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5 Fun Activities To Help Your Child Learn Double Consonant Words

by | Apr 15, 2022 | Core Skills

Double consonant words can be difficult for kids to understand. As they’re learning, they’ll need a lot of practice to help them remember to add a second consonant when appropriate.

For example, there’s only one letter difference in the words “stared” and “starred,” but it’s an important letter. That extra “r” completely changes the meaning of the word. “Starred” is one of many double consonant words your child will learn to read and spell.

To help with this critical reading skill, we’ve put together a guide on double consonant words. In addition to information on when you need to add an extra letter, you’ll find five engaging activities to let your child learn through play.

What Are Double Consonant Words?

Kid learning double consonant words

Before we dive into double consonant words, let’s briefly review what a consonant is.

The English language divides letters into two groups: consonants and vowels. There are 21 consonant letters — B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Y, and Z.

Every other letter is a vowel — A, E, I, O U. (Well, sometimes Y is also a vowel, but we’ll get into that another time.)

Double consonant words have two consonant letters side by side.

One spelling rule states that you’ll double the final consonant in a one-syllable word only if the word ends in one vowel followed by one consonant and you are adding an ending that begins with a vowel, like “ing” or “ed.”

For example, “clap” is a one-syllable word with a short vowel followed by one consonant as the last letter. When you add a suffix that begins with a vowel, such as “ing,” you’ll need to double that last consonant to spell the word correctly. When you do, you get the word “clapping.”

You’d also add the double consonant if you wrote the word in the past tense, “clapped.” However, the term “claps” doesn’t need an extra “p.” That’s because the suffix “s” doesn’t start with a vowel.

With that review under our belt, let’s turn to when your child should be learning this skill.

When Do Kids Learn To Read And Spell Double Consonant Words?

Young girl reading a book under a tree

The ability to read and spell double consonant words typically happens around third grade. By this time, most kids have a firm understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds.

They can also read and spell different one- and two-syllable words. They’ll need to start doubling letters as they begin to read and spell longer, more complex words.

Of course, every child is different. So don’t be surprised if your child is learning this skill a bit earlier or later.

Challenges Of Learning Double Consonant Words

Learning to read and spell double consonant words can be challenging for some kids. They often can’t hear the difference between a word with a single consonant and one with a double letter.

To them, the word “stopped” likely looks like “stoped.” We know you don’t pronounce the other “p” and say, “stop-ped.” But the only way they’ll be able to tell the difference is by looking at the word and learning how double consonants function.

Additionally, you don’t double the consonant with every suffix. So trying to keep track of it all can be tricky at first.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your child overcome these challenges. Check out the tips below for some ideas.

Fun Double Consonant Activities

Kid playing with chalk

Before you can work with your child on double consonant words, you need a list of words that fit this rule.

Here are ten base words that require a second consonant when adding a suffix that starts with a vowel, such as “ed” and “ing.” You can use these words for the activities below.

  1. Chop
  2. Skid
  3. Plop
  4. Beg
  5. Drum
  6. Grin
  7. Split
  8. Bid
  9. Fit
  10. Grab

Now that you have some words to work with, let’s get into the fun!

1) Does It Need To Be Doubled?

This activity helps reinforce the rules for when words need a double consonant before adding a suffix.

What You’ll Need:

  • A piece of paper
  • A ruler or other straight edge
  • A marker
  • Small stickers
  • A pencil

What To Do:

First, prepare the paper for your child. Use the ruler to divide the paper into five columns. The first four should all be the same size, and the final one should be bigger for your child to write in.

Across the top, add the following column headers:

  • Base Word
  • One-Syllable?
  • Only One Vowel?
  • Only One Ending Consonant?
  • Write The Word

In the base word column, write some words from the list above. For practice, also mix in some words that don’t require a double consonant, such as:

  • Jump
  • Nail
  • Listen
Star stickers for kids learning double consonant words

Give your child the stickers and have them read the first base word. Ask, “Is that a one-syllable word?” If it is, have them put a sticker in the corresponding column. If it’s not, ask them to leave it blank.

Continue with each of the following columns. Again, have them put a sticker in the column if the word fits the pattern. If not, they leave it blank.

Finally, ask your child to add a suffix where it’s needed. For example, if they put down three stickers in a row, they need to double the final consonant before adding the suffix, “ed.”

Repeat the process with all of the base words in your chart.

The first few times you do this together, your child will likely need help, so go slowly and stop if it gets too overwhelming.

To make this a bit more fun, make a game out of it! Write five words that double and five that don’t all on individual cards. Roll the cards up so you cannot see the words and put them in a bag.

You pull out a word and fill in the chart above. If you get a double consonant word, you get a point. The first to get five points wins!

2) Double Driving

This active learning game gets your child moving around while they learn.

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 Index cards
  • A marker
  • A toy car

What To Do:

Write a double consonant word on each index card to prepare for this game. Then, spread the cards around the room, word side up.

Hand your child a toy car. Ask them to drive around the room, picking up each word. Then, have them bring it back to you. When they hand you the card, ask them to read the word.

If they get it correct, put it in a pile. If your child misreads the word, put it back out into the room so they can try it again later in the game.

Continue sending your child out to find words until they’ve successfully read them all.

3) Shaving Cream Spelling

This spelling game is messy, but it’s sure fun!

What You’ll Need:

A can of shaving cream
A table your child can work on

What To Do:

Spray a wad of shaving cream on the table and ask your child to use their hand to spread it around. Then, give them a word that needs a double consonant and ask them to write it in the shaving cream.

If they get it correct, offer praise. If not, have your child “erase” it and try again. Continue giving them words to help reinforce the concept.

4) Find The Double Consonant Words

Kid playing hide and seek

In this game, your child goes around the room looking for hidden double consonant words.

What You’ll Need:

Index cards with double consonant words written on them (tip: write the double consonants in different colors to set them apart)

What To Do:

Hide the index cards around the room and then ask them to search for them. Each time they find a word card, have them bring it over and read it to you.
After they’ve found each one, have them read through the cards once more for practice.

5) Roll The Word

Let your child use their senses and spell double consonant words with playdough.

What You’ll Need:

  • Playdough
  • A work surface

What To Do:

Say a word that has a double consonant before a suffix. Then, ask your child to spell it by shaping individual letters out of playdough. If they forget the double letter, ask them to look at the word again and see if they forgot anything.

Once the word is correct, have your child gather the dough together. Then, give them another one to try.

Double The Letters, Double The Fun!

Mom helping daughter with double consonant words

The above activities can help your child become more confident in reading and writing double consonant words. With lots of practice, they’ll be less likely to struggle when they see these words in books or want to add them to a story they’re writing.

Don’t forget, every child learns at their own pace. So if your child isn’t ready for some activities, that’s OK. Just wait a bit and try again later. They’ll soon be a pro at double consonants!

In the meantime, help them keep their spelling skills sharp with the HOMER app. With personalized lessons, they can practice their literacy skills at the pace they need.


Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos
Jody has a Ph.D. in Developmental Science and more than a decade of experience in the children’s media and early learning space.