Learning to recognize digraphs in printed words is such an important skill as children begin to read. Since each digraph contains two or more letters but only makes one sound, it is important that children be able to identify them and apply the correct sound, rather than try to sound them out by combining the individual sounds made by the two or more letters in the digraph.
These new digraph worksheets introduce the digraphs nk, ck and ng. These digraphs are particularly challenging for young children because it is easiest for children to identify sounds in the starting position of the word and these digraphs are only found in the middle or ending positions in words.
Please note that the sound made by the digraph nk is very similar to the sound of the word ink, as opposed to being made up of the individual sounds n and k. To illustrate this point, notice the position of your tongue as you say aloud the words ink and pin. When saying the word pin, your tongue touches the roof of your mouth, whereas your tongue does not touch the roof of your mouth when saying aloud the word ink. For example, when applying the correct sound to the digraph nk, the word pink will be pronounced correctly and will not sound like pin-k.
Beginning with the first worksheet, identify each picture on the page, pointing to the illustration as you say its name. That way you can be sure your child is correctly labeling the picture. For example, on the ck digraph worksheet, the vehicle should be called a truck (not a van). Also, on the ng worksheet, the arrow specifically points to the wing on the bird, so be sure your child knows it is a picture of a wing, and not simply a picture of a bird. And on the nk worksheet, the steaming cup should be labeled a drink and the arrow is pointing to a pinky, not just to the hand.
When your child is comfortable with the name of each picture, ask him to point to the letters in the center of the worksheet, say its sound and then point to one picture and name it. If he hears the correct sound in the middle or at the end of the word, he can trace over the dotted line and connect the picture to the letters in the middle of the page. If he does not hear the correct sound, direct him to simply move on to the next picture and repeat the process.
The last two worksheets give your child another chance to practice identifying the nk, ck and ng digraphs. These worksheets will be a bit more challenging than the beginning-level digraph worksheets introduced last week because your child will need to listen to the middle and ending sounds of each word to match each picture with the correct digraph, whereas the beginning-level digraph worksheets introduced last week primarily required your child to listen to only the beginning sound of each word.
After your child completes these worksheets, he might enjoy being a digraph detective and looking for these digraphs as you read to him. When your child spies a word with a digraph that he recognizes, label a piece of paper with that digraph and then write the word your child spied on the paper. In this way, as you read to your child each day, you can create lists of words that contain specific digraphs and keep these lists handy to review and add to. Your child may also enjoy cutting and pasting pictures that go along with the words on the lists.