CK Digraph Words and Sounds

Ck digraph examples, word lists and free worksheets and games for phonics teaching.

Ck Digraph Sounds

The ‘ck’ digraph is a relatively common grapheme in written English and it only represents one phoneme (sound).  It is used in high-frequency words such as back and duck and many other words that young children are familiar with. 

The sound associated with ck is represented by the symbol /k/ in popular phonics programmes such as Jolly Phonics and Letters and sounds and the same symbol (k) is used in The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

Although the ck digraph is quite common, the /k/ phoneme is more frequently represented in words by an individual letter c as in cat or cut or an individual letter k as in key or drink.  Several other letter combinations can also represent the same sound, as discussed in the Sounds American video below:

Teaching the Ck digraph

This is quite a simple digraph for children to learn because it represents the same sound as the individual letters.  Ck is also quite common in simple words and it’s one of the first digraphs taught in popular phonics schemes such as the UK government’s Letters and Sounds and the Jolly Phonics programme.

Some teachers describe the letter c as ‘curly c’ and the letter k as ‘kicking k’ and they introduce the digraph by saying:

“When curly ‘c’ and kicking ‘k’ are next to each other, we only need to say the ‘k’ sound once”. 

You don’t have to use these descriptions for the letters c and k, but it is important to explain to children that they only need to pronounce one sound when they see these letters together in words.

You could also point out that ‘ck’ is usually found at the end of words, never at the beginning of words.

Show them how to decode and blend some simple examples of words from the word list below and get them to read to read some words for you.

In addition to practising reading the words, they should also practise spelling them. 

If they have trouble doing this, show them how to make the words with alphabet cards.  Say the sounds as you put the cards down, then shuffle them and ask them to make up the word again. 

When you are demonstrating spelling these words with alphabet cards, put the c and k down at the same time as you say the sound just once.

See our articles on teaching digraphs and spelling with phonics for more guidance.

You can also use some online resources to provide variety.  For example, Reading Bear has a set of presentations for ‘ck’ words (2nd block down in the green section underneath the short vowel presentations).

The short video below by the Bookhogs channel also demonstrates blending some simple words containing the ck digraph:

Mr Thorne teaches Geraldine the giraffe some words containing ck in this video:

The narrator demonstrates how to segment and spell some ck digraph words in the video below.  However, children need to be familiar with letter names as well as letter sounds to get the full benefit from this video.  Children in England don’t usually learn letter names at the start of phonics instruction.

Ck Digraph Word List

We’ve split the lists into different categories in alphabetical order to help you locate words you might want to use with your students. 

Initially, it can help to use words that students are familiar with, but as they get more proficient, it’s good to introduce some new words to expand their vocabulary and refine their decoding skills.

Click on the following link or the image below to download a free printable pdf version of this word list.

One-syllable words with regular spelling patterns and no other digraphs:

Beck, black, block, brick, buck, clack, click, clock, cluck, crack, deck, dock, duck, flack, flick, flock, frock, hack, heck, hick, hock, Jack, jock, kick, lack, lick, lock, luck, mock, muck, neck, nick, pack, peck, pick, puck, rack, Rick, rock, ruck, sack, sick, slack, slick, snack, sock, speck, stack, suck, tack, tick, track, truck, wick, yuck.

One-syllable words with other digraphs or some irregular spelling patterns:

Check, chick, chock, chuck, knack, knock, quack, quick, shack, shock, thick, whack, wreck.

Two or more syllable words – may contain other digraphs or irregular spelling patterns:

Attack, beckon, bicker, bucket, buckle, chicken, chopsticks, cracker, cricket, drumsticks, Icky, gecko, jackpot, packet, peacock, pickle, pocket, rocket.

Pseudo-words Containing the Ck Digraph

You will notice that we’ve also included pseudo-words in the word list.  These are sometimes described as non-words or nonsense words and they’re used in some phonics programmes and in the UK Phonics Screening Check

These words are designed to assess whether children are capable of decoding words that are unfamiliar to them. 

Normally, a pseudo-word will be presented next to an image of a monster or an alien, and the child is told that the word represents the creature’s name.  The examples below are from the 2017 phonics screening check.

pseudo words

As you can see, some of the pseudo-words contain digraphs and blends, so we’ve included some example pseudo words below that contain the ck digraph.  You could use some of these as practice words for a screening check or as part of a less formal assessment of a child’s decoding ability. 

Some of the words in the list might have a real meaning in some regions, groups or sub-cultures, but they will be unfamiliar to most children so can be used alongside genuine pseudo-words.

Bock, Brock, Frack, Geck, Guck, Huck, Keck, Nock, Pock, Reck.

Ck Digraph Worksheets

We’ve created the following worksheets that you to download for free.  Click on the headings or the images below to access these resources.

Find the Ck Words

Children need to decide which pictures represent words that contain the ck digraph.  They can also try to spell the words.  We’ve also created a PowerPoint version of this resource if you want to display it to a class. 

Find the Ck Words Image

Fill in the Missing Ck Words

Each of the sentences on the worksheet has a word missing that contains the ‘ck’ digraph. Children need to fill in the missing word to complete each sentence. We’ve also created a PowerPoint version of this resource if you want to display it to a class. 

Fill in the missing Ck words

Circle the Final Digraph – ck, ll, ng, ss

Children have to choose the correct digraph to complete the spelling of each word. 

Circle the final digraph ck, ll, ng, ss
Circle the digraph that represents the final sound of the picture.


Circle the Correct Digraph – ck, ch, th, sh

Children have to choose the correct digraph to complete the spelling of each word. 

Circle the correct digraph ch, ck, sh, th

Ck Digraph Phonics Games Online

The spellzone website has some free games using words containing the ck digraph.  They also have a variety of other games that require you to sign up and pay a subscription, but they do offer a free trial.

Click on the following link for the spellzone games:

The SplashLearn website also has some activities for practising blending and spelling ck words.  You have to sign up to access all the activities but it’s free to try it.

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