Ever heard the terms blend or digraph? What is the difference between blends and digraphs anyway? I’m so glad you asked!

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There are many phonics terms that can be a bit confusing. Blend and digraph are no exceptions. Let’s quickly talk about the differences.

You’re also welcome to download the free multi-sensory posters at the END of this post. {They come in color & blackline!}

The Difference Between Blends and Digraphs

What is a Blend?

A blend is two consonants that come together and they both keep their sounds. For example, think about the sl in the word slide. You can clearly hear the sound of the s and the sound of the l in the word slide.

There are several groups of blends. Some are only found at the beginning of words, some are found only at the end of words, and some can be found in either place. They include:

l-blends – bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, & sl

r-blends – br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, & tr

s-blends – sc, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, & sw

t-blends – tr, tw

ending blends – ft, lk, ld, lt, mp, nd, & nt


I love to tell kids, “A blend is two letters, put together, and you hear BOTH/TWO sounds.”

What is a Digraph?

A digraph is two consonants that come together to make ONE sound. For example, think about the sh in the word sheep. You can hear that sh makes one sound /sh/.

There are common digraphs like ch, sh, th, and wh.

There are less common digraphs like wr, kn, gn, gh, and ph.


I tell kids, “A digraph is two letters, put together, and you hear ONE sound.”

Debates about Certain Blends & Digraphs

Different reading curricula define certain letter combinations in different ways.

For example, some people say qu is a digraph while others say it’s a blend. Another couple of debated sounds are final ng and nk. Instead of teaching -ng or -nk on their own, I like to teach them as welded sounds or glued sound chunks with a vowel before them.

See more: How Many Fl Oz In Quart : Perfect Measuring » Recipefairy, How Many Fluid Ounces (Oz) In A Quart

Honestly, don’t get too hung up what you call these tricky letter combinations. It’s more important that you teach kids with how to use them in their reading and spelling than in whether you call them a blend or digraph.


Keep scrolling to snag the free multi-sensory posters then hop over to my shop and grab our NO PREP Blends & Digraphs Bundle!