Digraphs, Trigraphs, Graphemes, Blends, and consonant clusters are all unfamiliar terms for parents who want to teach their kids how to start reading and writing. So, do you think they are important to know? or you can find your way without mastering teaching your kid the letter sounds in the correct order?
Well, the short answer to that will be yes, you might find your way but still, you won’t get more than 70% accurate order for teaching the sounds. Before this article, We have introduced the phases and I’d like to tell you that teaching the digraphs starts from phase 3. So, we won’t be able to introduce our kids to digraphs before that. The most important question that you might be asking now is “What are digraphs?”. Well, I didn’t tell you!
What are digraphs?
Digraphs are sounds that unlike sounds produced by reading one letter, they are produced by two letters coming after each other. Is that clear enough? I guess not because this may lead us to think that any sound made by two letters will be a digraph. That is not true because /br/, /st/, /fn/, and others are not digraphs because they are not producing one sound. Not like when you try to read /th/. So what are the latter? that is the coming question.
What is the difference between digraphs and blends?
Blends are two or more consonants that blend together and make a kind of unique pronunciation but they don’t become one. They are also called Consonant clusters. They are br,cr,str,pr,ng,st,fr,pl, nch and more which the kids are supposed to study in phases 4 and 5.
What are the digraph’s letter sounds?
We can divide digraphs into two groups. Consonant digraphs and Vowel digraphs.
Are mostly one vowel and a consonant or two consonants that make one single sound. They are not so many vowel combinations. We sometimes call them by the families. That is mainly because they sometimes make groups of words like the Wh-family( what – when – why – where – which……etc.)
They consist of two vowels or one consonant and one vowel and they make together just one sound. They are the following:
ai, ay, ee, ea, ie, ei, oo, ou. ow, oe, oo, ue, ey, ay, oy, oi, au, aw.
How to teach them? And which should be taught first Blends or Digraphs?
From my own experience following different patterns of teaching for 5 successive years teaching English as a second language for primary and kg students. I find that some people prefer to teach blends second but the majority do the opposite. Well, teaching blends for me should come first because although they are not as easy as one-letter graphemes, they are easier than the latter because they are repetitive and they are just a common combination of two letters or more making two or more different sounds coming usually together. On the other hand, digraphs are totally new sounds made by the two letters.
you might like to browse these: Alphabet Letters with pictures flashcards
Let’s go back to how to teach part?!
I think that the phases program is a good one to follow it’s mainly created by the jolly phonics teaching methodology. It actually distinguishes each phase by the level of difficulty. That is the most important factor for children. So we aren’t going to teach them in a separate unit. Rather, there will be a mix based on the difficulty provided in each phase. The kids are not involved in the discrimination argument around educational terms. So I guess in the phases article you will find more about the right teaching steps. Here, in kids’ activities, we have developed all the steps and activities needed for all the letter sounds whether they are digraphs, trigraphs, or single graphemes.
You might like to browse our digraphs worksheets…..