There are twenty-six letters of the English alphabet. When five of those letters (a, e, I, o, and u) are said breath flows freely through the speaker's mouth. These letters are referred to as vowels. The remaining twenty-one letters are referred to as consonants. When saying consonants, we must obstruct our breathing pattern through our vocal tracts. When consonants and vowels are combined, they form units of sound called syllables. Vowels do not always need to be present to form words, but they surely are helpful. The longest word that is composed of only consonants is rhythms. The mechanics of say a consonant and vowel are completely different. When saying consonants you must completely close your vocal tract. The opposite is true when you are saying a vowel aloud. In the English alphabet there are 21 letters that represent consonants that produce 24 different consonant sounds. Consonants produce a great deal of friction to be said aloud. We are taught early on that y can act as a vowel under certain conditions. What is meant by that is that in the right light y can give off a speech sound just like a vowel and as result act just like a vowel. The letter "Y" is often a big old question mark when classifying it as a consonant or vowel. In the word "happy", the letter "y" acts as a vowel.
In the series of worksheets below we will explore the sounds, sound chunks, and words created by the various different consonants. To go along with this, you also want to explore our consonant blending section as they can help you start to see the connection between the letters and the words that become responsible for.