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Digraph: Improve spelling with 22 word lists of 2-letter graphemes

Learn to spell hundreds of words easily with our digraph word lists. Having all these words in one place that include a digraph in them, makes learning to spell new words very engaging and fun. It is important to learn how to spell words that have a grapheme as this is critical to being able to read fluently.

These digraph word lists contain everyday words for children to use when writing poems, short stories and taking notes in their journal. Children can create their own posters, flashcards, charts and projects that display these words to improve their spelling skills during study time.

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What is a digraph and what it is not

A digraph is a grapheme made by two letters that represent one sound. The ‘ou’ in ‘soul’ is a digraph but not the ‘ou’ in ‘should’ and ‘foul’. The ‘oul’ in ‘should’ has one sound made by 3 letters, so it is a trigraph. The ‘ou’ in ‘foul’ is a diphthong as there are 2 sounds merging to make one.

The digraphs are ai, ay, aw, ea, ee, ei, ey, ew, ie, oa, oo, ou, ow, ch, ph, sc, sh, ss, gh, th, wh and wr. Each grapheme that is a digraph may represent one sound or several sounds. Here are 22 digraphs with many words that contain them to help improve a student’s spelling quickly.

Digraph word lists for 22 graphemes

ai digraph

vain, pain, chain, stain, drain, sprain, strain, domain, remain, obtain, captain, paint, contain, explain, curtain, mountain, maintain, fountain, saint, faint, taint, rain, train, gain, grain, brain, again, complain

ail, rail, mail, fail, pail, nail, sail, tail, jail, snail, frail, avail, trail, detail, daily, tailor, sailor

plait, bait, wait, waiter, await, trait, faith, portrait

paid, said, afraid, aid, raid, maid, laid, braid

maize, raisin, praise, daisy, raise, waist

aim, claim, proclaim

samurai, aisle

aw digraph

jaw, claw, paw, saw, law, straw, thaw, flaw, draw, slaw, awe, awful, raw, seesaw, outlaw, jigsaw, withdraw, coleslaw

ay digraph

may, say, pay, tray, play, day, way, stay, sway, gay, pray, clay, hay, lay, ray, spray, bay, away, okay, delay, today, stray, decay, essay, anyway, replay, airway, payday, betray, sideway, airplay, display, highway, doorway, someday, portray, freeway, sickbay

ea digraph

appeal, meal, conceal, deal, heal, health, ideal, meal, real, reveal, seal, surreal, steal, squeal, teal, veal, wealth, zeal

beat, cheat, death, defeat, eat, eaten, feat, great, heat, pleat, meat, neat, repeat, seat, sweat, threat, wheat

beak, bleak, break, creak, freak, leak, peak, sneak, speak, squeak, steak, streak, teak, weak, wreak

ahead, instead, ready, bread, bead, dead, dread, head, knead, lead, leader, mead, read, reader, spread, steady, tread

ease, easy, easily, cease, crease, fleas, grease, lease, peas, please, reason, release, season, tease

team, beam, cream, dream, gleam, ream, seam, scream, steam, stream

clean, bean, dean, lean, mean, meant, ocean, peanut, wean

eave, eavesdrop, greave, heave, heavy, heaven, leave, weave

each, reach, beach, bleach, breach, leach, teach, peach, preach

area, flea, idea, pea, plea, sea, shea, peace, tea

cheap, heap, reap, weapon

beast, breast, feast, east, least, yeast

eagle, meagre, eager, league

deaf, leaf

ee digraph

exceed, feed, freed, greed, heed, indeed, need, seed, speed, agreed, bleed, breed, deed, weed

