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How to Teach the Hard and Soft "Th" Sound to Young Kids

I am a certified teacher and have been tutoring young children for more than 30 years. I am sharing my experience in the tutorial business.

Can your kids make this sound yet? Do they know how to read it on the page?

Can your kids make this sound yet? Do they know how to read it on the page?

Soft and Hard "Th"

This lesson blends –nk and –ng is the th. The th digraph can be hard th and soft th. The digraph th could be initial, medial or final. For my class of young children, I only teach the initial th and the final th. For the final th, I only teach the soft sound.

Since this is the first time for the children to learn about the soft sound and the hard sound; you don’t want them confused and bored by explaining what is soft and hard. Just read the words and the children will follow.

Kids learn more if they're happy

Kids learn more if they're happy

Now You Can Give Examples of Words With Th

Here are words with hard th—

  • that
  • this
  • these
  • than
  • there
  • though
  • them
  • their
  • then

Here are words with soft th—

Initial th:

  • thing
  • thank
  • thesis
  • thermos
  • think
  • thought
  • thorn
  • thin

Final th:

  • bath
  • path
  • moth
  • math
  • both

Fun Activities for Hard and Soft th


Reading is always part of teaching phonics. When children read words, phrases, and finally sentences, they automatically register what they have read in their mind; that makes it easier for them to absorb and retain what they have learned.

As I have always stated in my past articles; choral and individualized reading are always helpful tools for teaching children.


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Whatever lesson children copy, are better registered in their mind and this makes it easier for them to understand then retain what they have learned. Aside from developing their mental skills, copying also develops motor skills.


Games are always fun for children. They make the children alive and more focused on the lesson. Games must be related to the subject matter of course because your purpose here is for lesson enhancement.

Story Time

Young kids love stories especially if they read the story themselves. Make sure that the story is easy to read and simple for them to easily grasp. If the children understand what they are reading, the more they enjoy and have fun learning.

Rhymes and Poems

You can use rhymes and poems too for teaching the lesson about soft and hard th. This is a fun activity and children love reciting rhymes and poems too so this will make for an interesting way to teach hard and soft th.

Paper Work Exercises

Paperwork exercises are always important when teaching young children. The more exercises they do, the better they learn. The actual and hands-on experiences of children in the classroom make learning more effective. If they actually do something, they could relate more to the lesson which makes learning for them more productive.

All these activities sum up effective learning for the kids.

Sample Worksheet for Th Sound:

This might help your kids!

This might help your kids!


Felisa daskeo on November 17, 2019:

Thank you Jackson n. Watkins for your kind words.

Jackson n.Watkins on November 17, 2019:

I am happy of your work it will be use as guide to me

Felisa Daskeo (author) from Manila, Philippines on September 28, 2018:

Thank you for your constructive comments. I have made some changes in my hub and corrected the mistakes.

Jodina (Native Eng speaker, 30 yrs teaching experience) on September 26, 2018:

I don't have much experience teaching children, so I appreciate your ideas, and will put them to use, Thank you.

I'd like to pass on something helpful to you... in your profile/tagline, it is only correct to say "...had been teaching for 30 years..." if you no longer teach or had been teaching 30 years when some event happened to interrupt it, according to the correct use of the past perfect. You should substitute the word 'had' with 'have'.

Also, I confirm the observation of a fellow commenter: th is never pronounced like D or T, it is either voiced or aspirated and has it's own vocal formation which is different from D and T.

Wishing you the best.

ESL teacher on November 27, 2017:

Good information, however a HUGE mistake often made by those who speak English as a second language is mispronouncing the hard and soft TH. A hard TH is NOT a 'd' sound. And a soft TH is NOT the 't' sound.

Felisa Daskeo (author) from Manila, Philippines on June 19, 2013:

thank you jabelufiroz, for an inspiring comment. I do want to share all my teaching experience to others so that they can use them.

Firoz from India on June 18, 2013:

Voted up useful awesome for your great job. Really useful for kids. Keep sharing quality articles.

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