Consonant clusters or blends, are the names 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.
Consonant clusters consist of four major categories:
- 3 letter clusters
You can teach beginning consonant clusters as soon as children have learnt the single consonant sound-spellings.
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. The consonant clusters thr, chr, phr, shr, are made up of a consonant digraph and a consonant.
Ending blends: ct, ft, ld, lp, lt, mp, nd, nk, nt, pt, rd, rk, sk, sp, st (teach these last)
Consonant Digraphs: consist of two consonants that when blended make one sound: sh, ch, th, wh, ph, gh, ng
Exceptions: The consonant blend sc can stand for the /sk/ sound as inscare or the /c/ can be silent as in science. Also, the consonant clusterck 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 to your child.