When your students are learning to read, one of the biggest hurdles can be understanding and using consonant blends and digraphs. Learning the alphabet was fun, and sounding out those first CVC words was a snap, but many of your young readers will stumble when it comes to consonant pairs. This may because they haven’t quite mastered the sound of each letter yet, or it could indicate difficulty hearing the individual sounds that make up a consonant blend. It’s pretty normal for your kids to take longer to get blends and digraphs under their belt, which is why we’re excited to offer some great resources to make streamline their practice.
Printable Consonant Blends and Digraph Chart
Let’s pause for a moment to talk about the difference between consonant blends and digraphs. (It’s okay if you forget — we won’t tell on you!) Consonant blends are when two consonants work together to make a new sound, but each letter can still be heard making its original sound in the word. Words that feature consonant blends include black, cream and drought. Think of these as fast-talkers — each letter still gets its say, but they’re in a hurry to do it!
Digraphs, on the other hand, are a combination of consonants that work together to create an entirely new sound. Examples of these are chocolate, think and telephone. These are, not surprisingly, harder for kids to get the knack of, since you’re basically asking them to forget what they just learned about the sounds the letters make and apply new information to them instead.
For an easy way to remember which is which, try this fun mnemonic device: Blends have a blend; digraphs have a digraph.
Our printable chart features both consonant blends and digraphs, each one with the consonant pair, a sample word and a picture. If you want to separate your study of blends and digraphs, you can easily fold the page lengthwise to hide the section you’re not currently using. A paper cutter will make short work of the same trick. Our blends and digraphs are color coded, so it’s easy to tell them apart!
Ways to Use Your Consonant Blend and Digraph Chart
You’ll probably want to print out a bunch of these charts because they’re super-useful! Use a color printer for best results.
- Hang the full chart up in the front of your classroom or wherever your students curl up to do writing practice.
- Laminate several and keep one taped to the center of each group table for easy reference.
- Make one for each student to keep in his or her writing folder for help sounding out words while reading or spelling.
- Print two charts and cut out individual squares to make cards for playing phonetic Memory or Go Fish.
- When you say a word out loud, have students point to the box with the consonant blend or digraph they hear.
- Send a copy home to parents for reference.
Consonant Blend and Digraph Worksheets
It takes a lot of practice to master reading and spelling once blends and digraphs are in the mix, so you’ll also love our set of 26 consonant blend worksheets for students to use. These printable pages feature each consonant blend and digraph from the chart and provide four separate spots for students to write their own examples of the consonants in action. The spaces are sized appropriately for young learners still working on their fine motor skills, and we’ve left the expected answers purposely open-ended so you can use them in different ways.
Ideas for Using Consonant Blend and Digraph Worksheets
- Have students brainstorm words with the given blend or digraph when you first introduce it. This works equally well for individuals or small groups.
- Compile your class’s examples on the board or on chart paper to see how many you can think of when you work together.
- Allow students to draw their examples in addition to writing the word.
- Send the worksheet home for quick, reinforcing practice (and to spark conversations about the day’s learning with parents).
- For more advanced readers, have students look up dictionary examples of unknown or more obscure words that use consonant blends and digraphs.
- Compile completed worksheets into a consonant blend and digraph book as a culminating project for your phonics unit.
- Add a splash or grammar to the work by having students complete their worksheet with only nouns, adjectives or verbs. You can explain these parts of speech in simpler terms, of course!
With a collection of printable worksheets, you have loads of flexible practice at your fingertips to make learning the consonant blends and digraphs more fun. Best of all, you’ll save your valuable prep time for coming up with creative projects when you don’t have to worry about making all your own materials from scratch — it’s a win-win!