Digraphs are two letters that stand together to make a single sound. On the other hand, Blends are 2-3 consonant combinations where you hear each individual sound. This understanding becomes important in Syllabication because digraphs are typically “scooped and grouped” and stay together, and blends are split.
An easy way to practice this important difference is to ask students to recognize digraphs by holding up two crossed fingers, but blends will have their fingers held side-by-side. The crossed fingers (digraphs) cannot be separated, but the blends can easily be split apart.
Once you begin teaching blends, give students practice with this concept by showing the digraphs and blends from your card pack, much like you would in a Visual Drill. Instead of students saying the sounds, ask them to show you the type of letter combinations by crossing their fingers for the digraphs and holding their fingers next to each other for the blends. Practice this concept often to build this skill which will become important as they progress in Syllabication.
Written by Ingrid Hartig
Ingrid is a Master Instructor with Brainspring’s Educator Academy
Brainspring has proudly supported the educational community for more than 25 years.