Digraph Lists

In kindergarten, students learn that the letters “ch” together sound like a “choo-choo train”. The technical term for two letters creating one sound is digraph. There are consonant digraphs and vowel digraphs. Although typically taught in primary grades (K-2), digraph lists are an essential phonics concept for readers of all ages.

Digraphs Lists

How do You Teach Digraph Lists?

Consonant digraphs refer to a joint set of consonants that form one sound. Common consonant digraphs include “sh”, “ch”, and “th”. Some digraphs are found at both the beginning and the end of a word. Others are strictly initial consonant digraphs, like “kn”, or final consonant digraphs, like “-ck”. The concept of consonant digraphs is often introduced in kindergarten and later expanded upon in first and second grade.

Consonant Digraphs Examples

Digraph Initial or Final Digraph Example Words
“ch-” initial choice, cheese, chick, chair, chain, child
“kn-” initial knight, knot, know, knife, knit, knock
“ph-” initial phone, photo, phonics, phrase, physician, pharmacy
“sh-” initial shoe, shout, shark, ship, sheep, shout
“th-” initial thumb, throat, thing, three, thin, throw
“wh-” initial whale, while, whole, what, when, where
“wr-” initial wreck, wrench, wreath, wrist, wrong, wring
“-ch” final which, rich, such, much, pinch, lunch
“-ck” final luck, tick, quick, tack, pluck, sick
“-sh” final wish, dish, flash, rush, push, brush
“-ss” final chess, dress, mess, miss, bliss, class
“-tch” final hatch, watch,fetch, glitch, witch, clutch

VocabularySpellingCity provides consonant digraph word lists to use during the language arts block. Teachers can assign students interactive phonics games, like Which Initial Sound? and Which Final Sound?, to practice digraph sounds. In these phonics activities, students get to experience words in written, visual, and auditory form. This helps them make connections between sounds and letters, strengthening their phonological skills.

Free Vowel Digraph Lists

Vowel digraphs are two vowels that when placed together generate one sound. This includes double vowels like the long “oo” in “moon” or short “oo” in “foot”. Other vowel digraphs are formed by two different vowels like “ai” in “rain” or “oa” in “boat”. Usually in a vowel digraph, a long vowel sound is formed. As mentioned above, this rule is simply put as “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking (although there are exceptions, such as “said” and “shoe”).

Vowel Digraphs Examples

“ai” pail, rain, stain, gain, frail, chain
“ay” stay, play, away, hay, day, say
“ee” feet, sheet, sheep, week, peek, meet
“ea” speak, cheat, neat, weak, read, beach
“ea” bread, head, thread, spread, lead, tread
“ie” field, shield, chief, thief, piece, movie
“ie” pie, tie, lie, cried, tried, flies
“oa” boat, toad, road, loan, goal, goat
“oe” toe, poet, foe, oboe, woe, goes
“ue” glue, rescue, clue, argue, fuel, blue
“ui” fruit, juice, suit, cruise, bruise, recruit
“oo” book, foot, look, took, shook, cookie

VocabularySpellingCity offers vowel digraph word lists to supplement phonics instruction. Word lists can be paired with over 40 learning games and activities for independent word study. Sound It Out! is an interactive phonics game displays vowel digraphs as one phoneme (sound), which allows students to practice the relationship between phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters).