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Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of October 16th

posted Oct 16, 2016, 5:48 PM by Courtney Richardson

Teaching Blends

I've had great success teaching students to hear and apply blends using the Picture Sorting, Making Words, and Sound Boxes procedures found in my book. The first step is to have them sort pictures with initial blends. Always choose two blends that begin with the same letter so the children will focus on the second letter of the blend. For example, they might sort /cl/ and /cr/ or /sl/ and /sp/. Demonstrate how to orally break a word at the onset and rime (/cl/-/ip/) before students identify which blend they hear. You won’t have to teach every blend. Once children sort a few blends in this way, they will understand the process and apply it to learning all blends. The next step in word study is to do Making Words. Plan a series of words for students to make that differ by one or two letters (e.g. trim, trip, trap, strap, strip). Give students the letters they will need. Dictate the first word for them to make, and have them break the letters apart at the onset and rime.  For example, say, “Make the word trim. Now break it (tr-im). Say it (/tr/- /im/). Make it (trim).” Then dictate a new word that differs by the blend, the medial vowel or the final syllable (trip). After students make the new word, have them break it, say it and make it. The final step in teaching blends is to have them use sound boxes to make one-syllable words that have an initial or final blend (e.g. slip, grab, stun). Children should say the word slowly as they write each sound in a box. You can download a sound box template from this website. By following these procedures, children will learn blends and apply them in reading and writing.