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3 Digraphs Kids Need To Know—th, ng, sh

When you are teaching digraphs, it’s important for kids to recognize that they can come in different parts of the word. For example /th/ is common as the initial and…

Understanding where digraphs can be found in a word—and practicing using it in different positions is important as students learn these sounds.

When you are teaching digraphs, it’s important for kids to recognize that they can come in different parts of the word. For example /th/ is common as the initial and final sound in words:

Initial – thief, think, thorn, thread, throne, thumb

Final – bath, month, moth, mouth, path, tooth

The same is true of /sh/:

Initial – shark, sheep, shell, ship, shoe, shop

Final – brush, cash, dish, fish, wash, wish

But some digraphs, like /ng/, aren’t used as an initial sound. They are sometimes found as medial sounds as in longing, banged or singing, but most often as final sounds:

Final – bang, king, long, ring, sing, sling, sting, string, strong, swing, wing

Understanding where a digraph can be found in a word—and practicing using it in different positions is important as students learn these sounds.

Around the room with digraphs th, ng, sh

When you are introducing, learning, practicing, and reviewing digraphs, you’ll want to keep them in front of your students. One way I like to do that is with a word wall. I add words that focus on particular sounds we are working on and those that students have mastered.

Another way to keep words front and center for students is through posters. These can be posted on a board near your meeting space for easy reference. They also make sense near your writing, reading, or phonics stations if you have them.

Practice for digraphs th, ng, sh

Keeping practice words and specific word sounds in front of students is helpful, but there is nothing better than regular practice. I like to mix and match activities to help students get familiar with sounds in more than one way and also to help differentiate for students specific needs.

A variety of activities helps students master digraphs like /th/, /ng/, and /sh/. I use activities like these to teach a variety of digraphs:

  • Cut and Match
  • Draw the Words
  • Draw and Match
  • Un-Jumble the Words
  • Choose the Correct Spelling
  • Find the Words
  • Word Hunt
  • Word Triangles
  • Finish the Sentence
  • Jumbled Sentences

These give students practice in recognizing and understanding the word, trying different options, blending sounds, spelling the word correctly, and using the word as part of a sentence. Students gain confidence with sounds as they practice and use them in different ways.

I’ve created digraph packs including these activities, word wall words, posters, and two games for a number of digraphs. You can get a complete description of them:

Questions about these packs or stuck on one of these digraphs? Email me!

Perhaps you just need activities, games, and classroom resources for a particular digraph, like /th/, /ng/, and /sh/, and one of the individual digraph packs would be perfect, but to get activities and resources for all three of these digraphs along with other key digraphs too, get the Ultimate Digraph Teaching Kit here. It brings together more than 200 pages of resources ready to print and use, covering 10 common digraphs!

Understanding where digraphs can be found in a word—and practicing using it in different positions is important as students learn these sounds.

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