In a nutshell
K is a pleasingly consistent letter. Other than its occasional appearance as a silent letter it can mostly be relied upon to have its usual, ‘k is for king’, sound. It does present some problems for young children learning to write though – they sometimes are unsure whether a word is spelled with a ‘k’ or a ‘c’.
Simple ‘k’ video
This is pleasant little song is a good introduction to the sound and shape of the letter k:
Why do some words have a silent ‘k’?
To new readers of English, the presence of ‘k’ at the start of ‘know’ and ‘knock’ must seem very strange. The reason that the words are spelled this way is that they are believed to have once been pronounced with a ‘k’ sound at the beginning. For example, it is thought that in Old English ‘knife’ was pronounced as ‘kuh-nife’. Over time, the pronunciation changed to the current one, but as is often the case in English the spelling did not change – hence the silent k!
Although short, this tongue twister is quite difficult to say quickly and correctly – especially if you try to do it five times in a row:
Keenly cleaning copper kettles.
If you and your child try to see who can say it best, you might like to also take the opportunity to point out how in this sentence the letters ‘k’ and ‘c’ are each used to convey the same sound.
Other uses for ‘k’
The letter k crops up quite often as a symbol. Here are some of the more common usages:
‘I Spy’ words
‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…’ is a great game to play to reinforce the sound that a letter makes and it can be a fun game to kill some time – for example on a long car trip.
Here is a selection of short words starting with ‘k’ for you to use:
king, koala, kangaroo, key, kid, kiwi, knee, knife, kite, kettle
The Letter K Worksheets
This letter k worksheet gives your child lots of opportunities to practice writing capital K.
This letter k worksheet focuses on the lower case letter k.
This worksheet gives your child an introduction to the sound that ‘k’ makes, and also allows them to practice writing the capital and lower case letter k.
Give your child an introduction to the silent k concept in this worksheet, where they will learn words such as ‘knife’ and ‘knee’.