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Chapter One

Consonant Cluster

A consonant cluster is a group of two, three or even four consonants pronounced together. Consonant cluster can be very difficult for many speakers. There are no vowel sounds to separate the consonants in the cluster. When pronouncing cluster sounds, be careful not to insert a vowel between cluster sounds. Otherwise, you would create a completely different word than intended. Now, let's look at a few of the most difficult consonant clusters.


The k-w sound is usually spelled q-u. Review the consonant sound w to help you with this cluster. Begin by rounding your mouth and curling your lips out. Your mouth should look a little like the opening of a trumpet. Now arch the back of your tongue up to the roof of your mouth. Close off the air. Then push your tongue off and down by forcing air over it.

qualms, quiet, quit, quest, quilt, quiz, quail, queen, quirk, quad, quick, quite, quake, quality, quarrel, quarry, quart

Alice was queen for a day.
It's not quite quiet enough yet.
Don't quake in your boots.
Go in there and quit!
Let's have a quick lunch on the quad.


For s-p-l, begin with the l: [lit]. Now build backwards and add p: [plit]. Then hold the s: [split]. Be sure to place the vowel sound after the cluster: [], not [], or []. []. Now try these words.

先从字母l开始:[lit]。然后,我们倒着来,加字母p:[plit]。再作好发字母s的口形准备:[split]。注意要把元音置于辅音群后面,应该是[], 不是[], 也不是 [],而是[].

[] [] [] split
[] [] [] splash
[] [] [] splay
[] [] [] splinter

splendid, splint, spleen, splice, splurge, splat, splotch

It was a splendid day to splash in the pool.
Let's splurge on a good movie.
My son wore a splint to school.
There's a splotch of ink on your dress.
Splat went the boy with his feet all splayed out.
I'll split the bill with you.
Let's splurge on a double ice cream cone.
Can you help me take out this splinter?


For s-p-r, begin with the r: [red]. Now add p: []. Then hold the s: [].
[] [] [] spread
[] [] [] spree
[] [] [] spring

spray, sprint, sprocket, spruce, sprite, sprig, spry, sprain, sprinkle

Spring has sprung today.
Spread the toast with fresh butter.
Don't sprint across my yard.
What a spry old man!
Spray off after your sprint.
Spruce up for a night on the town.
How did you sprain your ankle?
The bike chain needs some new sprockets.
We're ready for that shopping spree.
Try putting a few sprigs of fern in the bouquet.


For s-l, begin with the slow [s] sound, then bring your tongue up to the bump behind your upper teeth. This sounds like []. Remember, say [] not [].

slid, sling, slip, slum, slime, slew, sleeve, slot, slow, slick, slack, sleep, slade, slide, slate

How can you sleep in such a sloppy room?
Be careful not to slip and slide.
I like the one with the slits in the sleeves.
Slow down for the oil slick.
It's fun to play slip and slide.
Jack slew the giant.
Don't slack off now.
Put the money in the slot.
This slum is really slimy.
Try for a clean slate.


Start with the w: []. Now build backwards and add the k sound: []. And finally hold the s: []. Repeat these words.
[] [] [] squish
[] [] [] squash
[] [] [] squirt

squirm, squirrel, squander, squalor

How can you live in such squalor?
Billy squirted Bob with a squirt gun.
Squirrels never squander acorns.
Stop your squirming!
When Sam squashed the bug it squished beneath his shoe.


T-h-r is the most difficult beginning consonant cluster for almost everyone. For t-h, rest the tip of your tongue between your teeth and push the air over your tongue and between your teeth: []. For r, pull your tongue back and keep it flat between your teeth: [r]. The t-h in this cluster never has sound, only air, so don't press your upper teeth onto your tongue. They should rest on top, very gently, barely touching the tongue. There should be a narrow passage between your tongue and teeth. Now, slowly pull your tongue back into a gentle r position.

Let's try this sound by beginning with r: []. Then add t-h: [].
让我们来试试,从r 开始:[],然后加t-h音:[]。

[] [] thrust
[] [] thrall
[] [] three

thrill, throat, throw, threat, thrifty, thrash, through, throb, thrive, throttle, thread, thrice

He threw three strikeouts in the game.
My heart was throbbing after that thrilling ride at the fair.
This throttle seems to be stuck.
The sword thrust clean through.
What permits bacteria to thrive in the throat?
The people are enthralled with the throne.


For f-l gently rest your teeth on the inside of your lower lip. Don't put too much pressure on the f sound. As you blow, permit a pillow of air to gently flow between your teeth and lower lip. Now bring your tongue tip up to rest behind your teeth to form the l.
发f-l音时,把上齿轻轻地放在下唇内侧,在发f音时,不要太用力。在发音时,让气流从上齿和下唇之间通过,然后,把舌尖提起,放在上齿后面,发l 音。

Let's start with the l first: []. Now add f: []. Now try it.

[] [] flew
[] [] fling
[] [] flog

flask, floor, flat, flag, flock, fling, flack, flan, flair, flash, flap, flinch, flub, flail

The flag flew proudly on the Fourth.
Fling away your fears and go.
Flapping and flailing around won't get you anywhere.
The prisoner didn't flinch at this flogging.
Fred found a flask on the floor.


birch arch march perch parch church search lurch

The marchers were parched.
What kind of bird is perched on that birch tree?
So many churches have beautiful arches.


harp, sharp, carp, Earp, burp, AARP, warp

Can you play the harp?
Make a sharp left over there.
Please excuse yourself when you burp.
How old must you be to joint AARP?

-NTH and -LFTH

month, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth

My daughter's in the twelfth grade.
We live on the fourteenth floor.
This is my ninth cookie.
I have lived here for nine months.
The sixteenth birthday is one of the best.
You are the tenth person to call.

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