are ready for the challenge and differentiate your lessons by incorporating them into your instruction.
How to Teach Consonant Digraphs
Before starting a digraph lesson, ensure students know how to segment words and sounds. This is done through practice with CVC words. Break apart words into their sounds and then piece them back together. For example, taking R-U-G and breaking the word RUG into chunks.
Sound boxes are a great tool to use when working on consonant digraphs. These can be created by drawing a rectangle split into boxes representing the words being worked on. Once your students have mastered segmenting CVC words and consonant blends, you can work on digraphs.
Teachers often use sound boxes as a visual aid for segmenting words. You can easily create one by drawing a rectangle split into boxes needed for your working words. Once your kids have mastered segmenting with CVC words, you can move to words with blends.
- Start by providing students with a sound box or manipulatives to move as they make each sound. Then, give them the word. Let’s say we are working on the word FISH.
- Have students write each sound they hear into their sound boxes or move their objects as they say each sound. They should separate F-I-SH.
- Next, have them read the word slowly, a little faster, and then super fast. This might look like this: F-I-SH, F-ISH, FISH!
- Repeat over and over with new words. Stay in the same word family for fluency before moving on to something new.
Activities to Help Teach Consonant Digraphs
An easy way to teach consonant digraphs is to use a variety of activities to scaffold student learning. Use our Consonant Digraphs resource for ch, th, sh, ck, ng, dge, tch. This resource has multiple activities (centers and worksheets), posters, and assessment tools kids will love.
Consonant Digraph Posters
Utilize the posters to showcase the current digraph in focus and outline key concepts for students. Having these visual aids during independent work and small group sessions can be a valuable reference for kids.
For longevity, consider laminating the posters, and feel free to choose from the variety available in the bundle. Enhance your small group area by incorporating these visuals.
Sorting Cards by Digraph
Engage students in partner activities using sorting cards to explore various digraphs. Encourage collaboration as they categorize picture cards by sorting them into the corresponding digraph categories or matching images with the associated digraph words.
These versatile cards can also spice up reading-around-the-room activities and contribute to a dynamic word wall display!
Consonant Digraph Readers & Mini-Books
Students can use mini-books to read, trace, and draw as they learn about the corresponding consonant digraph. Once they are finished, they can take the book home to read and share with their families for extra practice.
There are two types of mini-books included for each blend.
- Read, Draw, & Color Book
- Read, Trace, & Draw Mini-Books
Consonant Digraph Worksheets
Worksheets are great for independent centers, seat work, morning work, or small groups. Use the worksheets during any literacy block or as extra practice.
There are a variety of fun worksheets included for each digraph.
- Fluency sentences with cut and paste option
- Word work
- Fill in sentences with missing words
- Fill in the digraphs
- List making
- Word searches
- Color by digraph
- Matching digraphs
- Sort the digraphs
- Spin & color
Hands-on Blend Activities & Centers
Learning and practicing consonant digraphs through hands-on activities and centers is essential. When students can work with peers to complete an activity, it fosters their teamwork and social skills while building an understanding of the literacy concept.
There are many fun and engaging digraph activities that you can use as centers.
- playdough mats
- tie & hat craft
- 2 and 3-piece puzzles
- spell the picture cards
Use a fun assessment tool to determine whether students have grasped a specific consonant digraph. Have students read and write words for you. You can also ask them to spell the words during a formal assessment or writing activity.
In the Consonant Digraph resource, you will find sticker books and spelling books that make it easy for students to self-check their knowledge. Teachers can quickly note what each child knows, and parents can see progress when the papers are sent home!
Ending Digraphs Activities for K-2
Try the Ending Digraphs Bundle by Proud to be Primary. It includes worksheets, centers, and posters to help teach digraphs. It covers seven different ending digraphs and features over 400 pages of resources for the literacy block.
Free Consonant Blends Activity
Try a sample of the same phonics activities in this free CL Blends resource. The blends and digraphs resources include the same activities with different word chunks. Use this free sample of activities to build an understanding of this language pattern.
Click the image below to grab a copy.
More Phonics Ideas for Kids
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