beep, deep, creep, jeep, keep, peep, seep, sheep, sleep, steep, sweep, weep

agree, glee, see, bee, fee, free, tee, knee, tree, three, spree, free

eel, feel, kneel, peel, reel, steel, wheel

green, keen, teen, ween, seen, been, screen, queen, between

beet, feet, fleet, greet, meet, street, sweet, teeth

cheek, creek, geek, meek, leek, peek, seek, week

geese, cheese, breeze, freeze, sneeze, squeeze, wheeze

deem, seem, redeem, esteem, agreement

speech, screech, leech

beef, reef

ei digraph

conceive, receive, deceive, perceive

either, neither, conceit, deceit, receipt

rein, reindeer, vein, caffeine

feist, feisty, heist, leisure

veil, unveil, ceiling

ey digraph

they, obey, whey, grey, prey, survey, hey, convey

money, honey, kidney, chutney, chimney, cockney, journey

key, donkey, monkey, turkey, turnkey, whiskey, jockey, hockey

trolley, alley, volley, valley, pulley, barley, parsley

jersey, Malmsey, odyssey, eye, whimsey, choosey, curtsey, mousey, horsey, goosey, nosey, mosey, hosey, cosey

ew digraph

few, sew, chew, crew, dew, drew, pew, hew, blew, brew, threw, new, knew, stew, slew

ie digraph

die, lie, tie, pie

calorie, cookie, movie, beanie, hippie, junkie, genie, siege, shriek, eerie, smoothie, auntie, cutie, foodie, hoodie, bootie, baddie, goalie, birdie, weenie, bookie, hottie, veggie, softie, oldie, dearie, techie, doggie

cries, dies, flies, fiesta, kiddies, fries, lies, pies, patties, cookies, skies, ties, spies, priest

diesel, series, species, rabies

hygiene, ancient, deficient, deficiency, efficient, sufficient, patient, patience, friend, fiend

cried, fried, tried, died, lied, spied, shied, studied, varied, married, applied

grief, brief, chief, kerchief, mischief, thief, relief, belief

achieve, believe, grieve, relieve, retrieve, sieve

field, shield, yield, wield

niece, piece, masterpiece, centrepiece, earpiece, showpiece, headpiece, timepiece

oa digraph

oat, boat, lifeboat, speedboat, bloat, coat, raincoat, waistcoat, goat, gloat, float, throat, afloat, loath, loathe

approach, broach, coach, poach, roach

boast, coast, coastline, roast, toast

oak, cloak, croak, soak

hoax, coax

broad, download, overload, load, truckload, road, roadblock, toad

moan, groan, loan

coal, goal, foal, charcoal


foam, foamy

soap, soapy, handsoap

oaf, loaf, meatloaf

oo digraph

blood, good, wood, hood, stood, food, flood, mood

boot, booth, foot, loot, moot, root, soot, scoot, shoot, toot, tooth

book, cook, crook, hook, jook, look, nook, took, shook, spook, cookie

cool, drool, fool, pool, school, spool, stool, tool, wool

boom, broom, bloom, doom, gloom, groom, loom, room, zoom

blooper, coop, poop, droop, hoop, loop, scoop, stoop, snoop, swoop, whoop, troop

goof, hoof, poof, proof, roof, spoof, woof

boost, choose, goose, loose, moose, noose, swoosh

moon, noon, soon, spoon, toon, saloon, maroon, balloon

ooze, booze, snooze, doozy, woozy

poodle, doodle, noodle, toodles

boogie, scrooge, stooge, googly

too, woo, zoo, igloo

ou digraph

you, through, throughout, cougar, souvenir, acoustic, coupon, bouquet, soup, group, youth, route, routine, boutique, wound

cough, rough, tough, trough, enough, lough, couple, country, courage, encourage, double, trouble, young, touch, ghoul

dangerous, jealous, gorgeous, numerous, generous, famous, humongous, fabulous, joyous, pompous, nervous, wondrous, enormous, righteous, courteous, poisonous

soul, limousine, shoulder, poultry, boulder, mould, moulding

ow digraph

owe, tow, row, bow, know, show, snow, low, glow, below, flow, blow, slow, sow

bellow, swallow, shallow, follow, hollow, yellow, fellow, pillow, mellow

throw, grow, crow, row, bow

arrow, barrow, sorrow, sparrow borrow, narrow

window, shadow, meadow

own, disown, thrown, known, flown, mown, renown, shown

ch digraph

chew, chop, chop, chap, chat, chin, chip, chief, chore, choke, chant, champ, chess, chick, chalk, chair. chill, chive, cheer, chuck, charm, chest, choose, chose, chosen, chasse, cheap, check, child, cheer, cheese, cheque, cherry, chance, change, choice, charge, cheetah, chocolate, challenge, chicken, children, champion, chapter, chapter, charity, chamber, cherish

