Phoneme ch

This language lesson is designed for 4 to 6-year-old children. It guides the children with distinct sounds the phoneme ch produces and how it is used to form different words. 

The primary skill for literacy development is based on a thorough knowledge of phonemes. Practicing phonemes gives children an edge or lifeline to read, spell, and write many words accurately. 

Learning about different phonemes also helps the children to avoid inefficient practices to read or spell words with wrong sounds, especially in distinguishing slightly different words like here in ch and tch. In order to master the reading skill, children must first be able to identify phonics and phonemes while reading.

What are Phonemes?

Phonemes are the basic vocal gestures of a language, recycled to create all of its words. The English language has about 42 distinct phonemes. All the spoken words are constructed from these 42 interchangeable movements of our mouths.

A phoneme has no specific meaning or purpose; however, it makes words sound different or change their meaning.

Benefits of Learning Phonemes:

  • It helps children to excel in reading
  • It helps to improve vocabulary
  • It helps children to be imaginative and empathetic
  • It improves memory and concentration

What is Phoneme Segmentation?

As discussed earlier, a phoneme is a unit of sound in speech. To read and spell any word accurately, the child should understand the number of phonemes a word has which is called phoneme segmentation.

It is better to break down or segment the word as per the sounds of phonemes and not as per the letters. Allow the child to speak out the word loud so that the child can focus on the sounds. For example, the word ‘ran’ has 3 phonemes – /r/, /a/, /n/ and the word ‘grab’ also has 3 phonemes – /gr/, /a/, /b/. Though grab has 4 letters, but we can count the number of phonemes as 3.

In our previous video lesson, we discussed the phoneme ‘ar’. In this video, we will learn about the phoneme ‘ch’. It is one of the most common phonemes that is introduced to a child when teaching blends. It is also the most confusing phoneme because of its pronunciation changes when used in different words.

Prerequisites to Comprehend with Phoneme ch

Before moving to learn two letter phoneme, 

What is the Phoneme ch and 4 Types of Sounds it Produces?

The sound of the phoneme ch is unvoiced and vocal cords do not vibrate while producing any of the sounds for the phoneme ch.

The phoneme ‘CH’ is made of 2 letters, namely c, and h. When these two letters come together, they produce 4 kinds of sounds. Let us understand how and when ch produces these 4 sounds.

  • The phoneme ch produces /ch/ sound:
    • When ch is in the end and comes after a consonant, then it is pronounced as /ch/. For example – church, bench, punch.
    • When ch is in the end and comes after a vowel team, then it is pronounced as /ch/. For example, teach, preach, beach, etc.
  • The phoneme ch produces /tch/ sound:
    • When ch is in the end and comes after a one-letter vowel, then it is pronounced as /tch/ sound. For example, catch, match, hatch, batch, etc.
    • /tch/ sound will never come at the beginning of a word.
  • The phoneme ch produces /k/ or /kh/ sound:
    • In words of Ancient Greek origin, the phoneme /ch/ spells as the /k/ or /kh/ sound. For example, anchor, chemist, school, etc.
    • If the word starts with “chr” it’s most likely to make the /k/ sound. For example, chrome, chrysalis, chronic, chronometer, etc.
  • The phoneme ch produces /sh/ sound:
    • In words of French origin, the phoneme ch produces /sh/ sound. For example –  chef, parachute, machine, etc.

The words that follow the 3 and 4 rules are often to be learned rather than to be understood.

How to Form Words with Phoneme ch and Different Sounds it Produces?

In this video lesson, picture cards and movable alphabets are used to help the child make new words using the ch phoneme that produces /ch/ and /tch/ sound. 

Words that Follow Rule 1

Read the following words with /ch/ sound following the above rules:

  • P + or + ch = porch
  • B + en + ch = bench
  • L + un + ch = lunch
  • C + oa + ch = coach
  • L + ee + ch = leech
  • P + ou + ch = pouch

In the above examples, the phoneme ch comes at the end of the word and is preceded by a consonant or a vowel team. Hence, it produces /ch/ sound.

