Teaching Consonant Blends and Diagraphs
What Are Consonant Blends and Diagraphs?
Certain letter combinations represent specific sounds, such as "fl, st, sw, gr, and bl." When these letter combinations are composed of consonant letters, they are called "consonant blends." These blends can occur anywhere in the word, but we will introduce them at the beginning of the word. We have a special name for letter blends where one letter is silent, but it changes the sound of the other letter, these are "diagraphs." Examples of diagraphs are "ch, th, and sh."
Initially, a child learns basic CVC words, or words comprised of the basic consonant-vowel-consonant pattern, like cat and dog. Once these are mastered, it is time to move on to beginning these words with consonant blends and diagraphs, like chat and frog.
So what about teaching consonant blends and diagraphs...
How is it done?
Up until this point, your child has probably been working on CVC words, or word families. These word families, have a common ending and number of possible beginning consonant letters. For example, the "AT" word family is comprised of words like "cat, hat, bat, rat, sat, mat, pat, and vat." Follow this link for more information on Teaching Word Families and CVC words.
Because your child is comfortable with the "AT" family, we can now introduce blends to the beginning of this family to easily help a child learn to blend letters. Common blend combinations for the "AT" family are:
The "UG" Word Family - Adding Consonant Blends and Diagraphs to the Beginning of this Word Family
We use flip books to practice word families. Begin by reading only the ending of the word, such as "UG." These flip books begin by adding single letters to the beginning of the word, for example, "bug." Then the book progresses to using blends such as, "plug."
Handy Games and Resources for Teaching Word Families
These flip books from Lakeshore Learning are used to teach children a variety of words with the same ending spelling, by flipping the page to change the beginning of the word only. In the photo, it shows more difficult words, but the kit begins with the basic "at," "ag," etc. families explained here and words it's way to more difficult word endings. Each flip book begins with single consonant letter beginnings to each word and moves to adding consonant blends at the beginning of the word later in the book.
More Word Families that Begin with Diagraphs and Consonant Blends
The "AG" Family
The "AN" Word Family
"Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher."
The "AM" Word Family
The "AP" Word Family
The "OD" Word Family
The "OP" Word Family
The "OG" Word Family
The "OT" Word Family
Some of these words may be new to children. Take a moment to discuss the meaning as you introduce a new word.
The "OB" Word Family
The "IT" Word Family
The "IN" Word Family
The "IM" Word Family
The "ID" Word Family
The "UN" Word Family
Each time a new letter blend is introduced, take a moment to pronounce it. Underline it to help the child visualize it.
The "UT" Word Family
The "UM" Word Family
The "EN" Word Family
The "ED" Word Family
Explode the Code Book 2 - for teaching consonant blends and diagraphs
The "Explode the Code" series is my favorite phonics program for homeschooling. Books 2 and 3 help students practice consonant blends at the beginning and end of words.
Explode the Code Book 3
"Get Set for the Code" and "Explode the Code"
This book series actually begins with "Get Set for the Code" A, B and C. These books teach basic letter sounds. When a child completes this series, they move on to the "Explode the Code Series." Book 1 and 1 1/2 are for exploring CVC words. Book 2 is the first book that includes letter blends, and diagraphs. Book 2 1/2 is for further exploring these words and are for kids that want a little extra practice beyond book 2.
More Pictures of Word Family PracticeClick thumbnail to view full-size
For more great homeschooling ideas, check out these sites:
Facebook fan pages devoted to homeschooling:
- The Homeschool Club on Facebook
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