Consonant Digraphs List


When your child is used to sounding out letter by letter, digraphs are tricky. Use this printable consonant digraphs list to help your child.

Your child is learning to read. They have mastered the basic letter sounds of the alphabet.

All of a sudden, they come to the word “ship” in a story.

They read it /s/ /h/ /i/ /p/.

It’s time to teach your child about consonant digraphs.  You can grab a free printable list of consonant digraphs below, and read some tip for how to teach them to your child.

What is a consonant digraph?

A consonant digraph is when two letters spell one sound.  In English, some of the digraphs represent a unique consonant sound as well.

There are other times when two consonants are next to each other in words. However, they are not digraphs unless they only spell one sound.

Thank you to the talented Rainbow Sprinkle Studios for this clip art!

What is the difference between a blend and a digraph?

A consonant blend is when there are two consonants in a word next to each other. They each retain their unique sounds, but they “blend” or glide together as they are pronounced.

The technical term for this action is co-articulation. This means they are pronounced quickly next to each other.

Digraphs, however, only represent one spoken sound. So while they are spelled with two letters, it is one phoneme, or sound.

List of Consonant Digraphs

The main consonant digraphs are nicknamed “the H Brothers.” They each represent a unique sound in English:

  • ch
  • th
  • sh
  • wh

I’m including two more helpful sound-spellings represented by two letters:

  • ph
  • ck

Some people consider these to be digraphs, but I have not included them:

  • ng
  • qu

While ng follows the digraph rule, qu does not. Qu spells two sounds /k/ /w/. Ng does spell one sound /ng/ like at the end of “ring.”

When teaching phonics step-by-step, I recommend teaching -ng as a welded sound. The nasal sound /ng/ changes the vowels in front.

So ang, ing, ong, and ung are easier to each as chunks in my experience.

Free Printable Digraph Word List PDF

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CH Consonant Digraph Examples

The CH consonant digraph spells the sound you hear in “chip.”

Some more examples of digraph CH are:

  • chin,
  • chop,
  • chat,
  • chug,
  • chill,
  • chick,
  • check,
  • Chuck,
  • rich,
  • such,
  • itch,
  • bench,
  • lunch,
  • inch,
  • chest

TH Digraph List

The TH digraph can be pronounced two ways. The difference is subtle but th spelled an unvoiced sound /th/ and the voiced sound /TH/.

The only difference is your vocal cords are used in the voiced sound. You can feel vibrant when you put your hand on your throat.

The voiced sound /TH/ is most common in high-frequency words like the, that, and they.

Here are some examples of the digraph TH:

  • thin
  • thud
  • thick
  • thank
  • bath
  • math
  • path
  • moth
  • both
  • cloth
  • month
  • thrust
  • thirst
  • thrive
  • three

SH Consonant Digraph Examples

The digraph is one of my favorite sounds to teach children. I make an exaggerated /shhhh/ with my finger to my lips like I am shushing the whole class.

Use this list of words are digraph SH examples:

  • shin
  • shut
  • ship
  • shot
  • shop
  • shed
  • bush
  • cash
  • fish
  • wish
  • push
  • rash
  • trash
  • crash
  • brush
  • flash

WH Digraph List

Wh used to represent the sound /hw/ but that sound is quickly disappearing in English. In most regions, it just sounds like /w/ and weather and whether sound the same.

These examples of wh words can sound your child or students the wh pattern:

  • what
  • where
  • when
  • why
  • whim
  • whiz
  • whip
  • which
  • whisk
  • whack
  • whiff
  • wheat
  • whale
  • wheel
  • white
  • whine

PH Digraph List

The digraph ph is advanced. It spells the sound /f/ so it doesn’t represent a new digraph sound.

Most first graders don’t need to read a bunch of ph words. But explaining this digraph can be helpful as it does appear in some common words:

  • photo
  • phone
  • phase
  • phrase
  • graph
  • sphere
  • phonics
  • pheasant
  • dolphin
  • elephant
  • trophy

CK Consonant Digraph Examples

The digraph -ck is used at the end of a one-syllable word.  It’s only used when there is a short vowel.

Back and bake are good examples. Back has a short vowel while bake has a long vowel.

It’s more a spelling rule than a true digraph. It doesn’t represent a new sound. It spells the sound /k/.

But there are so many words that follow this digraph ck rule so it’s important to teach it.

CK Digraph Examples:

  • duck
  • sick
  • sack
  • pack
  • back
  • buck
  • sock
  • deck
  • pick
  • tick
  • neck
  • lack
  • black
  • stack
  • stick
  • thick

How to Teach Consonant Digraphs

One reason I love using flashcards so much is each sound is on its own card.

Make sure to use digraph words with vowels your child already knows. If you wondering how to teach phonics step-by-step, I have digraphs come after CVC words. So children only know short vowels.

Thus we practice with only short vowel digraph words like:

  • shot
  • mash
  • ship
  • dish
  • thin
  • math
  • chip
  • rich

Consonant Digraph Anchor Chart

Another strategy for teaching digraphs, is to use this free consonant digraph anchor chart. You can display it for your child to reference.

You can also play games to build phonemic awareness skills. Use the consonant digraph word list.

Read a word off the list. Tell your child to point to the digraph on the chart that they hear in the word.

You can also make a chant to use with the chart. Say, “ch, chips, /ch/.” Eventually drop of the keyword chips and practice, “ch, /ch/.”

Want more structured practice? Check out the resources below.

Resources for Consonant Digraphs

There are several phonics resources in the Printable Parents’ Shop to help you with these consonant digraphs.

Word Mapping Activity for Digraphs

If you’re looking for a hands-on learning resource for phonics skills, check out the Phonics Skills Word Mapping Activity.

It has 36 pages+ of phonics word pictures (plus answer keys!). So your child can connect a word to its meaning.

This interactive activity helps your child learn phonics patterns faster. Plus it includes so many skills:

  • CVC Words
  • Digraphs
  • Blends
  • CVCe words
  • Bossy R
  • Vowel Teams
  • Diphthongs

For parents or teachers who don’t have tons of time, but want something hands-on and systematic, the Phonics Skills Word Mapping Activity is for you! You can also find the Word Mapping Activity on Teachers Pay Teachers

Phonics Read and Spell Games

Many teachers and parents overlook the importance of spelling when it comes to phonics. Your child will learn the fastest if they spell the phonics sounds, too.

The Phonics Read and Spell Games make it fun for your child and easy for you. You’ll find sets of fifteen game cards for over 70 phonics skills.

If you follow the order in the games, your child will learn to read and spell a ton of phonics skills – including two-syllable words!

Find the Phonics Read and Spell Games in the Printable Parents Shop. Or grab the Phonics Games for Reading and Spelling on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Digraphs Word Mapping Worksheets

This set of Word Mapping Worksheets makes learning words easy and permanent. You simply say the picture name for your child (answer keys included).

Then your child taps out the sounds, maps the letters that spell each sound, and write the word on the line.

This supports a cognitive process called orthographic mapping. We don’t memorize words – we just recall them lightning-fast!

Grab the Digraph Word Mapping Worksheets in the Printable Parents Shop or find the Word Mapping Digraphs on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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