We’ve spoken a lot about teaching the alphabet – both the letter names and the letter sounds. Click here to find out more.
In order to read (from a phonics/decoding point of view) kids need to:
Know the letter sounds
Be able to join (or synthesise/blend) those sounds.
You can get to our post that explains how phonics and blending work together by clicking here.
This post right here though, will give you the actual tools to start teaching kids how to blend the letters in words.
Step 1 – Join the sounds in simple SPOKEN words
To start with, have a list of short vowel words. I don’t know about you, but I have lots of trouble trying to think of lots of examples in the ‘heat of the moment’. We need to think quick or we will lose kids’ interest…..so I’d suggest finding lists of words and having them handy.
There is a handy website that I often suggest to people who come into our shop called worksheet genius – and its FREE. Google CVC word lists and it’s sure to come up, then scoot to the CVC word and choose which medial vowel you want (the middle vowel in the word eg CVC medial vowel ‘a’ might be nap) and away you go.
You can download my short vowel word lists for FREE here. Print them off, and you’re good to go.
But, at the speech level (not print level) of words, I (and the kids) find it more fun to use flash cards/pictures as prompts.
My favourite go-to resource is the Easy Words to Sound BINGO. I just choose the picture cards that only have 3 sounds (there are a few, not many, that have 4 sounds and you can take them out for starters and add them in later).
Ask your child to choose ten cards from the pack, and use these as the picture prompt.
Stretch out the sounds with onset and rime eg t ……. + op……… and the child joins the two sound chunks to make the word (top)
Show the picture to the child to confirm they were correct
Once your child can do this easily…..
Stretch out all 3 sounds eg t…. + o….. + p……..
TIP – its quite ok to include words that use digraphs (two letters that make one sound such as shop as the sh still counts as one of the 3 sounds).
Once your child has mastered this, then….
Stretch out words that have a double consonant (blend)
c + l + a + p = clap or b + r + u + sh = brush or m + i + l + k = milk
Follow this order of increasing difficulty:
n.b. c = consonant v = vowel
stretch out all 4 sounds cvcc
r + u + s + t = rust
stretch out all 4 sounds in ccvc