How to Teach Hard and Soft th to Young Kids

Updated on September 23, 2018
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and had been teaching for more than 30 years. I also write fiction and non-fiction stories.

Soft and Hard th

The lesson for young kids is getting more complicated as you keep going but don’t worry because it is becoming simpler for them. The truth is, as you go on teaching the children, everything becomes easier for them to understand as they become familiarized with new reading skills every day.

The next lesson after the digraphs –nk and –ng is the th blend. The th blend can be hard th and soft th. The hard th is pronounced like (d) while the soft th is pronounced like (t). 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 of 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 tell the children that th can be pronounced like /d/ or /t/, to make it simpler for them to understand.

Kids Learn More If They Are 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

Reading is always part of teaching phonics. When children read reads, 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.

Copying

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

Games are always fun for children. They make the children alive and more focused in 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 makes 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 sums up effective learning for the kids.

Sample worksheet for th:

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    • profile image

      ESL teacher 

      10 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Felisa Daskeo 

      5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

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

    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 

      5 years ago from India

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

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