Strategies for Teaching Short Vowel Rule: “CH” Rule

The best part of using Orton Gillingham to teach or tutor is that the rules are clearly defined. For the Short Vowel Rules there is FLOSS, “CH” Rule, “J” Rule, and “K” Rule. Today we are going to talk about strategies for teaching “CH” Rule.

Typically, Short Vowel Rule words are simple looking, one-syllable words that come from the Anglo-Saxon language. Words like, sack, dodge, grass, hatch. Longer words are typically Greek or Latin words.

“CH” Rule Defined

The “CH” Rule says, -tch is used after one short vowel at the end of one syllable words to spell “ch.”

“CH” Rule Strategies

The sound “ch” is usually spelled with ch or tch

Use ch at the beginning of a word, after a consonant, and after a diphthong.

For example:

chin (at the beginning)

lunch (after a consonant)

peach (after a diphthong)  


The endings -ture and -tion can take on the “ch” sound. For example, picture and attention.

Also, tu can make the “ch” sound. Examples, virtue and spatula

Anglo-Saxon suffixes can be added to roots with the “ch” sound without changing the root spelling. For example, teacher, kitchen, hatchet


Exceptions – words with one syllable, one short vowel that end in ch instead of -tch are: Which, Rich, Such, Much

I was taught, WORMS to remember these (the O is not really used).

W – Which


R – Rich

M – Much

S – Such

Dispatch is another exception (it’s a two-syllable word that uses -tch)

What if my student finds an exception I didn’t teach?

I see a lot of questions that ask, “What do I tell a student who asks, why is this word not following the rule?” The answer is there are always exceptions (there is no exception to there being exceptions to every rule!). This is not what you tell a student right away though. First, establish the rule, then get into exceptions.

The goal is to ease into the information and add more information after the rule is digested.

Repetition is key to getting this information to be automatic – making sure that students not only know the rule by definition, but can write words by following the rule (writing the words by hearing them through dictation) and reading the words (sight).

Want More?

Want more Short Vowel Rules? Visit the Workbook Store for Short Vowel Rule Packets. Or see the Scope & Sequence Workbooks.

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