Seriously, teachers–this K and CK Spelling rule is the gift that keeps on giving! It makes spelling so much easier for beginning readers because it applies to so many single-syllable words. Plus, it’s reliable – when a short vowel sound directly precedes the /k/ sound, write ck. If there’s any other consonant or long vowel sound preceding the /k/ sound, go with k. Have students listen for those long and short vowel sounds!
What students need to know before the k and ck spelling rule
Help your students become syllable-sound pros! By teaching them how to spot closed and long vs. short vowels.They need to know about the closed syllable. Make sure not to ask your students to spell with k or ck until they can confidently distinguish between the long vowel sound and the short vowel sound. They also must be able to orthographically map 4 or 5 sound words before practicing with the k ck spelling rule. It is also known as the “Milk Truck Rule”
Steps to Teaching the K and CK Spelling Rule
Discovery through Highlighting Word Lists
Give students word lists of one-syllable words ending in k and ck. Have them look carefully at the spelling. Have children focus on the end of a word with the letters ck and encourage them to notice the pattern of words spelled with the digraph ck only occurs directly after a single short vowel. Have students highlight that single vowel.
Then have students focus on the words ending in the letter <k>. Ask students to highlight the letters that proceed the letter <k>at the end of example words. This helps students see the long vowel teams and consonants before the <k>.
Use an Anchor Chart and Questions to Guide
As teachers, it can be useful to ask students guiding questions when helping them become familiar with this spelling rule. Here are some helpful questions:
- Is this a one-syllable word?
- What sound do you hear as the last sound in the word?
- Is there a short vowel sound right before the /k/ sound?
- If yes the /K/ sound will be spelled <ck>.
Otherwise, if you hear long vowels or consonant sound /l/ /n/ or /r/ just go for the letter K! All that practice with lots of examples will make a difference in mastering this particular skill so don’t forget to provide lots of opportunities along the way.
Flip those words
Let the fun begin! Get creative and help students sharpen their listening skills with word-sorting activities. I created some picture cards flip resource that offers a unique twist on standard worksheets to assist learners in making the right choice when spelling words with <k> and <ck>. They are FREE so teach students to look for a short sound marked with a breve or a long sound with a vowel team or an r-controlled vowel. It’s sure to be an entertaining learning experience for all!
Review At the Start of Each Lesson
Give your students a fun way to practice their k and ck words with an interactive spelling activity. Let them practice the fundamentals of breaking down each word into its individual sounds.
Use a Free orthographic mapping template for teaching these skills. Then apply what they’ve learned about the new material when it comes to using correct spellings in sentences. Sound tough? It doesn’t have to be! With some assistance -and a bit of curiosity- they’ll soon master these patterns like pros!
Games Games Games
Take spelling practice to the next level by playing a game with your student! Create lists of words that have k and ck and challenge them to correctly write each one. If they get it right, let ’em roll dice for some added fun – move along a game board as you progress towards 20 or 30 points; if feeling extra ambitious up the stakes even higher and try reaching 100 in color-coded fashion on an interactive hundreds chart over multiple sessions. Then use the words they spell in a great sorting activity to discover the different patterns.
Have Your Students Teach the Concept
Expand student understanding of the CK rule by having them “be the teacher.” Have students explain how much they have learned by explaining the rule to other students,or parents. Not only does this help them solidify their grasp on the concept but it motivates them and shows the teacher where the gaps are when the kids are the “teachers.”
Build Longer Words Using Compound Words
Encourage older students to make longer words by using word cards. Make the word ‘check’ into ‘paycheck’. Make ‘stack’ into ‘haystack’. Or add some prefixes and suffixes to words. The word ‘lock’ can become “unlock” or “relock”. Then add some suffixes and make ‘unlocking’ or ‘unlockable’
Even younger learners can conquer some of these multi-syllable words. Later you can teach students the “Music Trick” rule which says a one-syllable word that ends in the sound /ik/ will be spelled with <ick>. But a multi-syllable word that ends in the sound /ik/ will be spelled with <ic>.
Using a traditional phonics program, many teachers may not teach the spelling rules that can help students common words, such as the “Milk Truck Rule”. When a child spells a word like ‘desk’ as ‘desck’ the teacher could simply give the child the correct answer by saying, “That word ends with the letter <k>.” – but this kind of learning is far from effective for many students.
Teaching in A Structured Literacy Approach
Students learn more effectively when they have rules that they can apply to many words. This is especially true for struggling readers and students with dyslexia. In dyslexia intervention, it takes multiple repetitions and several lessons before children can map out new words into their memories and use these rules on similar example words like ‘bask’ or ‘brisk’! Spelling Rules like this help to bring understanding – let’s help our learners discover meaningful lessons along every step of their journey!
Q: What is the K and CK Spelling Rule (The Milk Truck Rule)?
A: When a short vowel sound directly precedes the /k/ sound, write ck. If there’s any other consonant or long vowel sound preceding the /k/ sound, spell with k.
Examples of words that follow the K and CK Spelling Rule include: tick, rock, pack, back, stuck, and lock. Examples of words that end in a k instead of a ck are: link, mask, task, seek peak and silk.
Q: What is the Music Trick Rule?
A: The Music Trick rule states that a one-syllable word that ends in the sound /ik/ will be spelled with <ick>, while a multi-syllable word that ends in the sound /ik/ will be spelled with <ic>. Examples of words that follow this rule are: brick (1 syllable) and magic (2 syllables).
Q: How can I help my student learn the K and CK Spelling Rule?
A: Use my free orthographic mapping template and free picture flip cards to teach these skills. They are located in the freebie library. Apply what they’ve learned about the new material when it comes to using correct spellings in sentences. To make spelling practice fun, you can play games with your student using lists of words with either ck or k. Have the students explain what they have learned by teaching others and encourage them to construct longer words using compound words, prefixes and suffixes.