Part of learning to read is learning to recognize the various graphemes within a word. A grapheme is the visual representation of a phoneme (the smallest unit of sound). Although we stress learning individual letter sounds, we often forget that there are 44 phonemes in the English language and only 26 letters…which means there are lots of other sounds to learn besides just the alphabet.
In this activity, we learned three of the consonant digraphs: /th/, /sh/, and /ch/. I used Starfall’s Interactive Games to introduce each digraph to Big Brother prior to the activity (we did one at a time). Here are each of them individually:
:: Digraph /th/
:: Digraph /sh/
:: Digraph /ch/
Here’s what you’ll need to create your own consonant digraph garden: construction paper, a marker, a glue stick, and scissors!
1. Cut out your circle (for the center of the flower) and several petals in 3 colors.
2. Write the consonant digraph in the center of each circle.
3. Tape 2 pieces of blue construction paper together and use a glue stick to place the stem and center of the flower.
4. Write the words on both sides of the petal. You may want to underline the digraph in each word to make it more obvious for your child. I would encourage you to include words with the digraph at the beginning and the end of the word.
5. Introduce your child to the digraphs. We used Starfall’s Interactive Games. Believe it or not, this is the very first time Big Brother has used Starfall (or my laptop). :)
6. Have your child add the corresponding petals to each digraph center. Ask him/her to decode (sound out) each word as he/she glues it in place.
Learn more reading tips in my eBook I Can Teach My Child to Read!