Building Words Backwards

hands in work gloves holding a trowel and building a brick wall

Purpose:  Saying final consonants and particularly final consonant clusters can be very difficult for learners who are not used to words ending in consonants. Oftentimes those learners struggle to hear the consonants because they are not familiar with those sound patterns. Starting with the sounds at the end of the word can make it much easier for learners to produce final consonants as they build onto them.

Preparation Time:  none

Materials Needed:  Vocabulary words from weekly unit


  1. Write a word from the weekly unit on a mini-whiteboard. The word should end in a consonant.
  2. Underline the final letter (or combination if it is a silent e or a consonant blend such as –ch or –sh) of the word and say the sound out loud. Have the learners repeat the sound back. For example, if the word is helps, you would underline the s and say /s/.
  3. Underline the second to last letter of the word and say the sound and the last sound out loud. For example, now you would underline the p and say /ps/.
  4. Repeat this pattern with each letter until you have underlined the entire word and are saying all of the word.
  5. Select a new word, and complete steps 2-4.
  6. Go through the list of words as a group and say each of them. Give the learners feedback on their pronunciation of the final consonants. Go over words again from back to front if needed.

Example:  folds  /s/    folds  /ds/    folds  /lds/    folds  /olds/    folds  /folds/

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