What is a Digraph (consonant)?
A consonant digraph refers to the distinctive perception of one sound when two consonant letters are placed together in one word, e.g., ch, ng, sh, ph. It’s important to understand that consonant digraphs are different from consonant blends. In a consonant digraph, a new, unique sound is formed by the two letters, while in a consonant blend, the sounds of both letters can be heard.
Sometimes, teaching consonant digraphs to students can be a bit difficult, especially after they’ve learned the rules for sounding out simple consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words. Students may get confused by the fact that in a consonant digraph, each letter doesn’t have a different sound. While various techniques can be used to teach consonant digraphs to students, the most popular ones include the following methods.
Teachers can use pieces of paper to write consonant digraphs and individual letters and have the students sort them based on their directions. Students will often discover that some cards have one letter while others have two. This is an effective activity to help them discover consonant digraphs.
Once learners become able to recognize consonant digraphs along with their sounds in isolation, they can start blending words. Using the above-mentioned cards, teachers and learners can build words and direct attention to the sounds as teachers say them. Here, it’s important to blend both fake and real words to have learners understand the way consonant digraphs work, even if they fail to recognize the word.
Students need to be able to utilize their letter-sound knowledge in order to read the words and their critical thinking ability to process their meaning. Consonant digraphs with nonsense words are an effective way to do this. By using different types of sorts and searches, teachers can help students learn consonant digraphs by reading and recognizing real and nonsense words.
Once students have understood consonant digraphs and can critically think about them when they appear in individual words, teachers can use decodable readers to put these digraphs into action. For early readers, the best decodable readers are those that focus on the phonological skills students are learning. These usually feature beginning and ending digraphs together with common sight words and simple, easily decodable text. These books help students concentrate on the digraph sound and apply their newly acquired phonetic skills.
As kids learn best through play, using consonant digraph games is another effective method to help improve students’ consonant digraph activities.