Sound Blending Lesson Ideas

  • When teaching blending start with:
    • onset and rime
    • words that begin with letters that can be stretched
    • words with 2 or 3 sounds
    • use one syllable words.
  • Activities for sound blending and sound segmentation go hand in hand.
  • Be careful not to add /uh/ to consonant sounds. Bee is /B/ -/ee/, not /buh/- /ee/.
  • Use words that are significant to students.
  • Gradually work up to using consonant blends.
  • Tell students that you are going to say a word that is broken into parts and they need to put it back together again.

  • Play I Spy. "I spy with my little eye something that has the sounds /h/a/t/. Can you guess what it is?"
  • Ask students to break down words into sounds.
  • Challenge students to make a new word by adding a sound or phoneme to an existing word. "Listen to the sounds in at. /a/t/. What word would you have if you adding /m/ to the beginning?"
  • Challenge students to make a new word by deleting a sound or phoneme from an existing word. "Listen to the sounds in pin. /p/i/n/. What word would you have if you took away the /p/ from the beginning?"
  • Challenge students to make a new word by changing a sound or phoneme in an existing word. "Listen to the sounds in cat. /c/a/t/. What word would you have if you changed /c/ to /m/?"
Here's a few suggestions from
  • Use pictures to develop students’ blending and segmenting skills. Provide students with a picture (e.g. a cat) and have them sound out the name while placing marbles, drawing marks, or tapping their fingers for each of the individual sounds in the word (e.g., /c/.../a/.../t/ is composed of 3 sounds, thus the child would use 3 marbles, marks, or taps.) (This approach is known as the Elkonin technique.)
  • Let students practice counting syllables by clapping or using their fingers to tap out the number of different sounds, or phonemes, in a word. 
  • Follow a systematic sequence for teaching blending and segmenting activities to students. Use modelling to introduce the skills and guided practice as students develop mastery.
  • Begin with compound words (e.g., /snow/ -- /ball/). First have students repeat the components of a compound word slowly, and then put them together to form one word; As a next step, ask students to quickly repeat a compound word, and then to break the word into its component parts by repeating it slowly. 
  • Next, move to syllables (e.g., /ev/ -- /er/ -- /green/). Following the above model, have students first put together syllables to create words, and then break words into syllables. Move from two syllable words to three, four, etc.
  • Finally, move to phonemes (e.g., /s/ -- /a/ -- /t/). Have students put together phonemes to create words and break down words into phonemes. Move from consonant-vowel-consonant words (e.g., fat), to consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant words (e.g., flat).
  • Give students various opportunities throughout the day to practice blending sounds to create words, and segmenting words into sounds or syllables. For example, sound games can be played while driving in the car, shopping in the grocery store, etc.
  • Provide reinforcement for learning consonant blends that are particularly challenging to students. For example,  Students can play blend bingo where students match words chosen from a deck of picture cards or called out to them with the blends written on their bingo cards, e.g. sl, sm, sn, sp, etc.
  •  Play a How Many Words Can You Make? game: Students make words by combining consonant blends and digraphs (consonant combinations that make a single sound, such as /sh/ and /th/) with a variety of word endings.
  • Students who are skilled at blending and segmenting words can benefit from additional practice manipulating sounds and syllables within words. For example, students may enjoy sound omission games where they remove sounds from words in order to create new words. For example, removing /sun/ from suntan leaves /tan/, while subtracting the /t/ from tray leaves ray. Begin by asking students to take out initial sounds or syllables, then have them remove ending sounds/syllables, and finally, ask students to pull out middle sounds/syllables.
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