Thursday, 3 March 2016

Teaching Consonant Digraphs to Infants

A lot of time is spent teaching various blends and digraphs to infants once they have solidified their knowledge of basic sounds and blending. I like to begin teaching digraphs with the consonant digraphs: 'sh', 'ch', 'th' and 'wh'. I find they pick these up quicker than others, as they can name words that start with these sounds quite easily. 

Below, you can find a list of activities and resources that I have tried out while teaching these digraphs in the past.  Keep in mind that I did not use every activity for every sound and some were only used when all 4 sounds were covered. The activities can be combined to form a lesson or alternatively some could be used in literacy centers!

1. Jolly Phonics:
As in most schools, I used the Jolly Phonics program to teach the sounds sh, ch and th initially. You can find the video here. I played the video on many occasions for the children while they ate their lunch. I found playing these songs and other vocabulary building songs and stories (e.g. The British Council LearnEnglishKids website) to them, calmed them down before they went outside and it also meant they were learning at a time which can sometimes be wasted learning time. They did not seem to mind the repetition!

2. Other songs:
I also used this video to show them the various words that can be made using the sounds.

3. Trace the snake:
I put the following pictures up on the IWB. We traced the snake in the air (I traced it on the board) and shouted out the sound if we landed on the particular digraph we were learning (and only that one!). I varied the speeds so that it was more exciting. These are edited resources of something I found online.

4. PowerPoint:
You can download the PowerPoints I made and used by clicking on each digraph: th sh wh ch.

5. Worksheets:
Using worksheets/activity sheets, children can either either circle/cut out, match and stick on/colour or sort the wh, sh, th, ch words. These can easily be found online or created yourself.

6. Pictures of words:
I had the children draw pictures of any word they knew containing the sound on a sheet of paper. Their pictures were put up on the wall around the sound being covered that fortnight.

7. Sorting bowls (group activity):
I had 4 party bowls in the middle of the table, each labelled with a sound (sh, th, ch, wh or any other sounds you want to include). They had to sort their selection of picture cards into the bowls in the center of the table according to the sound each began with.

8. Board game:
In groups they played a board game which I created where if they landed on a consonant digraph square they had to name a word that started (or ended) with the sound. If they were correct they then could roll again and take another go.

9. Bingo: 
You can download several bingo cards I made up to test the children's recognition of the sounds here. You can also play the game with words in the boxes as opposed to just the sounds.

10. Storytime:
I read the children a story containing words starting with the sound in question and they had to put their hands on their heads when they heard a word containing the sound. Prim-ed do a series of poems featuring these sounds such as Theodore Thatcher and Walter the Whale. Oxford Reading Tree and similar companies also sell books which feature one particular digraph sound throughout the story. This is also a great opportunity to use any Big Book too!

I hope some of these ideas get your creative juices flowing! Let me know if you have any other ideas for the teaching of these sounds!

P.S. If you found these activities useful, you may be interested in my post sharing some ideas for Sight Word Games in the classroom. Find it linked here. 

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