Digraph Activities

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Digraphs are a difficult concept for students because they are the introduction to words that do not follow traditional phonics rules. The activities in this asset offer fun, collaborative and independent activities for digraph practice.

Digraph Activities

When children begin to learn, they are taught the sounds of each letter and often taught to sound out words. This method works well for many early-reader words, but breaks down when children begin to encounter words with digraphs. Digraphs are two letters that make a single sound together.

Since traditional sounding out methods don't work to teach children to read digraph sounds, activities can be used to give them extra practice at recognizing these special combinations of letters. Here, you will find many fun, engaging activities to motivate your early to middle elementary students to practice their digraph sounds.

Group by Sound

In this activity, students will place words into circles based on the sound of the digraph within the word.

Materials

  • Index cards printed with digraph words.
    • To make these cards, first determine how many digraph sounds will be included in this activity.
    • Then, create an equal number of word cards for each digraph sound, using different words for each card.
      • For example, for the 'th' digraph sound, you could have word cards 'teeth', 'throat', and 'feather'
    • The number of word cards per digraph sound will be determined by the amount of digraph sounds and the number of students in your class, as you want to ensure that each student has at least one card.
      • For example, if you are using 10 digraph sounds and you have 30 students, you will want to make at least three word cards for each digraph sound.
    • Make sure to include digraphs at the beginning (the), middle (boot) and end (free) of words.
  • Pictures representing digraph sounds. For example:
    • Picture of a throat to represent the 'th' digraph
    • Picture of a bee to represent the 'ee' digraph

Instructions

  • Before you begin the activity, display your sample pictures and review each digraph sound included in the activity.
    • Review the spellings for each specific digraph sound, such as: the 'ee' sound can be spelled 'ee' or 'ea'
  • If your students need additional support with these concepts, write the sound categories and spellings on the board as a reference during the activity.
  • Hand out one word card to each student.
  • Now, ask the students to mingle around and group themselves according to matching digraph sounds.
  • When everyone is grouped, invite each group to say their digraph sound and recite their group's words.
  • Collect the cards and repeat activity as desired.

Alternatives

  • Use tape or a hoop to create digraph circles into which students can place words with matching digraphs. In this alternative, you can pile all the cards in a central spot and instruct your students to gather as many cards as you have allotted to each to place in the correct circle.
  • The word cards can also be used to facilitate an independent activity for a single student needing additional practice with digraph sounds. In this case, the student would simply form stacks of like digraph words.

How Many?

In this activity, students will use their prior knowledge of digraphs and words to create their own lists of words.

Materials

  • Paper/pencil

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