Consonants That Vary

When the same letters make more than one sound, or one sound can be made with more than one letter, you really know that English is Weird.

WATCH videos and PLAY online games at the Consonants That Vary tutorial at Wakelet. Note that many online games require flash and may not work well on mobile devices. Downloading the Mozilla Firefox browser can be helpful.


The letters C and G can make hard or soft sounds.

C is often hard before A, O & U. With the others, a soft C will do.

G is often hard before A, O & U. With the others, a soft G will often do.

(But this is not always true, which you know if you get a gift given to you!)

When the K sound is heard at the beginning of a word:

K takes i & e, C takes the other three.

When the K sound is heard at the end of a word:

A CK is often needed after a vowel that is short. The K needs help to make it work.


PLAY PRINTABLES Consonant Variations Soccer Sort Games include Hard and Soft C and G, and K or CK ending, available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Two Sounds of S: letter S can also make more than one sound. S can say snake, probably everyone knows. It can also say /z/ when a nose smells a rose. A free word sort game for the letter S is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

The sound of /f/ can be spelled many ways indeed, more than three! In the following sentence, how many ways do you see? The dolphin swam fast by in the rough sea by the cliff. (f as in fast, ff as in cliff, ph as in dolphin, and gh as in rough.) GH can also be /g/ when you see a ghost all in white, or no sound at all when you have a fright.

These guidelines may help you to figure out the many sounds you will discover all about.

Learn more about word sort games for the Phonics Pow Toolkit.

Consonant Digraphs


Digraphs are a pair of letters representing one sound. The consonant digraphs that make new sounds are CH, SH, TH, WH + NG.

Consonant Digraphs may be introduced after learning about Blends, using words with short vowels. Many words with consonant digraphs have more advanced vowel patterns, which can be introduced as the patterns are learned. Download a free Consonant Digraph Word List with Bookmarks at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. Practice words with short vowels and a consonant digraph with an online wordsearch.

WATCH videos and play online games at the Consonant Digraph tutorial at Wakelet. WATCH  more videos from Kids vs Phonics: CH (1:38) SH (1:28) TH (1:53) TH-Hard (1:42) WH (1:34) & NG (2:02). PLAY more online games from Literactive:  Whale gameCrab Catcher game, NG: Hula Pool & Gopher game.

Please note that many online games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Mozilla Firefox browser.

LISTEN and play Digraphs at Quizlet

NG as in Sing

Elvis Presley was known as the King of Rock & Roll. He liked to wear rings when he sang. His longest song was “Suspicious Minds” (7:14) On Nov. 1, 1969, it reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100.

TH can be voiceless or voiced

In some words, the th makes a vibration or voiced sound. At the beginning of words: this, that, them, than, then. In the middle of words: father, mother, brother. At the end of some verbs: smooth, bathe, breathe.

In other words, the th is a quieter or voiceless sound:. At the beginning of words: thin, thick, thud, thumb. Or at the end of words: bath, math, with, cloth. In the middle of some words: ethics, method, lethal.

READ the Pattern – Digraph Sentences from READ Books: by author Brian Cleary: “Whose Shoes Would You Choose?” “The Thing on the Wing Can Sing” and “Spring in the Kingdom of Ying”


PLAY Roll, Read, & Keep -free at Teachers Pay Teachers. Mix BAM & SWIPE cards in with consonant digraph flashcards from

More consonant digraph resources:

PLAY a Printable Game from the Measured Mom, a Digraph Picture Sort from Thisreadingmama, a word sort game for NG from Science Is For Kids, an H Brothers Poster from thewisenest.

A Digraph Word Sort and story and Bossy R and Consonant Digraph Soccer Sort Game are also available at the Super Tutor Tools Store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Some consonant digraphs make familiar sounds. CK often spells the /k/ sound at the end of one syllable words with short vowels. PH can make the F sound: WATCH the Kids vs Phonics Video (2:47) & Jack Hartmann Video (2:16). GH sometimes make the F sound, but an I before GH makes a long I sound as in the word light, with the gh silent. WATCH the Kids vs Phonics Video (1:23).

-tch ending: the /ch/ sound immediately after a short vowel in a one syllable word is often spelled with -tch. A Catch the Pitch board game and word sort from Super Tutor Tools store is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Some words have both a Bossy R vowel and consonant digraphs. Practice these with activities at Shark Chart!