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Teaching Spelling Rules of j,k,s (Lesson Powerpoint Slides with Classroom Activities)

By Becky F

Each letter in the alphabet can make one or more sounds, depending on the letter combinations around it. The letters "j," "k," and "s" are no different and can be pronounced in many ways. But what are the spelling rules surrounding these letters so that they make the sounds /j/, /k/, and /s/, respectively?

The letters "j" and "k" each have five spelling rules that allow them to make their respective sounds, /j/ and /k/. While there are only three ways of making the /s/ sound, the letter "s" has many spelling rules. For example, the letter "s" can make the /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, and /ʒ/ sounds.

Teaching these spelling rules may seem unnecessarily detailed, but it is undoubtedly helpful for students with reading and writing difficulties. Having a knowledge of these rules will help students with decoding and encoding words with "j," "k," and "s."

The Spelling Rules Of J

There are five rules to spell the /j/ sound in English. In elementary school, students will be familiar with simple high-frequency words like "jump" and "job." By the third year of school, they will learn that the /j/ sound can be made by combining "-dge" or "-ge" at the end of a word.

/j/ Rule 1: "j"

If you hear a /j/ sound at the start of a word, it could be written with a "g" or a "j." In most words beginning with a "j," the "j" will make a /j/ sound when followed by "a," "o," or "u."


  • jangle, jacket
  • job, jostle
  • jug, jungle

/j/ Rule 2: "g"

The letter "g" will make a /j/ sound when followed by "e," "i," and "y." Words with this /j/ spelling rule often have Latin or Greek origins.

Examples g + e:

  • gentle, germ
  • ginger, giant
  • gymnasium, gypsy

/j/ Rule 3: "-dge"

The letter combination "-dge" makes a /j/ sound. The "d" in this combination is silent. It is important to note that no English word finishes with a "j."


  • fudge
  • ledger
  • bridge

/j/ Rule 4: "-ge"

A "-ge" combination in a monosyllabic word will make a /j/ sound. It is usually preceded by a diphthong, a long vowel sound, or a consonant.


  • stooge
  • cringe
  • stage

This video summarizes the rules "-dge" and "-ge" in a rap.

/j/ Rule 5: "d"

When used with a connective "u," a "d" will make a /j/ sound.


  • graduate
  • residual
  • individual
  • schedule

The Spelling Rules Of K

The sound /k/ can be made in five different ways. However, it is essential to teach students that the letter "k" can also be silent when followed by an "n." E.g., knight and knot.

/k/ Rule 1: "c"

The letter "c" makes a /k/ sound in three different ways.

For "c" to make a /k/ sound at the start of a word, it must be followed by "a," "o," "u," or a consonant.


  • camp, cat
  • computer, cot
  • cucumber, cushion
  • cry, clean

If a "c" makes a /k/ sound in the middle of a word, it should be followed by an "a," "o," "u," or a consonant (most often a "t").


  • scamp
  • scone
  • scum
  • act

A "c" at the end of a word makes the /k/ sound when preceded by "i" or "a."


  • mimic
  • tic
  • almanac

/k/ Rule 2: "k"

The letter "k" can make a /k/ sound anywhere in a word. In most instances, it is followed by "e," "i," or "y." If the /k/ sound is at the end of the word, it is usually preceded by a long vowel sound.

Examples of "k" making a /k/ sound

Beginning /k/

Middle /k/

End /k/










k/ Rule 3: "-ck"

"-ck" can make a /k/ sound at the middle or end of a word. The "-ck" is usually preceded by a short vowel sound.


  • bucket
  • racket
  • speck
  • duck

/k/ Rule 4: "ch"

"ch" can make the /k/ sound. It is often found in words derived from Greek.


  • mechanic
  • character
  • chronic

/k/ Rule 5: "qu"

Finally, "qu" can also make the /k/ sound. This letter combination derives from French and isn't commonly found in English vocabulary.


  • pique
  • mosquito
  • turquoise

The Spelling Rules of S

There are many spelling rules for the letter "s" as it is used to pluralize many words. However, the letter "s" can make a variety of sounds, including /s/ (as in cats), /z/ (as in dogs), /ʃ/ (as in sugar), and /ʒ/ (as in usual). You can make the /s/ sound in three ways. The letters and combinations that can make an /s/ sound are "s," "c," and "ss."

/s/ Rule 1: "s"

The letter "s" makes the /s/ sound when followed by most vowels and consonants. E.g., skin, sap, smile, and stop. The exceptions are "s + h" and "s + u."

/s/ Rule 2: "c"

The letter "c" can make the /s/ sound in the following instances: when it is followed by an "e," "i," or "y." E.g., cell, excite, cytotoxin.

/s/ Rule 3: "ss"

"ss" is usually found at the middle or end of a word, e.g., bass, lasso, and brass.

What's Included in Our Bonus Lesson?

When teaching spellings of j,k,s, it is vital to understand the basic spelling rules for j, k, and s. Therefore, we have developed this lesson to assist teachers of elementary grades primarily.

We have also included some activities at the end of PowerPoint slides of this lesson that can help students understand this lesson in a better way.

Let's look at the learning objectives and outcomes of the Spelling rules of j, k, s lesson:

Learning Objectives

Students should be able to;

  • Understand the basic spelling rules for j, k, s
  • Explore examples of spelling rules in text

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to;

  • Demonstrate the understanding of rules by spelling the words correctly

You can watch the lesson video here before downloading the Powerpoint slides.

Download ppt Slides For This Lesson

Editable Lesson Slides included

We hope that this teaching resource is helpful for you. You can check our complete range of English lessons here

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