much, rich, such, ouch, each, arch, munch, belch, ranch, bunch, couch, peach, pouch, porch, teach, coach, touch, lunch, bench, beach, punch, roach, perch, hunch, reach, march, which,  brunch, scorch, stench, slouch, quench, crunch, branch, church, launch, search, speech, attach, trench, stench, bleach, crouch, grouch, broach, preach, brooch, detach, grinch

chord, choir, chaos, chorus, character, chemical, chemistry, charisma, technology, psychology

chef, champaign, chivalry

ph digraph

phone, photograph, phoneme

graph, morph, triumph, paragraph, autograph, telegraph, polygraph, digraph, trigraph, quadgraph, homograph, homophone

sh digraph

shy, she, shin, shoe, ship, shed, show, ship, shop, shut, shot, shed, shun, shave, shake, sheep, shine, shark, sheen, shout, shack, shred, shame, shield, shoot, shelf, shore, shell, shirt, share, shock, sheet, shall, shift, shown, shape, short, shriek, shrimp, shower, should, shadow, shiver, shrink

ash, sash, hush, posh, mash, lash, rash, dish, rush, push, dash, wash, dish, wish, fish, bush, cash, blush, smash, leash, stash, trash, clash, flush, brush, harsh, marsh, crush, slush, flesh, flash, fresh, crash, plush, slash, publish

sc digraph

science, scientist, scientific, scene, scent, scissors, scenario

conscious, conscience, luscious


ss digraph

pass, puss, hiss, moss, boss, mess, bass, kiss, pass, less, miss, bossy, mossy, posse, grass, bliss, bless, glass, gloss, abyss, sassy, missy, brass, issue, lasso, cross, press, gross, guess, dress, essay, fussy, class, asset, floss, assist, unless, assume, stress, lesson, hassle, recess, obsess, gossip, tissue, lesson, vessel, scissors, harass

passion, session, mission, pressure, Russian, fissure, professional

gh digraph

cough, rough, tough, laugh, trough enough

ghost, ghastly, ghoul, ghee, ghetto


th digraph

think, thank, thought, through, throughout, thorough, thumb, thick, thin, thug, thud, thaw, thorn, thief, throw, threw, theme, third, three, thirteen, thing, thump, throne, threat, theory, thirty, thread, throat, thrown

the, this, that, then, there, their, thus, them, they, than, these, those, though, although

wh digraph

who, why, what, when, where, whom, whose, while, which, wheel, whip, whole, whale, white, wheat, whisk, whisker, whistle, whisper, whether, whereas, whereby, whack, whiplash, wheeze

wr digraph

write, wrote, wrong, wrist, wrath, wry, wren, wrack, wreck, wreak, wrap, wring, wrung, wrestle, writer, wrench, wrangle, wrinkle, wrought, written, wrecked, writing, wreathe, wreckage, wriggle


The word lists for these 22 digraphs can be used to create posters, flashcards, charts, short stories and poems. By reading and writing these words repeatedly, learning to spell them is easier and more fun. When students master spelling, reading fluently will happen smoothly.

See also:

Alphabet: 7 major things to know about letters and sounds

Trace alphabet: Download 27 free worksheets

Learn alphabet: Download 27 free worksheets to colour

Words -an ending: Download 6 free worksheets to trace

Words -at ending: Download 8 free worksheets to trace

Words -am ending: Download 5 free worksheets to trace

Two letter words: Download 5 free worksheets for tracing

Trace numbers: Download 32 free worksheets for practice

Learn numbers: Download 32 free worksheets to colour

Vowels – syllables, digraphs, trigraphs, long, short and silent

Consonants – digraphs, trigraphs, hard, soft, blends, silent sounds

Spelling rules for ch, tch, ck, k, oi, oy, ou, ow, ie, ei

Affixes – rules for adding prefixes and suffixes

Phonological and phonemic awareness: Help a struggling reader with sounds

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