Teaching sound blending is of the utmost importance for developing phonemic awareness in children. In the phonics approach to reading, a child says each sound of a word (e. g. /m/-/a/-/t/) and then and says all the sounds together the fast way and ‘read’ the word (e. g. mat). This practice is called blending or learning to decode or sounding out a word. Thus, sound blending is the skill of building words from individual sounds by blending (combining) the sounds together in sequence.
Why is teaching sound blending important?
- It helps children know the letter-sound correspondence and say the sound of each letter.
- It teaches children the skills of building words from individual sounds.
- It helps them understand that words are made up of sequences of individual sounds or phonemes.
- It develops their phonological skills and fluency in reading.
When should we start teaching sound blending?
- Once children are able to say the sounds of a few consonant and vowel letters, we should begin to teach them how to blend those sounds into meaningful words.
- Young children usually get their first taste of blending through rhyming and alliteration. The blending practice should progress from the sentence level to individual phonemes. It should follow the following activities in order.
1. Let them listen to rhymes and songs.
2. Let them listen to simple sentences.
3. Let them listen to rhyming words.
4. Let them listen to individual phonemes in words.
How to practise sound blending?
- Have the children say the sound of each letter in a word (m-a-t) or let them listen to the sounds of a word slowly.
- Ask them to blend the sounds together in sequence – with or without sounding out. In the beginning, let the children sound it out. Later, do not let them to sound it out loud – just ask them to figure it out to themselves (in their head) and say the word.
Saying the words fast way works like magic in sound blending.
Speed is much more important for sound blending. As fast the children can say the sounds without stopping, as clearly they can decode sounds or determine the word. Often the children have difficulty in blending when they say the sounds of a word slowly or in a segmented way. Two important things can be done to maintain good speed for sound blending:
- Do not let the children stop while saying the stretchable sounds. Letter sounds like a, e, i, o, u, f, l, m, n, r, s, sh, v, w, y, z can be stretched out longer. Teach the children not to stop while saying these sounds.
Wrong way: (/m/ – /a/ – /n/) Right way: (mmmaaaannn)
- If the sounds are not stretchable, teach the children to pause just one to two seconds between the sounds in a word. Sounds like b, c, d, g, h, j, k, p, q, t, x are non-stretchable sounds. Do not let them take longer pauses while saying these sounds.
Many research studies indicate that blending activities are bases for developing phonological awareness in children; and the children who have strong phonological awareness also have good reading skills and eventual fluency.
Visit this page to get CVC word for blending: https://www.jhoona.com/cvc-word-lists/
Here is a chart for teaching sound blending:
How to teach phonics?
Study the following information on teaching phonics in a chart form:
- Phonemic awareness is the understating that words are made up of individual phonemes or sounds.
- A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound.
- A grapheme is the written representation of a sound.
- Two important aspects of phonemic awareness are blending and segmenting.