Phonics isn’t always fun, but I’ve found that a good mix of activities and games keeps kids engaged and excited. That’s true whether it’s learning digraphs or CVC words or alternate spellings. That means as a teacher, you want plenty of options up your sleeve, so I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to help kids learn digraphs.
Learning digraphs at school and at home
Practice at school and at home helps kids really get comfortable with a new topic. Many games and activities for learning digraphs are easy to adapt for individual or small group work at phonics or literacy stations, individual quiet work or homework, or mini-assessments.
Learning digraphs with Bingo
Print out bingo cards that include a variety of words with the digraphs students are learning. Alternately make cards with pictures of each word. Each student needs a card and a pencil (or if you’ve laminated the cards, a dry erase marker).
Read a word from your word list. Give students time to find and mark the word. Keep going until one of the students calls bingo.
For additional practice writing the words, have students create their own bingo cards. Give them a grid. Then read a list of words. Have them write each word in one box (they don’t have to go in order). Use the cards later to play bingo. If students can’t write small and clearly in the bingo boxes, have them write the words on notecards. Then collect the cards, shuffle them and use them to call out the next word.
To adapt for learning digraphs at home, give students a bingo card and a set of pictures that match each word. Have them match the correct words and pictures.
Learning digraphs with pictures
I love bringing words and images together for phonics. I use posters that mix pictures and words with target sounds. I give students match the word and the picture activities. They use pictures and words in matching games and bingo. Or you can help students learning digraphs with a draw the word activity. Give students a sheet with a grid of boxes, each containing a word. Ask students to draw a picture for each word. For a variation on this, if you are working directly with students, read a word. Then have them draw the word and label it.
Learning digraphs with Word Safari
After you introduce a new digraph, lead students on a word safari, seeking words with the target digraph around your room. For example, if you are working on sh, you might see shoulders, a shirt, a picture of a ship, shelves, a dish, a fish, shin. You can use students ideas as well as scatter objects around the room to give students more to look for. For example place a stuffed shark, a photo of a shrub or a shed, or a brush in sight.
Have students write down what they see on their word safari. They can do more word seeking in a traditional word search or in a find the words activity where they find the words with a particular digraph from among a list of words.
For more ideas to help kids learning digraphs, check out The Ultimate Digraph Teaching Kit. You get over 200 pages of resources READY TO PRINT and use for digraphs sh, ch, th, ck, wh, ng, qu, ai, ay, a-e.
The kit includes mini lessons for introducing digraph, posters, word wall words, 10 different activities plus games (like bingo suggested above—ready to print and adapted for different levels).
Get your Ultimate Digraph Teaching Kit today and be prepared to help students learning digraphs.
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