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How to Teach wh to Young Kids

Updated on December 18, 2015
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and have been teaching for more than 30 years. I also write fiction and non-fiction stories.


The digraph that I am going to discuss today is wh. The sound of wh is hw. It is a combination of the sound of h and w. First you round your lips then open it wide and blow the air with the sound wah. Just like the sound of someone who is surprised.

It is important for the kids to know the sound of w and h then explain to them how to blend both sounds to form a distinct sound which is sounded as hw. When the children learn to sound out every letter, reading phonics becomes easier for them.

The sound of wh is hw....

wh is for the initial blend of WHAT.
wh is for the initial blend of WHAT.

Let’s read words that have the initial wh:

  • what
  • when
  • which
  • where
  • whip
  • who
  • whose
  • whisk
  • whose



Reading is a must activity for young learners since this will teach them to read more fluently. The more the children read, the more fluent they become in reading. One more advantage of reading activity is that the children will be trained to understand what they are reading especially if you explain the meaning of what they are reading.

To make reading more alive and interesting for the young readers, always do the choral reading before the individualized reading. The choral reading will help the slow readers and shy kids gain more confidence in them.


Always let the children copy what you have taught them. This activity will not only train the children to copy properly but it will also help them retain what they have learned.

Story Telling

Story time is a fun activity that young children love to do. Whether they are listening to you relate a story or they are reading the story; this is a very helpful activity that will enhance learning for young kids.

Here’s a short story for the kids to read.

Why Did the Whale Whine?

There was once a pretty whale that lived by the wharf. The whale loved to watch as the water whooshed and whisked over the wharf.

One day, a very strong wave was whooshing and whisking like a mad elephant. The whale was frightened and scared.

The strong wave didn’t stop so the whale went for cover behind the wharf.

Suddenly, the strong wind rushed like a big whip and the whale whined. All the other whales rushed to see who made the sound.

The short story contains several words with consonant blends. You can ask the children to identify these words. These are why, pretty, whale, whine, there, wharf, watch, whooshed, whisked, strong, whooshing, whip, whined, whales, rushing, frightened, scared.

When the children can identify the words with consonant blend; this shows that they have understood their lessons.

Do not forget to ask questions to the children. This will further enhance learning. Asking questions can be oral or written. Either way, both are effective methods of teaching young children. Sometimes the children are already too tired to copy and answer very long sentences so you can let them answer orally.

Reciting rhymes and poems

Keep the poem or rhyme short if you want the children to have fun reciting the rhyme or poem. If possible, let the kids read the rhyme or poem and let them have fun with the words they read. This will help them learn more about the initial wh.


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