In English Grammar, Digraphs are a group of two successive words that are conjoined together to make a new and unique sound altogether. Digraphs are divided into groups, Vowel Digraphs, and Consonant Digraphs. Most students face challenges with sentence building, word formation, and writing the correct spelling when their concept about digraphs is not clear.
Here, Digraph activities are an ideal way to inculcate the habit of reading amongst students. Moreover, they enhance one’s vocabulary by clearing out the spelling system of some sounds. Such activities create an engaging learning experience for students.
Below are the unique creative activities that teachers can use as a challenging test or while practicing this crucial concept.
Challenges kids with learning difficulties face with Digraphs
A digraph is two letters that make one sound, such as “sh” or “th”. While teaching spellings to the students, we usually ask them to relate the sound of the letter to learn the correct spellings of the word. As digraph is made of two letters, it makes it more difficult for them to understand and recall when a particular digraph sound is made.
Many children with learning difficulties find it difficult to learn how letters and sounds correspond to each other which makes it difficult for them to recall the right letters to be able to spell the sounds in words.
To address this, below are a few things that can help dyslexic students with digraphs thoroughly.
- Teach them how a particular sound is made by asking them to observe lip movement
- Associate different sounds with real objects around so that they are able to relate it.
- Provide opportunities for them to practice using the correct sound in words.
- Give them feedback on their progress.
Engaging digraph activities for little learners
As various teaching methodologies work differently for each concept, certain digraph activities are here to create an engaging learning environment for students. Teachers can also get to build their unique activities and develop ideas from the below-mentioned activities.
1. What are the rules?
This fun activity works based on concept attainment which is used while teaching digraphs. It promotes phonemic awareness and visual retention skills.
- In this activity, the teacher shows students examples of the words that they are trying to teach them.
- For example, the teacher may talk about a Beach or a Tooth and ask students to find similar words or identify the digraph.
- Here, students need to find a list of words with the same digraph ch or th.
- Teachers can use a timer and give 1 minute to the class to note the maximum possible words around them.
This is a great way to get students thinking outside the box and coming up with their ideas about a topic before you dive in. You’ll also get to see what prior knowledge they have before diving into something new.
2. Draw and Match
This activity can be primarily used in identifying consonant digraphs. It is a creative activity that involves colorful drawings or pictorial representations of various digraphs.
- In this activity, teachers need to print or draw different pictures that indicate a digraph. These pictures can be either shown to students via presentation or printed cards.
- Teachers now have to write different digraphs and ask students to match them with the correct digraph.
- For example, if the teacher writes th and there is one picture that depicts the earth, students have pointed to the picture of the earth to get one point.
- These prints will enable the students to match the accurate consonant digraph with its best pictorial representation.
- It can be made even more interesting and fun in classrooms when students draw the digraphs (chair, beach, tooth) and paste them on the walls.
This not only promotes creativity but also a fun and enriching learning experience.
3. Un-Jumble the words
Unjumbling words are one of the popular ways of teaching digraphs. It promotes the opportunity of becoming familiar with new words and their meanings.
- In this activity, teachers have to write the different digraph combinations that can be made while unjumbling the words.
- For example, teachers can write (u h c p n) and students should write the correct answer – (Punch)
- Moreover, familiarity with certain words would keep their spelling errors in check.
- The phonics rules can also be taught efficiently while practicing unjumble words.
Thus, this activity promotes preparation, dynamic vocabulary, tips, and strategies to solve complex unjumble words quickly and accurately.
4. Anchor Charts
The anchor charts make the understanding of consonant and vowel digraphs easier to grasp. These charts can be pasted or printed on one sheet. This would enable students to get a clear understanding of different digraphs and their connotations and meanings.
- Teachers can arrange the digraphs in such a way that students can write the word under the picture.
- Each student will get a turn to recognize the object and write its right spelling.
- If they are unable to answer it, the chance will move on to the next student.
Moreover, there are a plethora of options that can be used while teaching through this activity such as real-life objects and picture cards.
5. Word Hunt
This activity enables quick digraph learning through searching for the right words. Teachers can either create a word search on paper or draw it on the whiteboard. It helps students to learn and understand new words.
- Teachers should include different pictures alongside the word search table to help them find the correct words that depict digraphs.
- In this activity, the pictures help students get a vivid understanding of different words.
- The students have to identify maximum digraphs from the search.
- The timer will create a challenge among students.
This activity increases concentration and makes it a fun learning experience. Furthermore, searching for words will allow the enhancement of single sound recognition and word constructions skills of the students.
6. Picture Triangles
The picture triangles are an effective way to increase fluency and give a brief overview of different digraphs. While learning new words and their meanings, it’s important to understand the word usage and their formation.
- The teacher will be drawing triangles on the board.
- In each triangle, there will be a picture to indicate a digraph used in it.
- The answer to the picture will have to be written inside the triangles.
- For example, the teacher can draw a wheel inside the triangle and students have to identify the correct digraph for it.
- Here, there would be 3 options outside the triangles – ch, wh, sh
- Out of the three options present inside the triangle, students will have to choose one option which fits well with the picture.
They can be easily customized and designed per the varying needs and retain the students’ speed. The benefits of this activity are to maintain the focus on the keyword, understand its accurate definition, and get a clear pictorial representation of the word.
7. Investigate and Write
This activity enhances the student’s ability to choose the correct word which is most suitable to the overall context of the statement. It also promotes the fluency and use of logic while dealing with comprehension and complex sentences. Moreover, the use of logic is more implied in this activity rather than vocabulary.
- Teachers will be dictating different sentences to the students.
- They will have to listen to the words containing digraphs and make a note of them.
- For example, if the teacher reads, “I went to the beach with a broken tooth,” the students have to identify the digraph and form as many possible words related to the digraph.
- In this, students can write words from ch and th and complete the game in the minimum possible time
- This game can be played in teams with 3 members per team.
Sentence Investigation is more about figuring out the number of words in a single sentence that have conjoined sounds. Several strategies and tricks can also be taught to students to help them complete the sentence faster and accurately.
8. Speed Drill
This activity is quite helpful in practicing grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation of words. This involves repetition of certain words in the queue to the teacher’s pronunciation of them.
- In this reading exercise, students will have to read some passages from normal texts such as newspapers or books.
- Within a given time, they have to find out as many digraphs as possible.
- These digraphs are to be noted down on paper.
- The student who has discovered the maximum number of digraphs wins.
Speed drill focuses on accuracy and building up the fluency of words along with the quick response time. This will help them to decode digraphs and other hard words with ease and better understanding.
Using different mediums of teaching such as flashcards, picture digraphs, and repetition is helpful in teaching the right sound, spelling, and word formation of digraphs. Lastly, when teachers are modeling the sounds of the words, they should make sure that the students observe their lip movements. The reason is that when teachers make an unvoiced sound, the students are not able to grasp it as quickly. Thus, watching and practicing is the effective and easiest way of teaching digraphs and an effective classroom management technique.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,