ALEX Learning Activity

Sorting Consonant Digraphs

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Ginger Henderson
System:Monroe County
School:Excel High School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2377
Sorting Consonant Digraphs
Digital Tool/Resource:
Consonant Digraph Sorting Pictures from Teachers Pay Teachers
Web Address – URL:

In this small group activity, the teacher will provide instruction on the sound-spelling correspondences for common consonant digraphs. The students will practice the sound-spelling correspondence for the consonant digraphs ch, sh, th, and wh. Students will sort and match pictures to the correct consonant digraph.

This activity results from the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2021 (2021)
Grade: 1
R2. Use knowledge of phoneme-grapheme correspondences and word analysis skills to decode and encode words accurately.
Learning Objectives:

Students will match pictures to the correct sound-spelling correspondence for the consonant digraphs ch, sh, and wh.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

1. Explain to students that sometimes two letters work together to make a new sound. Tell students that consonant digraphs are two consonants that make a new sound when they are put together.

2. Write the consonant digraphs ch, sh, th and wh on the board. Point to the ch and make the sound /ch/. Then have each student touch the ch and produce the sound. Repeat the process with the consonant digraphs sh, th, and wh.

3. Tell students that we can listen for the sounds of consonant digraphs in words. Using the Consonant Digraph Sorting Pictures tool, place each of the consonant digraphs on the table facing the students. Have students touch or trace each consonant digraph with a finger and produce its sound.

4. Tell students you will say a word that includes one of the consonant digraphs. After you say the word, have students touch the corresponding digraph. First, say each word normally. Then segment the word and produce each phoneme separately. Then say the word again.

  • chair  - /ch/ /a/ /r/ - chair
  • sheep - /sh/ /e/ /p/ - sheep
  • why - /wh/ /i/ - why
  • this - /th/ /i/ /s/ - this
  • bush - /b/ /u/ /sh/ - bush
  • lunch - /l/ /u/ /n/ /ch/ - lunch
  • both - /b/ /o/ /th/ - both

5.  Next, tell students they will now match pictures to the correct consonant digraph. Provide a model by holding up one of the pictures from the Consonant Digraph Sorting Pictures tool. Use the following think-aloud model to guide students through determining the correct correspondence.

  • This is a picture of a chipmunk. Listen. Chipmunk. The first sound I hear in chipmunk is /ch/. The letters ch make the sound /ch/. I'll place the picture of the chipmunk with the letters ch.

Hold up each picture -OR- hand out pictures to the students in the group. Have students say the word for the picture aloud, identify the correct consonant digraph, and place the picture with the digraph.

Assessment Strategies:

Observe students' performance as they progress through the activity in order to judge mastery. Mastery is achieved when students reach 80% or better sound-spelling correspondence.

Advanced Preparation:

Make and laminate at least one copy of the digital tool Consonant Digraph Sorting Pictures. Additional copies may be necessary if the teacher wishes each student to have practice matching each picture in the tool.

Variation Tips (optional):

ELL: The digital tool Consonant Digraph Cue Card can be used to give students additional visual reinforcements for the consonant digraph sounds.

Enrichment: Advanced students can use the digital tool Phonics Mini Books: Consonant Digraphs to practice reading words with consonant digraphs in context.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):

This lesson is best suited to small group instruction.

  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: consonant digraphs, digraphs, multisensory, phonics, reading, small group