What Word Does this Say: Bl - e - n- d?

I’m on week 4 of talking about Phonological Awareness skills; those skills that demonstrate understanding of the sound structure of words, necessary for developing literacy skills.

This week, I’m talking about blending sounds into words.  This includes segmenting, blending, and deleting - in that order of difficulty - of the sounds in words.

(If you’ve missed any of the previous posts about Phonological Awareness in general and the specific skills in particular, you might want to go back and read all the posts from this month.)

To go back to our attendance or circle time activity, try breaking a student’s name into individual sounds when you call their name, and see if students can blend them together to respond or find their classmates.

Use words from any classroom activity, and segment them into individual sounds, and see if students can identify the word.  To go back to circle time songs, let’s use Old MacDonald again.

       Old MacDonald had a farm. e - i - e - i - o
And on that farm he had a p - i - g. e - i - e - i - o
       “What animal did he have?

 Simon says, “Touch your h - ea - d.”  Do your students follow the direction?  You might need to ask, “What should you touch?”  Watch to see who responds first, and who waits to follow what everyone else is doing.  Those last students may not get it, and may just be following the environmental cues.

There are lots of ways to build sound blending into your daily activities.  You can work on sound segmenting by printing out words and having students cut them apart into their component sounds.  Begin with simple C-V-C words, to avoid confusion with blends and digraphs.

As always, the task is both more fun and more effective with a manipulative component, so have students use paper clips, crackers, gummy bears - anything - to count out and place in a  row the sounds in words as you say them.  Or have them stack blocks or legos in little towers.

The most difficult task is, as usual, deletion.  Say “ball.”  Say it without the /b/.  “All.”
This task is easier when the deletion of the sound leaves a real, familiar word.  It becomes more difficult when the remainder is a nonsense word. 

Share with us your favorite blending activities.

Next week we manipulate sounds in words to make new words.  

If you're looking for some resources for the tasks we've discussed, try these: Phonological Awareness Games and Phonological Awareness File Folders.

Until then keep on talking.