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Munch a Batch of Cookies

Munch a Batch of Cookies

Let’s chat about the challenge of matching the correct spelling for /ch/ when you have a bunch of ways to spell it. It really is a cinch if you ditch the guessing and snatch the rule from this catch-y blog entry!

Okay, okay, enough of that chatter. Yes, I suppose I am a much better teacher than I am a poet, but the sentiment remains the same. Many of our students struggle with the correct spelling for the sound /ch/.

Why is that?

Let me divert for a moment to an analogous story...
As a child growing up in small-town Wisconsin, I discovered that if I wanted to be one of the “cool kids,” I had to learn how to bowl. So, I took to the lanes trying every method imaginable.

1. Photo by Michelle McEwen on Unsplash

In an attempt to keep my ball out of the gutter, I tried bowling right-handed, left-handed,  and sometimes even two-handed! Should I walk or run up to the lane? Well, needless to  say, this wasn’t a very efficient way to get better at bowling. I finally asked a friend to  teach me how to bowl. It turns out, there are strategies for every possible bowling  situation! As an awkward preteen, I would have never guessed these strategies on my  own.  

This is not unlike our students who struggle with spelling, grasping at any possible  spelling combination until they settle on one that might look right. On the other hand,  explicit instruction of spelling rules removes the guesswork from spelling, allowing our  students more mental space for all of that fantastic writing content!

Now, back to the topic of spelling /ch/…

Getting Back to the /Ch/-/Ch/-Chatter

Let’s talk about prerequisite knowledge first.
Your student will need the following skills before you can begin teaching
this rule:

  • All short vowel names and sounds
  • All consonant names and sounds.
  • The difference between a consonant and a vowel
  • Able to identify “before” and “after” while sequencing sounds in reading order
  • Distinguish the difference between /ch/ and /ck/ phonemes
  • Understand what digraphs are, how to identify them in a word, and the letter-sound correspondences. I define digraphs in this blog.

Teaching /ch/ and Making Cookies

Now that we have our “ingredients” sorted out, let’s get to cooking! I know, the metaphors are getting a bit tiring, so let me add some clarity. Here’s our rule:

“Always use TCH after a short vowel—otherwise use CH.”

Here at Silver Moon, we can’t have a spelling rule without a catchy phrase to help us remember it, and this one is absolutely delicious!

Munch a Batch of Cookies

This rule brings back the multisensory experience of indulging in a fresh batch of fresh, gooey chocolate chip cookies. Here’s how that rule shakes out:

Munch reminds us that we use a CH after a consonant (or long vowel).

Batch reminds us that we use TCH after a short vowel.

Exceptions to the Rule:

There are a few words that break this rule! These words are:
*Such          *Much          *Rich          *Which

Important Tips To Consider...

  • Prompt your student to focus first on the letter directly BEFORE the /ch/.
    It’s important to give logic and sequence to t this rule. This is one of those rules where sequence makes a difference. Don’t assume that your student’s thought process is linear.
  • CH and TCH both make the same /ch/ sound. The ‘T’ in TCH is silent.
    Practice by pointing to each digraph as your students says them out loud.
  • Provide your student with a resource that already has the rule written
    This allows you to focus on what matters most: learning and applying the rule. I highly suggest the Silver Moon Spelling Rules cards complete with illustrations for this rule. Both student and instructor sets of cards can be found here.
  • Practice using both real words and nonsense words.
    You may find that students have learned to memorize a lot of words. This is especially common when working with older students. Therefore, it’s difficult to know for sure if your student has really learned the spelling rule to the point of generalization (note that this is the ‘good kind’ of generalization). Using a mix of real words and nonsense words helps you better understand what your student knows and eliminates the memorization variable.
  • Once teaching and initial practice is underway, recite this rule out loud with your student, gradually fading any visual prompting until your student can verbalize the rule independently.

Finally, the Free Resources

If you’re a busy parent or teacher, you probably don’t find yourself with loads of time on your hands. That’s why I created the following FREE reproducibles. And the best part? All the work is done for you. Just print and teach!

Munch a Batch of Cookies Reproducibles

If you found this blog helpful, you can find our other spelling topics HERE, and don’t forget to check out our complete guide to spelling at

2. Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

Written by:
Kate Wagner, BSE
Reading Interventionist, Remote Learning Coach

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