Before we discuss ways to improve digraph instructions, let’s chat about what a digraph is! A digraph is two letters joined together to make one sound. There are consonant digraphs and vowel digraphs (also known as vowel teams), but we are focusing on consonant digraphs in this blog post.
The most common digraphs taught first are: ch, sh, th, and wh. Other digraphs include: ng, ck, ng, and ph. Digraphs are typically introduced in kindergarten and reviewed in first and second grade.
What are some ways to teach consonant digraphs?
Consonant Digraph Reading Passages
My favorite way to teach and review consonant digraphs is within the text. I think it’s important to apply the knowledge immediately and see our phonics skills within a text. That can be challenging to find within texts, so we use these consonant digraph fluency passages. These digraph reading passages include a short story with the consonant digraph used throughout, word work, and comprehension questions.
Grab the free sample here.
These passages are appropriate for higher leveled kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders.
“Show Me” Whiteboard Game
Give each student a small whiteboard. If you don’t have whiteboards for each student, you can use a dry erase marker on their desk! Show your students a picture and then they have to write the word on their board. They cover it up or leave it face down until you saw “SHOW ME” and they all show you at one time. Then, you write the word on the board for them to check themselves.
Consonant Digraph Pictionary
Write different consonant digraph words on small slips of paper and put them in a bucket. Have a student draw a slip out of the bucket and draw a picture of the word. Students will guess what the word is and the student who guesses will have to spell it under the picture. This is great practice for students learning to read and spell digraph words. You could also have students do this in their table groups of 4-5 students, rather than a whole group setting.
“Pop The Balloon!” Digraph Game
One of my favorite games to play with my small groups has been Pop The Balloon! ever since I can remember! To play, students in the small group get a Pop The Balloon! card. They practice reading the words from bottom to top until they “pop” the balloon. This sounds simple, and it is! Students love practicing their phonics skills with these cards.
Grab The Free Reading Passages
Try out our free sample of the consonant digraph reading passages! Click here to get them!
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