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Updated: Mar 16

Duck in a truck ck spelling books the literacy hill

I love to use picture books in the clinic. A well-chosen picture book can be a fantastic literacy resource, and when you dig deep, it can showcase phonics, word study and sentence-level objectives in an engaging way.

We often start a session with a picture book. Reading to and with students is a great way for them to hear what fluent readers sound like. Picture books are also part of the resource packs that families use every week. Picture books are the 'We can read together books', and they fit perfectly with a decodable reader and sentence strips that we call 'I can read it on my own books'.

Here are the picture books we have used in sessions about CK

CK looks like just another spelling for the /k/ sound, but as with the spelling QU, there is a reason for the spelling. It isn't just another spelling choice. Curated picture books are the perfect resource to showcase spelling patterns and start engaging phonics and spelling lessons.

A CK booklist

Duck in a Truck

CK words in this story are back, duck, muck, quack, rock, struck, track, and truck.

An amusing rhyming story about a duck who gets stuck in the muck. This book has others in the series and now has a new front cover. Many of the classic books I use in the clinic are from when my kids were little, so they all have old covers.

Once your students have mastered the basic code a-z and are moving on to digraphs, it is a good idea to explore and play with words so they can learn about the structure of words. This also helps the skill of blending to read longer words.

All children need to learn how to decode —it is crucial for learning to read and fluency.

All children need to learn how word parts fit together. This is also crucial for vocabulary development, spelling, comprehension and fluency.

Adding a suffix changes the meaning. Sometimes, a suffix also changes how a word is used.

We love to use cards and Post-its to expand and explore words.

The word duck is a great word to discuss because it can be both a noun (thing) and an action (verb). This makes for an interesting discussion.

duck+s — more than one

duck+ed — I ducked my head to enter the room.

As you can imagine, the word truck can have endless possibilities.

We discussed the word truck — what does it look like for you? We each drew a picture.

We then discussed other types of trucks. How are they different?

This type of conversation builds vocab.

Where do trucks on the highway stop? TRUCK STOP

What is the stuff a truck carries called? TRUCKLOAD

This type of discussion could happen out and about, around your kitchen bench at home, or on the mat in school. Discussion, explicit instruction, and repeated practice are all crucial.

An activity like this helps words to stick as we explore, examine and define unfamiliar words.

ck spelling duck in a truck the literacy hill

Cards can be a great way to engage students if used in an explicit way to teach.

The card deck contained all words from the book plus others to show placement.


CK words in this story are back, bucket, duck, knock, stuck, unstuck.

stuck ck spelling books the literacy hill

Oliver Jeffers's books are a favourite in the clinic. A funny story about a boy who gets his kite stuck in a tree.

Pair this book with our <ck> resource pack, an excellent resource for repeated practice at school, intervention, or home.

When sorting words, a curated deck must highlight spelling patterns and create families, as this helps students connect the spelling dots. Check out the card deck here.

As we looked at the words, we discussed that the <ck> spelling is a form of doubling to show that the vowel is short. But the spelling moves to the middle if the word contains a suffix or is two syllables. It is never at the beginning.

We always write lists of words and sentences after instruction to discuss spelling, words and their meaning. This helps students see patterns as we review the spelling in lists, self-composed sentences and dictation.

ck spelling books stuck the literacy hill

This is also the perfect book to discuss irregular past tense. We also discussed what happens when the word stick ends in <er>. It becomes a completely different word sticker. Stickers to go with this session are always a bonus for the student.

Stick Man

CK words in this story are stick, Stick Man, stuck, and trick.

An adventure about Stick Man, who lives with his family in the woods. A lyrical story that has the perfect verse to sing together with kids.

stick man ck spelling books the literacy hill

We always discuss the placement of spellings as we read.

<ck> is always at the end of a word or syllable after a short vowel. It is never at the beginning, but it can move to the middle after a suffix.

Often, <c> comes before A L O R U and <k> comes before E I Y. If a <c> comes before E I Y, it represents /S/

Curated word lists are so good for speedy decoding practice. We also use lists for word building and to highlight patterns for spelling instruction. They also help my cognitive load as a ready-made reference. Check out my lists for spelling instruction here.

Next, we used the word chains for building. We always write words after building.

Adding the suffixes <-ed> or <-ing> can change the word form depending on the sentence.

rocked (verb) I rocked the baby to sleep.

rocking (adjective) The rocking motion of a boat. But back to the noun, if we say I sat in a rocking chair.

Kicking a Ball

CK words in this story are ballcock, kick, kicking, kicked, socket and tackles.

A rhyming story about the circle of life that is perfect for older students who love football.

In longer two-syllable words, the <ck> is at the end of the first syllable after the short vowel.

We investigated the two-syllable words in the story and created a list of words that end with <le>. This spelling trips up many students, but when discussed, it can help the pattern stick. <le> can be a suffix, but I teach it as a spelling as the suffix is not transparent and can be hard to discuss with students. The <e> at the end of these words creates the syllable and often sounds like /ul/.







The spelling <le> is the most common ending, followed by <al> local, medal.

Farmer Duck

CK words in this story are back, cluck, clucking, duck, luck, quack, quacking and rock.

farmer duck ck spelling books the literacy hill

'There was once a duck that had the bad luck to live with a lazy old farmer.'

The animals come to the rescue to help an overworked duck. This book lends itself so well to conversations about how the duck feels and why. 

After reading Farmer Duck, we explored the word duck. <ck> changes to <cks> to create a plural. Even though it sounds like /ks/, the sound that represents the letter <x>, it isn't — it's spelled <cks>. We discussed the spellings. Next, we read some <ck> sentences and used a sentence about a duck to change the singular word duck into the plural ducks. We also looked at what happens to the verb cluck when we add <s> cluck becomes clucks. We used several other sentences to show the pattern.

And, of course, discussing the verb duck, as in head movement, is also a great way to develop vocabulary and meaning about words. 

Lastly, we discussed the word duckling and made a list of other animal babies which use the <ling> suffix fledgling, hatchling, spiderling, and gosling. 

Fox in Socks, or is that Fox's Socks

X words in Fox in Socks are box, fox, knox,

CK words in Fox in Socks are blocks, bricks, clocks, chicks, duck, licks, luck, quick, sick, slick, socks, stack, ticks, tocks, trick and tricks.

X words in Fox's Socks are box and fox.

CK words in Fox's Socks are clock, sock and socks.

fox in socks ck spelling books the literacy hill

A fox and some socks help students explore spelling patterns.

The perfect books to showcase the plural spelling of socks. When we take time to explain and teach that socks and box may rhyme, but they are different spellings, we are supporting spelling and decoding. This type of mini-lesson helps students see that the sounds they say sometimes look different on paper. An aha moment happens, and they connect the spelling dots!

Use the books Fox's Socks and Fox in Socks to explore <ck> words with and without <s>

My student read a list of <ck> and <x> words, and we discussed the spellings. Next, we sorted some words, and my student added a couple to their own list on a whiteboard that they then put into a sentence.

A curated list of words is a fantastic resource for showcasing patterns. It is also perfect for decoding practice and fluency pairs.

ck repeated practice phonics pack the literacy hill

Read more about the CK spelling here and grab this free poster.

ck spelling instruction the literacy hill


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