Once young readers learn to blend letter sounds, they can easily sound out a new or unfamiliar word—that is until they encounter one of the “H Brothers!”
The “H Brothers” are consonant digraphs. Consonant digraphs consist of two consonants, joined together to make a single, distinct phonetic sound.
However, “consonant digraph” is not a term you want to use with young readers. So, in my first grade classroom they are known as the “H Brothers.”
The five most common “H Brothers” are “th,” “ch,” “sh,” “wh,” and “ph.”
Here are some fun and memorable sentences to help your child decode the sounds of the “H Brothers:”
- Theo is thinking about sticking out his tongue every Thursday. (“th”)
- Charlie is a train engineer, and likes to say “Choo,choo.” (“ch”)
- Sheldon is shy and likes it quiet. Shhh! (“sh”)
- When Whitman tries to whistle, all that comes out is “Whhh.” (“wh”)
- Phil likes to practice phonics on his phone. (“f”)
Help your child practice one “H Brother” at a time. Have her look for the “Brothers” in the beginning, middle, or end of words. (thin, feather, path)
Let your child draw pictures of the “H Brothers,” and help him write the sounds they make. Keep the pictures handy for a quick reference.
Automatic recognition of letter sounds, blends, and digraphs will dramatically increase your child's reading fluency rate.
A good reading fluency rate is so important because it directly leads to increased reading comprehension.