Silent Consonants

What are they?

Initial silent consonants are those consonant sounds that take the initial or the first place in the word. But these sounds are not uttered as they are silent. The learners need to know why these sounds become silent. There are several examples in English which have initial silent consonants.

Similarly, final silent consonants are those consonant sounds present in last or final place in a word, but are not uttered.

Strategies that can be used:

-The teacher can give a small dictation test of the following words for practice. The goal is to get the accurate spelling. Note that this test is only for the ‘wr’ initial sounds. The teacher can create his/her own test list and give it to the learners.

Wrap wren wristband
Wrapper wrench write
Wreath wring writer
Wreck wrinkle wrong
Wreckage wrist wrote

 

-This is a list of sentences which has several words beginning from ‘kn’ sound, in which ‘k’ is a silent consonant. Ask the learners to identify the words having the ‘kn’ sound. They can use highlighters or sketches to encircle the words.

  • I know I need to knead the dough.
  • I kneeled and picked up the knickknacks.
  • Don’t jiggle the doorknob; just knock.
  • The knight knocked a knot on the knave.
  • Do your knuckles hurt when you knit?
  • Is knowledge the same as knowing?
  • Please tie my knapsack with a tight knot?
  • Did the knight knit all night long?
  • I have a knack for kneading bread dough.
  • What do you know about knights?

-Spell test
A simple listen and spell test can be conducted in the classroom where the learners have to listen to the words said by the teacher and spell it out accurately. This can be done either orally or can be conducted in a written format.

Games:

-Puzzle
A simple puzzle is given below which can be printed and distributed in the class. The learners have to find the silent consonant words given in the list. They have to either highlight the words or mark them which sketches. The game is specifically for initial silent sounds.

image2 (1)
Image Courtesy: https://www.spellzone.com/games/word_search/index.cfm?wordlist=1571&width=13&height=10

Highlight the silent consonant
A simple creative worksheet which can be printed out and distributed among learners. The learners need to be instructed to recognize the word and say it loudly. Then they need to find the silent consonant in it and highlight it.

image1
Image Courtesy: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Silent-Consonant-Word-Sort-123757

Online Games:

A game called Silent Invaders, where the player has to shoot the right word with the right gun. For example, the word ‘wreck’ is moving, the player has to use the ‘w’ gun and shoot the word. This will earn points and acts as a good practice.


An online game by British Council that delves into recognition of word images. These words have silent consonants in them. The learners need to keep playing repeatedly in order to practice.

Videos:

Both initial and final silent consonant sounds.

The initial sound ‘k’ is silent in the pair ‘kn’. A demonstrative musical video by Dudlies Ditties on YouTube.

The initial sound ‘w’ is silent in the pair ‘wr’. A demonstrative musical video by Mr Throne Network on YouTube.

 

References:

http://www.theschoolhouse.us/lessons/lesson61.html

https://www.spellzone.com/games/index.cfm?wordlist=1571

http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/tricky-words/knit-knot

 

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