The Skunk Drank a Pink Drink

ending blend -nk

Some final or ending consonant blends are easier to learn as a chunk, and are sometimes called glued or welded. The skunk drank a pink drink.

Ending Blend NK

Practice these words with:

WATCH -ink turn and learn from Super Simple ABCs and NK word families from 4 minute phonics. PLAY Make a word with -ink from starfall. Practice with -ank, -ink, -onk & -unk word paths from 3 dinosaurs.

The consonant digraph (two letters make one sound) -ng can also be considered glued or welded.

Clifford, the Big Red Dog

The new movie “Clifford, the Big Red Dog” is coming November 10th. It is a perfect time to read some of the many books by Norman Bridwell, and play several great online games provided by Scholastic!

These are a wonderful way to practice phonics skills! All the games, plus some interactive stories can be found at

Check out more fun free online phonics games.

c before e will often soft /s/ be

Two special word families with a Silent e demonstrate how the letter c can make a soft /s/ sound. C before e will often soft /s/ be in the ace and ice word families. In some words like base, case, vase, and chase, s = /s/. A wise reader also knows the letter s can make the sound of /z/ as in nose when you smell a rose. These Silent e variations are included in the Phonics Pow Toolkit as it follows a logical sequence for learning reading. (III.a) The prize for the race is a nice rose in a vase.

Play a wordsearch with the ace and ice word families.

You will also see that c is often soft /s/ in words that start with c before e: cent, cell, center, cement, certain.

A printable word sort is included in the free word sort games set. There is also an online word sort with Silent e words with soft c, s=/s/ or /z/ & z=/z/.

Learn more about Consonants that vary.

Phonics Fails

Since English is weird, it is easy to get tripped up in attempts to present phonics instruction. As is pointed out in Phonics Faux Paus (one article in this pdf edition of American Educator), some examples that are used in teaching can be less than ideal. An alphabet chart that uses the word “xylophone” for the letter x is confusing, since the x makes the sound of /z/. The book “P is for Pterodactyl – The Worst Alphabet Book Ever” by  Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter is all about some problematic words. Another book by these authors is “No Reading Allowed: The WORST Read-Aloud Book Ever.”

The alphabet chart below from includes some advanced phonics patterns a beginning reader would not be expected to know. This company provides some pretty neat things at their free teaching resources like High Frequency Word Charts, infographics, and games. But this alphabet chart I would skip.


At Phonics Pow, efforts are made to avoid using words that have patterns before they are introduced in a logical sequence. Research shows that phonics instruction should be systematic (presented in a logical sequence) and explicit (directly taught). Check out the Phonics Pow Toolkit.

g before e will often soft /j/ be

The letter g often (but not always) has the soft sound of /j/ before an e. 

A large stāgecoach plunged over the brĭdge.

The g in words that end in -ge or -dge is often soft. Silent e makes the vowel long in words like “pāge,” but Defender d can stop the vowel from being long in “ĕdge” and more words.


Play a wordsearch game with words that are long or short and the g is soft.


Some words that end with -nge also have a soft g. Many have a short vowel, except: range, change, and strange, & sponge and orange with the schwa sound. A couple more words with a soft g are bilge and bulge.



In some words with a Bossy R vowel followed by ge like “charge,” the g is also soft.


Play a wordsearch game with these words. 


G also has the soft /j/ sound in some words that begin with ge: gem, gel, gentle, gerbil, geography. But there are quite a few exceptions to this guideline in words that begin with ge, and some have the hard /g/ sound: get, gecko, gear, geek, geese.

G before e will often soft /j/ be is introduced as one of the ways that Silent e can vary in the Phonics Pow Toolkit with worksheets, a boardgame, and spot & dot sentences. Hard or soft c and g are one of the ways that consonants can vary.

Find and Lift the Lost Gold

Closed syllables with a vowel followed by at least one consonant, are often short…except in some words with i & o followed by two consonants.

I was tōld the cōlt is kīnd of wīld.



If you have ever lŏst a gĭft or made a lĭst, you know that this is not always so.


i and o are usually short when the two consonants after the vowel are Digraphs-two letters that make one sound. This includes:

floss words: Bĭll is ĭll, give him a kĭss and a pĭll. The bŏss is ŏdd, he is always crŏss. (an exception is: roll)

-ck=/k/: throw a stĭck ŏff the dŏck.

Consonant digraphs: sĭng a lŏng sŏng, and swĭsh the fĭsh brŏth. (the word bōth is an exception)

Strategy: to fīnd lŏng, pĭck bōth. First try the long sound to see if it is a recognizable word, next try short.


Remember to fīnd and lĭft the lŏst gōld!

These words can be practiced with a Long or Short i or o Soccer Game. Teams are chosen for either the long vowel sound or the short vowel sound and take turns drawing words to match the pattern.

The words can be printed on “soccer balls” and cut out with a 1 inch circle punch to add to the fun.

The Long or Short i or o Soccer Game is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

WATCH videos & PLAY games online at the Vowels That Vary Wakelet Tutorial, including a wordsearch and online word sort.

See a slideshow of words that show the contrast between CVC words and CVCC words with a long i & o at More Ways Vowels Can Be Long.

Phonics Pow Wordsearch Puzzles


The Phonics Pow wordsearches at are a good way to practice phonics patterns as they are learned in a sensible sequence that is followed by the Phonics Pow Toolkit. They can be played online or printed out.








Check back, as I continue to add to the list! Find even more word search puzzles at this Pinterest board. The Word Lists are another helpful resource for teaching phonics patterns.

Flossy Words

Flossy Words are one of the short vowel variations covered at the end of the Sound Out Words section of the Phonics Pow Toolkit. (II.c) The letters f, l, s, and sometimes z often (but not always) double at the end of one syllable words with a short vowel.


Turn the drill off in class or it will buzz

Some flossy words are included in the word lists for Word Sort Games and Clip Strips.


WATCH videos and PLAY games at the Flossy Words tutorial at Wakelet.


PLAY a Flossy wordsearch online.

Flossy words are included in the bookmarks with pattern sorts for short vowel variations and can be downloaded for free. The Bee Buzz game and free Flossy Word Treasure are available at Teachers Pay Teachers.


There are some exceptions to the Flossy Word guideline. When the final s makes the sound of /z/ like in is, the letter s does not double. In the words: if, this, us, bus, yes, and gas the final letter does not double. In a few words, other letters double, like: odd, add, and egg.


The letter a can say short o. The -all word family is special. When the letter a comes before -ll, it makes the sound of a short ŏ, like in ball. WATCH a Prezi, a Super Simple turn and learn video, and the all word family video from 4 minute phonics.

Learn more about the Phonics Pow Toolkit, how to get free word sort games and more free resources.

Word Lists

When teaching reading, it is important to have access to lists of words for a phonics pattern. The word lists from On Track Reading are helpful, and there is another list for phonemic awareness.

Now there are now two word lists available here at Phonics Pow.


The first list includes all the words in the free Clip Strips. These are all word families that help to introduce phonics patterns in a sequence while teaching reading. Download the Clip Strip Word Lists pdf.


The next one includes all the words in the Word Sort Games that are designed to go along with the Phonics Pow Toolkit. Download the Word Sort Games Word Lists pdf.

Both are helpful to introduce phonics patterns in a sequence during a reading tutor session.