1-1-1 Spelling Rules: -ck

Estimated reading: 2 minutes

Another 1-1-1 spelling rule is the -ck spelling rule. When should a student use -ck at the end of a word versus c or k when spelling the /k/ sound? If a word is one syllable, one short vowel, with one /k/ sound at the end of the word, it’s spelled with -ck (snack, thick). If a multisyllabic word ends with the /ik/ sound, it will most likely be spelled with -ic (music, fantastic). Otherwise, use k or ke at the end of words (sneak, bake). 

Students should use the below criteria when deciding which letter to use when spelling the /k/ sound at the end of a word:

  1. Is it a one-syllable word?
  2. Does it have a single short vowel?
  3. Does it end in a /k/ sound? 

If a student answers ‘yes’ to all 3 questions, then the /k/ sound should be spelled -ck. If they answer ‘no’ to one or more of the questions, then it will be spelled with -ic, k, or ke. 

A great way to practice is to ask students about various words and decide if it meets the criteria for using -ck. For example: 

  • “Sneak? Why or why not?” Answer: No, does not have a short vowel sound. 
  • “Music?  Why or why not?”  Answer: No, two-syllable word and ends with /ik/. 
  • “Pick? Why or why not?” Answer: Yes. It has one syllable, one short vowel, and /k/ at the end.