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Help Kids Learn /ch/ Spelling

Help kids learn new ch words with a fun game that makes spelling choices. You can use repurposed games like Jenga, Don’t Break the Ice and Concentration or make a new game.

In English, ch usually represents the sound [tS] word-medially or word-finally and always follows a consonant (chalk, cheese and church). It also comes after a vowel team when it is pronounced /k/.

Before we start, why not check out my /ch/ worksheets!


A ch is a digraph made up of two letters that produce the same sound. It is used in the English language to represent two adjacent consonants that are pronounced as one unit. It is often confused with tch, which is the same letter but is pronounced differently.

While ch is generally pronounced as [], it can also be pronounced as []. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. For instance, c in the words satchel and patch is usually pronounced as [], but it is pronounced as [] in the word witch.

The ch sound is commonly found in French loanwords such as chauffeur, machine, and chivalry. As French evolved, the t sound dropped out of ch, leaving it with just the sound of [sh]. This is how modern English spelling reflects etymologically the original pronunciation of a word (chaos, echo, monarch).

In German and Romanized Yiddish, ch represents an aspirated voiceless velar fricative. The letter ch is rarely encountered in Italian and German, but it appears in a few words such as cello, concerto, and vermicelli. It is also spelled cc> in some Italian and German words such as kitsch and putsch.

Kids who know several words that start with Ch can develop their reading and writing skills faster. They can also use these words to expand their vocabulary and speak more fluently. Using systematic phonics instruction, children can learn the sounds that these letters make. This will help them break down words into their constituent sounds and read them more easily.


Vowels are the sounds that form the nuclei of syllables and separate consonants. There are short and long vowels, diphthongs and gliding vowels. Ch is a digraph that represents the voiceless velar fricative (kh/ch). It is also used in some languages to represent the soft x sound.

In English, ch is usually used at the beginning of a word or at the end of a one-syllable word when it immediately follows a short vowel, a consonant and a vowel team or a diphthong. For example, the words itch, watch and patch have ch at the beginning. On the other hand, kitchen has ch at the end.

When a /ch/ sound is at the end of a two-syllable word, it is usually spelled with ck, as in duck and trick. However, when a /ch/ sound is at or near the end of a word and it is followed by a short vowel, a long vowel or a diphthong, it is spelled with tch, as in catch, fetch, stitch, blotch and clutch. Exceptions include such, much and rich.

To help students understand this spelling generalization, teachers can use a list of words that start with Ch for kids and ask them to sort these words by whether the ch sound comes at the beginning or end of the word or if it is followed by a consonant, a vowel team or a vowel. This sorting activity is a fun and engaging way to practice spelling generalizations. It can help students identify areas where they may need more practice in understanding the rules that govern ch and tch spellings. In addition, it can help students gain a deeper understanding of these spelling patterns and make them more effective in their writing.


This ch spelling has a variety of sounds, depending on where it is in a word. Often it makes the sound of a short vowel, such as in the words chair, child and church. It can also make a long vowel sound, such as in the word march or the word watch. Sometimes it makes a k sound, such as in the words chain and chorus. Finally, it can also be silent as in bought, caught and daughter. These three ways of making the sound are what make this a digraph.

This is a difficult spelling to teach, especially to students who are just learning it. The best way to help students learn this spelling generalization is to have them verbalize the rule and then use it in their dictation and spelling words lists. This helps them develop a deep understanding of the spelling rule and will allow them to ask questions when they encounter a word that defies the rules. For example, they may want to know why ch should be used in the word patch and not in the word witch.

The ch spelling is also an important part of many languages, including English, Chamorro, Old Spanish and Czech. In some languages, such as Polish and Russian, ch is not treated as a distinct letter, and it is sorted with other consonants. In other languages, such as Quechua and Guarani, ch is pronounced kh. It is also the name of a letter in Braille, and it has several allophonic variants. Some of these are used in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish, while others are not. The ch is also the digraph for the voiceless uvular fricative in Hebrew and Yiddish, and it is represented by a in International Morse code.


A digraph is a combination of letters that make a single sound. There are many consonant digraphs in English, such as ch, sh, and th. To help students learn about consonant digraphs, it can be helpful to use pictures that show the words that begin with those sounds. You can also create charts that list the digraphs and ask children to read through them, focusing on the sound of each one.

Occasionally, a ch can make an /sh/ sound at the beginning, middle, or end of a word. This is because the ch in these words is an unstressed voiceless palatal fricative. This can be a confusing aspect of English spelling, especially for learners who are learning to decode words by sound rather than by letter.

In addition to consonant digraphs, it’s important to teach children about vowel digraphs as well. Vowel digraphs are when two vowels come together as a team to spell a new sound, such as ai, ee, and oo. In some cases, these vowels may even be split, such as in the word pine where the ie has been split into n and p.

A great way to introduce these new sounding words to children is to read books that focus on them, such as The Chicken Sisters by Lauren Numeroff or Cheese Louise by David Micheal Slater. You can also play word games with them that focus on these words, such as Scrabble for kids or simple crosswords. You can also print off CH-focused word lists and give children flashcards of these words to practice with. For example, a great resource is the Read-and-Sing Book Lunch which introduces 20 new words that start with the consonant digraph CH.


As students advance to Phase 3 of phonics they will begin working with digraphs and trigraphs. These are groups of three letters that make one sound but do not represent a single letter. They are often difficult for children to decode because they do not have a letter by letter sound. Examples of these include igh, ear and ure. Having a solid understanding of these will help children to read more quickly and more accurately.

The best way to teach this is by showing students a few examples and then letting them practice on their own. For example, you may show a picture card to your class and model segmenting the word catch (/c/ /a/ /ch/). Then give your students an opportunity to do this on their own with other picture cards. Once they are able to do this on their own you can then let them write some words and fluency sentences with these consonant trigraphs.

In addition, you can also introduce a chart to remind students of the spelling rule that says to use tch when the /ch/ sound is followed by a short vowel and not a long vowel team or a consonant. You can find this chart in my Phonics by Design Trigraphs Mini Unit.

Once your students understand this rule you can start incorporating it into dictation and spelling lists. To keep track of their progress I suggest having them write a few ch and tch words at the beginning of each week and then checking to see if they can spell these words correctly. You can also have them check their answers on this free printable ch and tch list.

Mr. Greg

An English teacher from Scotland who made a website to share resources for free with the whole world! Currently based in Hong Kong, teaching in an International Kindergarten and tutoring Primary students.

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