Words that Follow Rule 2

Now, let’s read the below words:

  • P + i + tch = pitch
  • Cl + u + tch = clutch
  • Sw + i + tch = switch
  • Sc + o + tch = scotch

Here, the phoneme ch is in the end and succeeds a short vowel, hence, it produces /tch/ sound.

Words that Follow Rule 3

Now, let us read the following words:

  • An + ch + or = anchor
  • Ch + or + us = chorus
  • Ch + ar + a + c + t + er = character
  • E + ch + o = echo
  • Sch + oo + l = school
  • Chr + o + m + e = chrome

The above words are of ancient Greek origin or begin with chr hence they produce the sound of /k/ or /kh/

Words that Follow Rule 4

Read the following words with /sh/

  • Ch + e + f = chef
  • Ch + a + l + et = chalet
  • M + a + ch + in + e = machine

These words are of French origin and tend to produce the sound of /sh/ for the phoneme ch.

Exceptions of ch Rules

The English language has exceptions to every rule. Here are some exceptions to the ch  rules mentioned above.

Read these words: much, detach, ostrich, such, spinach, rich. In these words, the phoneme ch is preceded by a single short vowel, but no -tch is placed at the end. Hence produces the /ch/ sound only.

Phoneme/ Digraph ch Reading Readiness

Make a child familiar with voiced- unvoiced consonants, short-long vowels, and basic phonemes to help them grasp a thorough knowledge of phoneme ch. Here are a few questions that can be asked to help the child read the correct spelling of a word.

  1. The word carries a single syllable or double?
  2. Is the vowel that precedes the phoneme ch is short or long?
  3. Is there a vowel team before the phoneme ch?

Once the child answers the above questions in yes or no, encourage them to look into the rules and spell the word. Give a lot of activities and reading to help the child understand the phoneme ch rule.

Fun Activities to Introduce and Form ch Words

Activities are a fun way that makes learning easy. Some activities that can help the child understand the concept and sound of phoneme ch are mentioned below –

  • Prepare a chart of the rules that are followed by the phoneme ch. Allow the child to go through them and read some words aloud.
  • Make a spelling quiz wherein leave the last sound or the first is to be filled by the child. Practice different words.
  • Give a reading book to the child and let them mark the words that end with /ch/ or /tch/. Ask them to write them down. They can now read those words aloud.
  • Ask the child to form a few sentences or a small paragraph or some storyline using the words with different sounds that phoneme ch produces.
  • A jingle with different sounds of phoneme ch could be an exciting idea for the children. For example, I packed my lunch, wore a watch and went to the church…. and so on; get creative!

Tip- It is easier for the children to understand the concept of /tch/ first and then the /ch/ sound. In the beginning of the phoneme ch lessons, avoid combining /ch/ and /tch/ sounds together.

Watch the video and ask the child to repeat this activity. Encourage them to make different words with ch phonemes and add more words to their vocabulary.

Related Phonemes Videos:

For more language resources, click here.

Video Created by: Joanne Shango


  • How many sounds does phoneme ch produce?

The phoneme ch produces 4 different sounds – 

    1. /ch sound: bench, porch, lunch, punch, etc 
    2. /tch sound: catch, match, hatch, batch, etc
    3. /k or /kh sound: anchor, chemist, school, etc
    4. /sh sound: chef, machine, chute, etc
  • Is ch a digraph?

The phoneme ‘CH’ is made of 2 letters, namely c and h.  Since these two letters form a single phoneme, we call it a digraph. The digraph that represents the “ch” sound is /ch/.

  • Why does the phoneme ch sound like k?

In words of Ancient Greek origin, the phoneme /ch/ spells as the /k/ or /kh/ sound. For example, ache, chaos, psyche, etc.

  • Why does the phoneme ch sound like sh?

In words of French origin, the phoneme ch produces /sh/ sound. For example – chalet, crochet, and brochure.


  • English
  • Language
  • language development
  • primary
  • primary level