How to teach children when to add ‘ck’ at the end of words?


A follower on my Facebook page abcJenny, was helping her child with an activity, when he came across the word rock.

The follower sent me a question asking how to explain to children when to use the letter combination ck to represent the /k/ sound at the end of a word.

To help teach children this skill, we need to go back a step to check whether a child can hear the difference between the short and long vowel sounds in words.

The short vowel sound is:

a as in apple

e as in egg

i as in igloo

o as in octopus

u as in up

The long vowel is either explained to students as the letter name or in words such as:

a as in play

e as in week

i as in like

o as in nose

u as in use

Once your child can hear the difference between the long and short vowel sound, they can then begin to think about the letters we use to represent the different sounds.

When you hear the /k/ sound at the end of the word, and it is followed by a short vowel sound, then the /k/ sound is written as a ck.

Examples; rock, sock, back, pack, shack, lick, tick, suck, luck, peck, check

To help your child hear the difference in the long and short vowel sound, you can use flashcards (free download below) which they can sort into long and short vowel sounds. Then they will discover, with a little bit of adult help, that the words which have the short vowel sound end in ck.

Often words with the long vowel sound will end in a_e,   i_e,   u_e    o_e

make, lake, take, like, trike, spike, nuke, poke, stoke, coke

Of course there are many different combinations which have a single k (never a c at the end) such as week, steak, peak.

However, to begin with ask your child to hear the difference between the long and short vowel and then progress from there.

Free word document with flashcards – ck flashcards

Thanks for visiting this site, feel free to ask any questions on your child’s reading and writing development below or on my Facebook page.

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