Vowel Digraphs vs Diphthongs – Phonics Activities for Kids
Digraphs are two-letter vowels that combine to make a single sound. They come in two main varieties which are vowel and consonant digraphs. Examples of vowel digraphs include: ea as in meat and seal, and ee as in green and teen. Vowel digraphs have two forms. Some are “split digraphs”, which are separated by a consonant, such as ‘k’ in ‘bike.’ Vowel digraphs always represent a long-vowel sound. Learning digraphs allows children to learn how to read and write many long vowels without confusion. Then there are also consonant digraphs as seen when the letters ‘s’ and ‘h’ unite to form a single sound – sh as in sheep and ship. Several consonant digraphs are formed by combining one other consonant with the letter ‘h’ – such as ch as in chick, ph as in phantom and th as in think. Diphthongs! Here is where it gets a bit confusing. Unlike digraphs, diphthongs retain the sounds of the two representing letters. Examples of diphthongs include: /au/ as in mouse and cow , and oi as in boy and soil.
Our worksheets and phonics games can help you teach kids how to recognize and write vowel digraphs and diphthongs. These activities can be played at any time during the year and will help children become independent readers. Common digraphs can be found in a number of words. We leave digraphs until kindergarten and first grade when children have build confidence in decoding words with short vowels and beginning and ending consonants. This systematic approach avoid confusion and stops a child getting frustrated with the learning. But that is not to say you must wait until first grade. Kids progress at different speeds. They key message is to follow systematic approach.
During the learning process, it is important to distinguish between consonants and digraphs. That is no easy task. However, at Kiz Phonics we offer the best activities to ease the challenge.
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