Consonant Digraphs

Consonant Digraphs
Consonant digraphs are two consonants blended together to form a single sound. Common digraphs are: th, wh, ch, ph, gh, ng, and sh. Students begin learning the consonant digraphs in the primary grades. These blends are in many of the most commonly used words young children need for beginning reading and writing, so it is important that they have the ability to recognize, blend, read, and write digraphs.

Consonant digraphs combined with a third consonant are called digraph blends. Examples are shr(edded) and (wi)tch.

Digraph sorting activities using words and pictures are very effective. If your students are young, choose only two consonant digraphs, and ask your students to sort word cards with into two piles as you read the digraph words on them. Make sure your students are listening and watching how your mouth forms the sounds. Many children have a difficult time hearing the differences between digraphs and other consonant sounds, unless they are also watching your mouth form the sound.

Once students are able to hear the sounds and sort them, they can look for visual differences. Give students a pile of word cards, and ask them to sort by consonant digraph. At this point, students don’t need to be able to read the entire word, but will look for the digraph within the word.

If your students are able to read words with consonant digraphs in them, give them flash cards to practice quick recall.

Here is a list of consonant digraphs with some examples of how they are used in words:

the, theft, smooth, breath, thick, that, truth, their, path, with, they, there, width, thank, thus, father, brother, although, clothing, then, thumb, thin, tooth, though

wheat, whale, why, whip, somewhere, anywhere, overwhelm, wheeze, what, white, where, while, whether, when, meanwhile, which, buckwheat, wharf, wheel, whistle

choice, chorus, teach, chin, cheek, beach, chance, chase, chalk, chew, chips, purchase, attached, cheer, exchange, ditch, coach, chop, children, each, chain, which, teach

phone, alphabet, photo, phonics, telephone, phonetic, phase, phoenix, physical, triumph, phantom, phrase, telephoto, orphanage, phrase

laugh, rough, cough, tough, trough, enough,

sing, ring, strong, fang, thing, slingshot, sling, wrong, lung, lengthen, kingdom, bring, going, string, young, gangplank, young, wrong, hanger, spring, longing

share, shout, friendship, shoe, shadow, establish, fresh, shower, flash, worship, shell, rush, punish, fisherman, shape, shop, shine, trash, shade, wish, push, wash, shut

Edupress Consonant Digraphs Skill Cards are for introducing consonant digraphs using visuals. Available on

If you are looking for a picture book to help introduce the concept of consonant digraphs, The Thing on the Wing Can Sing: A Short Vowel Sounds Book with Consonant Digraphs by Brian Cleary is available at

You Should Also Read:
Vowel Digraphs
Dipthongs in Reading
Prefixes and Suffixes for Reading

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