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.

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.

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.

Some Love Gloves

Some one syllable words with the letter o and a silent e at the end make the long o sound, like drove and home. Others that you might expect to have a long vowel sound do not. Instead, they make the “uh” schwa sound, which sounds very similar to short u. Some, love, and glove are a few of these. Practice these words after learning about Silent e (III.a).

Notice that this often happens when the letter o comes before the letters m, n, & v. Of course, some words DO follow the Silent e guideline and have the long o sound.

Play an online wordsearch game with these words.

The Some Love Gloves set that includes a worksheet and boardgame is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

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

Catch the Pitch: spelling the final /ch/ sound

Catch a pitch or scratch an itch, the tch is not a glitch! Pinch an inch or catch a pitch, how to know which is which? The /ch/ consonant digraph sound is often spelled -tch immediately after a short vowel in one syllable words. As you might expect, there are some exceptions: such, much, rich, and which.

Eat a peach for lunch on a bench and you may have a hunch: after a consonant or vowel combinations it changes a bunch.


The /ch/ sound is NOT spelled -tch when it comes after a consonant, as in branch, clinch, munch or stench.

wrench artwork copyrighted by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator,

It is just ch with mulch or a wrench, also with a bossy r on a porch.


The /ch/ sound is NOT spelled -tch when it comes after diphthongs and vowel teams: pouch, pooch, coach, or reach. If you sit on a couch or lay on a beach, the ch spelling will be found in each.

Now -ch or -tch spelling will be a cinch to teach!


This guideline is learned after learning about consonant digraphs (IV.a)

Play an online wordsearch with words that end in -tch.

Practice words with a set of free word sort games for the Phonics Pow Toolkit that include -ch or -tch words. The Catch the Pitch set includes a word list, worksheet, and a board game. Find it at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.


Voiced and Unvoiced Consonants

Some consonants are voiced; they are formed with vibration in the vocal chords, and no push of air. Voiced consonants are: /b/ /d/ /g/ /j/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /r/ /v/ /w/ /y/ and /z/. All vowels are voiced too.

Some consonants are unvoiced; they make no vibration in the vocal chords, but there is a push of air. Unvoiced consonants are: /f/ /h/ /k/ /p/ /s/ /t/ /x/ /qu/ and digraphs /ch/ /sh/. The digraph /th/ can be voiced as in “that” or unvoiced as in “thing.”

Some word pairs compare voiced and unvoiced consonants (at the beginning) that are made with the same mouth placement of tongue, lips, and teeth. Try putting a hand on the throat to feel the difference while saying these words: bat/pat, dip/tip, gab/cab, van/fan, zip/sip, and jug/chug.

Also try these that are not made with the same mouth placement, but one word begins with a voiced consonant and the other is unvoiced: jog/hog, lit/kit, mat/hat, nut/hut, and rat/pat.

It is easier to learn consonants that are voiced, but understanding the difference becomes especially important in the following two instances.

The letter s can make different sounds, depending on whether it follows a voiced or unvoiced consonant. After an unvoiced consonant, often s = /s/. After a voiced consonant, often s = /z/.

The suffix -ed can make different sounds, depending on whether it follows a voiced or unvoiced consonant. After a voiced consonant, it often makes the sound of /d/ as in “jailed.” After an unvoiced consonant, it often makes the sound of /t/ as in “walked.” A third sound, /id/ is made after the voiced consonant d as in “needed” and the unvoiced consonant t as in “wanted.”

Can you hear the three different sounds made by the suffix -ed in the following sentence?

The sheriff needed his gun. He jailed the wanted man and then he walked home.

A set of resources for with handouts and worksheets for voiced and unvoiced consonants is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

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