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Short Vowel Tricks

ck or k?

Look at these words:

clock, cloak, desk, stick, pink.

They all have a "k" sound at the end, but some are spelled with a k and some with ck. How do you know which one to use when?

It is simple.

  • Listen to the word and decide if the vowel sound before the k is short or not.
  • If it is not short you only need the k, you don't need ck.
  • If it is a short vowel sound say the word really slowly and carefully. Does the k sound come straight after the vowel sound, or is there another sound in between?
  • If there is another sound in between, you only need the k (desk, pink).
  • If the k sound comes directly after the vowel sound then you need ck (stick, clock).

Easy, isn't it?

ch or tch?

The rule is exactly the same for ch and tch. Listen to the word. If the ch sound comes directly after a short vowel sound, you need the t. If it comes after a different sound, you don't need the t.


each, teach, stitch, scratch, pitch

dge or ge?

Guess what? The rule is the same again. If the ge sound comes directly after a short vowel sound, you need that d. Otherwise just put ge.


orange, edge, judge, strange

Next lesson we will look at different ways of making the long vowel sound, and how to remember them.

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