Do You Know the Difference Between Consonant Clusters or Blends?

TeachMagically Blog Post about Consonant Clusters and Blends

Once students have learned the difficult task of spelling cvc words, you should teach and practice the consonant clusters. 


It starts at about a level E if you use F&P but I also discuss it during “kidwriting” as it comes up in stories. 

What are consonant clusters you ask? And how do they differ from blends?

Consonant clusters is the name given to two or three consonants that appear together in a word. Each
consonant retains its sound when blended. 
The term cluster refers to the
written form, and the term blend refers to the spoken form. So you can combine phonics and phonemic awareness seamlessly!

You can find fun puzzles that practice clusters and blends together by clicking the picture.

Check out the cool way we connected the Cluster/Blend Dominoes. First you read the word with the cluster then you must find the clip art blend that matches. It really works the brain; it’s so much harder than looking for a matching picture.

Consonant clusters consist of four major
categories:

 r-blends: br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr
s-blends: sc, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw,
 l-blends: bl, cl, fl, gl, pl
3 letter blends: str, spr thr, chr, phr, shr
Ending blends: ct, ft, ld, lp, lt, mp, nd, nk, nt, pt, rd, rk, sk, sp, st (teach these last)

What are digraphs?

These differ from consonant digraphs.  Digraphs consist of two consonants that
when blended make one sound:
sh, ch, th, wh, ph, gh, ng (You need to teach and practice this with beginning readers.)

Exceptions:

The consonant blend sc can
stand for the /
sk/
sound as in scare or the /c/ can be silent as in science. 

Also, the consonant
cluster
ck
represents one sound – /k/.

Most other consonant clusters will almost
always stand for the blended sound of each consonant, which makes them very
reliable and worthy of
teaching.


Would love to hear the fun things you use to teach clusters and blends in the comments. Remember to “Teach Magically!”

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