How to Spell a Consonant Sound

Often in spelling and writing the letters and their pronunciations are considered, but what I had never experienced until working with Orton Gillingham is how to spell a letter sound. This post is on how to spell consonant sounds. Next week, I will cover spelling vowel sounds.

There are letters that make sounds, d says “d” (dog), and there are sounds made up of letters, the sound “sh” can be made using the letters sh (shout) or ch (chef). We call that how you “spell” a sound.

This can come in handy when teaching how to spell and read. Knowing that certain letters and letter combinations make certain sounds that may not look right at first, can make a word that is foreign suddenly make sense. Once it is realized that gh can say “f” in a word like laugh or cough, spelling these word groups doesn’t seem so hard.

Here is a list of each consonant and how to spell the sounds :
“h”           h (hip)
“j”             j (jump), g (e,I,y) (gem), -ge (rage), -dge (judge), du (educate)
“l”             l (liver)
“v”            v (violin)
“b”           b (best)
“m”         m (milk), -mb (comb), -mn (column)
“sh”         sh (shower), ch (chef)
“r”            r (rest), wr (wrench), rh (rhino)
“p”           p (pest)
“f”            f (fish), ph (phone), -lf (calf), -gh (laugh)
“sk”          sc (scoot), sk (skate)
“ks”          x (box)
“n”            n (nose), gn (gnome), kn (knife)
“?h”          th (thimble) unvoiced
“g”            g (glue), gh (ghost), gu (guitar)
“ch”         ch (church), tch (match), tu (picture)
“kw”         qu (queen) (qu together are considered a consonant in OG)
“s”            s (scar), c (cist – e,I,y, rule), sc (science), ps (psychic)
“gz           x (exit)
“k”           c (cram), k (kick), ck (kick), ch (Christmas), lk (chalk), que (antique)
“ng”         n (think, thing)
“w”           w (wing)
“d”           d (dog), -ed (bogged)
“t”            t (tick), -ed (jumped)
“z”            z (zoo), s (was)
“hw”        wh (while)
“th”          th (mother) voiced
“y”            y (yes)

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(6) Comments

  1. This is what we ran through last year with my girls. I really think it helps cut down confusion as they learn to spell! However, I added the wh to the “h” sound (as in who). I also noticed as I watched a video writing program that we must not properly pronounce the beginning sound of while and what (etc)–when we say it, it sounds just like an “h” sound. When he pronounced it, it was like you point out here (hw). I also think this is a huge part of where people like my husband who are very, very logical get left out in phonics in the early grades.

    1. You know, the “hw” is more just a little breath at the beginning and I’m not sure how much difference it makes on how a kid learns, BUT it is how I was taught in the OG class. I think as long as the child understands the spelling it is fine to group it either place. I also see why they group it in “hw” though. When you say, house, your lips are in a totally different place than the word Who. I think that is the real difference.

      Thank you so much for your support of my blog!

        That is SUCH a good point about the position of the mouth! You are right! A fun little point to share with my kids, too!!

        And you’re welcome! There are some homeschoolers who will just eat this up! (Like me!)

    1. Hi Tracie, thank you so much! You actually found an error on my part. I have updated the post. It should have said x “gz” with the word Exit. X also says, “ks” as in box. So, x makes two sounds — “gz” as in exit and “ks” as in box. Some people have said they do not here the “gz” sound, but in my Southern dialect, it’s pronounced. I hope this clears up the question. I apologize for my error!

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